Tetra Pak says the Tetra Tebel OST 6 uses a number of innovative features to ensure that cheese varieties can be manufactured under controlled and predictable processing conditions. The development could offer processors the opportunity to improve cost efficiency in their production cycle, according to Tetra Pak. The vat itself is a horizontal tank that allows processors to set their own requirements for a number of factors during curd processing, including cutting, blending, whey discharge, water addition and indirect heating and cooling, the company said. The vat also makes use of a new "dimpled" heating jacket, which the group claims provides improved heat transfer for more effective temperature control during processing. As part of the design, Tetra Pak has also included new software functions that can control curd size distribution and cheese quality, along with patented cutting and stirring tools. These devices can reduce fat loss in whey by about twenty per cent, according to the group's tests. Besides improvements in cheese processing, the Tetra Tebel OST 6 can also cut down on the time needed for the integrated Cleaning in Place (CIP) to ensure improved hygiene, the company claimed. All rubbers and plastics therefore used in the vat carry the necessary food grade certificates, while the inclusion of patented Q-seal design and external bearing ensure there are fewer places for residue to adhere to, according to Tetra Pak. Through the unique design of the vat's whey sieve and the high levels of automation available to the user, the company claims that environmental impact of processing is also lessened by minimizing detergent and water use. A number of cheese manufacturers are currently having to make cuts to their operations, including dropping some varieties of the product amidst increasing cost pressures resulting from high milk prices.