The processing and packaging company described its OneStep aseptic technology “as a revolution when it comes to efficiency of processing UHT milk”. The single and high-throughput process eliminates the need for pasteurisation, pre-treatment and intermediate storage, Bengt Eliasson, Tetra Pak dairy aseptic solutions manager told FoodProductionDaily.com.
The truncated process therefore requires less equipment which means capital costs could be reduced by as much as 30 per cent compared to a conventional UHT milk processing line, with similar reductions in product losses also possible, he added.
The system has been developed for high capacity processors but would be suitable for medium-sized UHT operators “particularly when there is a new line installation”, said the firm.
Shortcut to UHT production
Raw milk is preheated, clarified, separated, standardised and homogenised in “one unbroken step”. The liquid then undergoes UHT treatment and regenerative cooling before being transferred to two aseptic buffering tanks.
The new system reduces processing times by 90 per cent from two days to just a few hours, and cuts operating costs by up to 50 per cent compared to conventional equipment, said the company.
“OneStep technology gives customers a shortcut to UHT milk production, maximising both product quality and safety with hygienic design in every detail and full traceability and control of the line," said Eliasson.
The core of the innovation – three years in development - lies in combining the heat treatment, separation and standardisation stages into a single step, thereby “significantly simplifying and accelerating” the production process, said the company. A further advance is that the equipment incorporates aseptic buffering. This ensures a UHT operation that is “completely automated and continuous ….with fewer process steps and smaller hold-up volumes in the line”.
“The whole process is far more efficient than conventional solutions, creating significant savings when it comes to operating costs and greatly reducing the environmental impact,” added Eliasson. “And because a lot less equipment and floor space are needed, capital costs are also lower. It adds up to greater efficiency at lower cost.”
Energy and water savings
The company said its OneStep system can cut energy and water consumption by up to 35 per cent. Waste and effluent load could be slashed by as much as 60 per cent thanks to the equipment’s increased accuracy of chemical use during cleaning-in-place (CIP) procedures and the fact that no CIP of the pasteuriser and intermediate storage tanks is needed.
Such economies are estimated to result in carbon footprint reduction of around 40 per cent, said Tetra Pak.
The method also streamlines product loss by up to 30 per cent compared to conventional systems, thanks to fewer process steps and smaller hold-up volumes in the line.
The company said the system is characterised by its flexibility – with the ability to change the fat content of milk products without stopping production – and to run milk with different fat contents at the same time. It promotes efficient production planning and high utilisation of filling machines - with up to 100 per cent availability.
“This means that you only need to stop the aseptic fillers for CIP of the filler. The process line is designed to supply the filling lines 24/7,” sais Eliasson.