GEA Advanced Whey Processing for higher yield and more process stability

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

Amongst these processes whey clarification and whey skimming are certainly the most common duties of centrifuges and their reliable and sustainable performance is a pre-condition for any other downstream process to follow. The clarification of whey improves the skimming efficiency of the following centrifuge and reduces the likelihood of downstream equipment blockage. Thus it is an important safety feature for prolonging the life of the membrane in the filtration unit.

These centrifuges are often operated 24/7 and have been designed to meet highest expectations in terms of availability, hygiene and product safety.

In order to maximize your benefit in terms of operating costs. whey yield and smooth operation we now took another step forward by introducing Advanced Whey Processing:

The most challenging aspect of whey processing is the fluctuation of flow rates and solids loads depending on the actual cheese- and whey type and other process parameters. In order to avoid blocking the centrifuges disc stacks and to maintain a sound performance you usually keep on running the centrifuges at maximum speed while pre-setting a safe number of ejections, accepting not to make the most of your electrical energy and product. 

How does it work?

  1. Whey skimming separator
  2. Frequency of de-sludging and bowl-speed of the separator adjusted to the feed flow. 
  3. Standardizing fat content in whey cream by controlling the discharge flow of cream leaving the separator
  4. Turbidity sensor - Checks residual fat content, gives automated signal for desludging when preset values are exceeded
  5. 0.05% residual fat after clarifying and skimming raw whey

Whey benefit calculator

Determining cheese fine content 

As a rapid method to determine the cheese fine content in whey, a lab test tube centrifuge can be used. In case your lab doesn’t have one please get in contact with GEA. 

Well mixed whey that is representative for the average composition coming from the cheese making plant is poured into the test tube until completely filled. For best results four glasses are filled and placed into the centrifuge. It is then treated for 5min at 4.000min-1 in the centrifuge. The cheese fines which can be removed by centrifugation can then be read of as percentage by volume. The test tubes should have a scale that is easy to read. 

Test tubes with a gradation of 0 – 0.2 percent  or 0 -0.5 percent are used for raw whey depending on cheese fine concentration.

Actual whey powder prices:

*The calculator above calculates possible annual savings by buying GEA Advanced whey line. Results are purely indicative and non-binding.

You go for Advanced Whey Processing

Advanced whey processing

The Clarifying Separator

The amount of cheese fines fed into the centrifuge determine how often you need to discharge them out of the bowl. By means of flow rate measurement and recipe management for various cheese- and whey-types the ejection frequency is perfectly adjusted automatically.

On top of that the bowl speed is controlled depending on the actual load. Making sure that only as much energy is consumed as actually required.

The Skimming Separator

Controlling the ejection frequency depending on measuring the skim whey turbidity allows us to reduce the whey losses to a minimum. Furthermore, less ejections result in a more stable and effective skimming performance. This feature pays-off significantly as for whey processing flow rates and solids loads often fluctuate. In order to avoid blocking the whey skimmer’s disc stack you either pre-set a high number of “safety”-ejections. Or you go for Advanced Whey Processing, adjusting the de-sludge frequency automatically according to the actual load.

Recovery of lactose

Centrifuge - Decanter Centrifuge

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.

Make the most of your whey using taylor-made GEA centrifuges for special applications

Centrifuge - Clarifier CSI for Milk or Whey

Besides in whey clarification and skimming, GEA separators and decanters excel in further applications, adding value to your whey.

Bacteria Removal

Bacteria clarification is likewise recommended downstream of the cheese-making process since the whey are processed at temperatures conducive to optimal bacterial growth.

Due to the long retention times and optimum growth temperatures, excessive bacterial growth may take place in the filtration equipment for concentrating the whey. If, for example, serum proteins are to be recovered from the clarified and skimmed milk in concentrated form (WPC, whey protein concentrate) by means of ultrafiltration, many dairies meanwhile trust in GEA bacteria removal centrifuges. To meet the most stringent quality requirements, GEA bacterial clarifiers can be used effectively for whey as well as for concentrates.

To sum up, removal rates of up to 90 % and beyond can be achieved, ensuring a safe high quality whey product.

Whey de-fatting (de-phospholipidation)

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.

Recovery of calcium from whey

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.