Centrifugal Separators for Optimum Whey Processing

GEA’s range of centrifugal separators represent a versatile technology for a range of applications in whey processing, such as:
• Skimming of raw whey and whey concentrate
• Bacteria removal from whey
• Whey defatting (dephospholipidation)
• Obtaining calcium from whey (decalcium phosphatization)
• Obtaining lactose

Large dairies routinely use GEA clarifiers to separate cheese fines from whey, and then use GEA decanters to remove additional moisture from the concentrate, to generate a free-flowing cheese mass with a dry matter of around 40 percent. This mass can then be made into processed cheese.

Our centrifuges represent state-of-the-art in centrifuge construction. They can be operated continuously and offer the highest level of product safety and efficiency. Separator installations, incorporating cleaning-in-place (CIP) systems, can be operated 24 hours a day.

GEA separators can improve the processing quality of downstream equipment, by ensuring optimum fat or fines separation. This improves the whey skimming quality, and thus reduces the likelihood of equipment blockage downsteam, and prolongs the life of the membrane in the filtration unit. This efficacy can also contribute to overall profitability by recovering and conditioning valuable constituents such as cheese fines or lactalbumin, which has a high nutritional value. Lactalbumin, for example, can be centrifuged by separators and dried in a spray-drying tower to form a powder.

Specially developed processes from GEA

As well as offering highly efficient centrifuges, GEA is continually working to improve current production processes and develop innovative new solutions.

GEA developed dephospholipidation (DPL) as a whey refining process that involves the separation of phospholipids and/or lipoproteins from sweet or sour whey. The key benefit of this process is the production of perfectly degreased whey of the highest quality ultimately has a positive impact on the economics of other whey processing procedures as well as on the end-product obtained.

GEA has in addition developed decalcium phosphatization (DCP) as a procedure for obtaining calcium from whey permeate. The DCP process has become increasingly important over recent years, partly because calcium represents a valuable food supplement, for example, for dairy products, juices or cereals, but also because the removal of calcium phosphate improves the whey permeate: since less galalith is formed during the heating of the whey, there is less build-up in the evaporator, which extends run time and reduces the frequency of chemical cleaning-in-place cycles. DCP also reduces the final ash content, which is important if lactose is subsequently to be obtained.

Obtaining lactose

GEA‘s expertise in process technology facilitates the efficient recovery of lactose. A particularly high yield of up to 80 percent can be attained if GEA’s decalcium phosphatization process is combined with nanofiltration.