Analyser aims for automation ease in dairy development

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Milk

Ensuring cost effective processing of dairy ingredients is the aim of new developments in automating and analysing production line control, says the equipment’s manufacturer.

After years of developments in the dairy industry, Foss claims that its compact XDS Process Analytics device makes use of a cabinet-stored near infrared (NIR) analysis unit to effectively monitor and even control certain specific processes.

The group claims to have made particular effort to ensure easier calibration of the device with existing processing systems, a hurdle it claims has been overcome with technical support and new hardware design.

Ingredient optimising

A spokesperson for the manufacturer said that while optimising raw ingredient supply has always been vital to the industry, there was particular pressure in the current climate for cost efficiency.

He added that the latest XDS Process Analytics has therefore been designed to oversee a number of operations such as maintaining balanced moisture content in butter or milk powder production.

Taking the monitoring of milk powder as an example, Foss says that testing has shown the system capable of recording moisture concentration variance of as little as 0.1 to 0.2 per cent. The group claims this sensitivity can ensure that production lines are more effective in monitoring the production process to reduce goods that fail to meet specifications.

Testing method

Information is collected during processing by a probe that collects a sample of powder as it falls through a process pipe. The sample is then measured with the data being sent back in signal form to the NIR analysis device.

“A compressed air supply connected to the probe is used to blow the sample away allowing a new one to collect on the probe,” stated the spokesperson. “The unit interprets the signals from the probe and produces a continuous flow of measurement results for moisture content which can be viewed on screen in the control room.”

Flexibility

Foss claims the system has been designed to be as flexible as possible to meet demand of modern dairy plants, allowing for up to nine different sensors to be fed into the NIR device.

Ib Haunstrup, product manager for XDS Process Analytics, said that the built-in software for the product can allow manufacturers to receive a continuous flow of production information for either automatic processing or manual adjustments.

“Automatic control is the future of dairy production and many producers are already benefiting through savings in raw materials,” ​stated Haunstrup. “Producers can also follow what they have in the process line at any time, such as product type, mix of products, CIP reagents, air and so on, so they always know exactly how the process is performing.”

A further development by the manufacturer has been to provide smaller hardware that it says is around the size of a small suitcase.

Foss says that it can also back up the technology, available anywhere in the world, with globally reaching technical support regarding calibrating the system to specific processes

“This makes installation simpler, especially for producers without their own in-house near infrared analysis expert,” claimed the group spokesperson. “Likewise, support in terms of instrument and calibration management can be provided remotely via the internet.”

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