Membrane Filtration for Fine Quality Milk Powders

Producing consistently high quality milk powders that retain the required product composition and powder attributes depends on top quality liquid handling and processing platforms, including membrane filtration technologies. GEA offers a configurable portfolio of state-of-the-art reverse osmosis, microfiltration, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration systems and solutions that can be tailored to meet the requirements of new and existing milk powder plants. Our customers rely on GEA’s industry, technology and engineering expertise to help optimize milk powder quality, processing and plant operation, while increasing efficiency, reducing energy and water consumption, and minimizing waste and emissions.

From removal of microorganisms to pre-concentration

GEA microfiltration technologies physically remove micro-organisms, cells, spores and impurities from milk, without requiring high temperatures that can change the chemical composition. The permeate recovered through ultrafiltration milk can also be used for milk standardization, to optimize the milk protein content and ensure producing milk powders with the exact composition requirements.

GEA filtration technologies can also help to maximize operating and processing efficiency and save costs. Installing a GEA reverse osmosis system upstream from an existing or new evaporation plant can result in huge savings for milk powder plants, by removing water from the milk or whey prior to evaporation. This approach can dramatically increase the capacity of some evaporator systems. 

Microfiltration plant
Microfiltration plant

Recovering water and detergents

Reverse osmosis and nanofiltration systems filter out liquid that is primarily water. Purifying this recovered water by passing this recovered water through another GEA reverse osmosis system allows it to be used either for plant cleaning or, if the water is also heat- or UV-treated, directly as process water. 

And to cut plant and equipment cleaning costs, nanofiltration systems for can be installed to filter the cleaning solutions used by cleaning-in-place systems. Installing nanofiltration systems for this purpose can recover significant quantities of valuable detergents and cleaning agents such as sodium hydroxide or nitric acid.