Milk Powder Plants

Process technology for milk powder plants

Dairy-based milk powders offer shelf-stable, nutritious options that can be used as an alternative to fresh milk, as a healthy, instant drink, or as ingredients in a wide range of recipes. Consumers expect highly soluble, consistent products that taste great and dissolve quickly. Manufactures expect reliable, hygienic equipment and plants that process high quality milk powders with exactly the right chemical composition and physical characteristics.

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Manufacturing milk powder products involves a major investment in equipment, ingredients, and resources. GEA offers intelligent, robust components, equipment and end-to-end solutions that help to keep your processes profitable and competitive. Milk powder plants from GEA are in operation at dairy companies all over the world. We understand your need to stay flexible, meet customer demand, and innovate to deliver new, market-winning milk powders. GEA will work with you to tailor the optimum solutions for your products, capacity and throughput. 

Smart solutions for safe, hygienic processing

Microbiological safety must be ensured at every stage of the milk powder process. Our portfolio of separators and ceramic microfiltration systems physically remove heat-resistant bacteria and spores from milk and whey, with minimal impact on taste, nutritional content, or other final product properties. 

GEA technologies are designed to carry out safe, hygienic processing, every batch. All of our equipment is manufactured to meet the most stringent requirements for hygiene, and to make cleaning fast and effective. Many of our technologies can be configured with automated clean-in-place (CIP) systems that carry out thorough cleaning, with less use of water and chemicals. Less down time for cleaning means more time in production.

Smart evaporation solutions for water and heat recycling

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Evaporation is a key process in milk powder manufacture that removes the majority of excess water from the liquid mix prior to spray drying. We have developed a portfolio of efficient and versatile mechanical vapor recompression (MVR) and thermal vapor recompression (TVR) falling film evaporators for this process. Robust direct and indirect heating technologies reduce energy consumption, and are gentle on the product to avoid denaturing milk proteins and other nutritional components. 

Where possible our systems can be configured to recycle excess heat and water for reuse elsewhere in the process. Highly efficient CIP cycles reduce stoppage time to ease bottlenecks, while fast evaporator start-up and shut-down means there are fewer delays, so your key equipment isn’t kept idle.

Spray dryers for top quality milk powders

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Physical properties of the final milk powder product are defined at the spray drying stage. This critical process impacts on particle size and agglomeration, powder density, solubility and stability. We have developed spray drying systems that are designed to produce consistent, precisely defined powders, every batch. Many of our milk powder customers rely on GEA spray drying equipment, including our MSD® chamber, DDD® air disperser, and VIBRO-FLUIDIZER® external fluid bed. 

Talk to our experts about how we can configure the ideal spray drying solution for your process. We have worked with the industry to develop auxiliary systems that add even more value to your process. The optional SANICIP® bag filter technology can help to minimize product loss by recovering powder fines from the cyclones and returning them to the drying chamber. Our DRYCONTROL® technology precisely controls residual moisture in the final powder, and the ground-breaking POWDEREYE® instrument measures powder moisture, detects scorched particles, and can measure bulk density as well as tapped density. The smart POWDEREYE® technology automatically alerts the operator if process parameters are heading out of specification, so that they can be fine-tuned, and costly out-of-specification production avoided. And to minimize stoppage time between batches we can configure spray drying systems with dual feed lines, so you can continue to operate when one feed system is being cleaned.

Controlled powder handling and filling

Hygienic, safe, and precise technologies are a must for all stages of powder handling. GEA technologies minimize the risk of contamination, so your environment remains safe. Our highly configurable solutions automate the handling and conveying of powders received in the majority of packaging formats, including 25kg bags, flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC) and rigid IBCs. We offer safe, hygienic powder handling and filling systems that feature accurate weight control as standard to reduce product loss. User-friendly, easy to clean and maintain, our systems don’t affect powder structure or stability. Dense phase vacuum conveying reduces dust generation during powder transfer to storage units or to mixing and blending plants. A dust-free environment means reduced cleaning and maintenance of the plant. 

GEA solutions span the complete process, so you don’t have to deal with upstream and downstream bottlenecks. Automated pre-gassing, gas flushing and post-gassing solutions can be configured for different bag types, whatever your throughput and capacity. We also offer semi- and fully automatic powder packing systems for most bulk packaging formats. With all filling systems, we can also offer integrated solutions for modified atmosphere packing (M.A.P.).

Green refrigeration for dairy powder plants

Multiple stages in milk powder processing depend on precise temperature control of heating and refrigeration. Our refrigeration systems are used by the dairy industry worldwide to maintain milk powder ingredients and products under optimum conditions. GEA systems are designed with a focus on energy saving. Our heat pump technology upcycles waste heat and reduces water consumption, which reduces energy use and operating cost.

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Expert project management and attention to detail

GEA doesn’t just supply equipment and process solutions. Our dedicated project management teams oversee each project, from concept and planning through to final commissioning and handover of your completed plant. We understand that the smallest details can make a big difference, so we leave nothing to chance, and work to make sure that every deliverable is achieved on time and on budget. Our customers can concentrate on their commercial and business objectives without having to worry about unforeseen costs or delays.

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