The company claims that the installation of its Tixotherm system at the site can allow processors of baby powders, sports drinks and baked goods to perform trial samples to test product viability before investing in the equipment themselves. Whey and deproteinised whey permeate powder are increasingly being used as a natural dairy replacement, leading Niro to develop the Tixotherm for more efficient processing of the ingredients, the group said. Group area sales manager Henrik JT Jensen, said that with high input costs currently required in devising and launching a new product, efficient process development has become even more significant. "Now our customers have the opportunity to try the Tixotherm process with their own product and optimise the process before making a decision to buy," he stated. "When the process is proven for their special application they can invest confidently knowing that they can be in full production straight away." Whey challenges Niro says that whey-based products, which ideally should be free flowing and non-caking powders, can be a particularly difficult product to manufacture in this form. The products tend to prove to be highly absorbent of atmospheric water, which makes the granules stick together and form solidly together. Tixotherm system To combat the problem, the company says that the Tixotherm system has four different production stages to keep the powder free-flowing. After using an evaporator for pre-concentration of the whey, the system has an Agitated Film Concentrator, which Niro claims further reduces water content to about 15 per cent. This whey is then sent to a mixing crystalliser to increase dry mater content, while also creating rapid lactose crystallisation in the product, which forms a semi hard paste as a result that is easier to separate, according to the group. Final drying then takes place using the company's own Agitated Fluid Bed and a Vibro-Fluidizer. Niro claims that the system is more compact to other similar products, while using about 70 per cent of the energy required for the traditional 'wet process' of whey production.