Valio yogurt plant meets sustainability goals

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Valio and SPX FLOW have designed the plant so all pipework can be drained and product losses minimized between batches.
Valio and SPX FLOW have designed the plant so all pipework can be drained and product losses minimized between batches.

Related tags: Yogurt, Sustainability, Valio

Finnish dairy cooperative Valio is reducing energy consumption by 30% at its new Riihimäki plant compared with its other production facilities.

The new dairy is able to produce 30 tons of yogurt per hour and incorporates all processes from milk reception to product filling stations.

The plant uses SPX FLOW technology including reception lines, storage process, separation process, mixer tanks, plate heat exchangers, and homogenizers. Buffer storage tanks with different ingredients add flexibility to the plant and full automation helps ensure optimized processing in terms of productivity and energy consumption.

Working in partnership

The new plant is capable of producing different types of fresh fermented product from standard to high-value dairy products, using milk fractionation technologies together with permeate valorisation, with efficient batch changeover.

Working in partnership, Valio and SPX FLOW have designed the plant so all pipework can be drained and product losses minimized between batches. For optimum productivity, processing techniques enable the mixing of large scale of recipes prior to fermentation.

Dry components can be added through the use of APV Flex-Mix Instant technology. This closed system stops air from being incorporated into the solution and keeps wet and dry phases completely separate to help ensure hygiene standards are maintained.

The mixer uses a vacuum powder transport system to suck powder underneath the liquid surface. As well as helping with wettability and dispersability of powders, this technology stops the formation of a free vortex for efficient mixing even at higher flow rates. The efficiency of the mixer further enables the use of greater solids content and pre-mix concentration in recipes for increased production capacity and greater cost efficiency.

Dosing remotely

After mixing stages, pasteurization lines utilize APV plate heat exchange technology. This process is fully automated and designed for constant yogurt milk flow at a rate of up to 15,000 l/h.

The yogurt milk is then routed to one of several fermentation tanks. The yogurt can then pass through a homogenizer to achieve desired product characteristics prior to storage in one of the 15,000 l tanks. Final dosing of fruit or other components can be remotely added by operators in the control room into the filling lines as required.

Jukka Partti, project director at Valio said Valio and SPX FLOW have a long history of cooperation.

“We want to ensure our operations are sustainable and responsible,”​ Partti said.

“Maximizing the use of raw materials, minimizing waste and optimizing energy consumption are all critical design points for the new plant. We are very pleased with the results which will enable us to meet our social responsibility while ensuring our products are highly competitive.”

Engineering of the new plant began two years ago with initial production beginning in September 2017. There will be a six-month optimization period where SPX FLOW will work with Valio personnel to further tune the plant.

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