Multifunctional Membrane Filtration for Liquid Dairy
Membrane filtration technologies from GEA are widely used in the milk processing industry to concentrate drinking milk prior to transportation, to reduce the carbohydrate content of milk, and to remove bacteria in the production of extended shelf life (ESL) milk.
Reverse osmosis can be used to remove water from liquid milk, which reduces its volume and, therefore, transportation costs. Membrane filtration plants that are located close to large dairy farms can condense milk to 45% total solids. This level of concentration equals that which can be achieved by evaporation, but because reverse osmosis does not require the application of heat, taste remains unaffected.
Ultrafiltration is used to reduce carbohydrate levels in drinking milk, for people who are lactose intolerant and for the production of calcium and protein-fortified drinks with reduced carbohydrates. The same process can be used to reduce the lactose content of ice creams. This gives the products a smoother mouth feel and reduces the risk of crystallization during long-term storage.
If milk is ultimately intended for cheese making, farmers can use ultrafiltration to reduce the volume of drinking milk, for easier transport, and to extract carbohydrates, which are not required for making cheese, and which can be used as a valuable food for calves.
Microfiltration is widely used for the removal of bacteria in the production of ESL milk.