The dairy market is a highly competitive industry and, to protect the interests of the dairy farmers, Valio works to ensure the sustainable way of profitable production of innovative product lines that appeal to modern consumer tastes. Working in partnership with SPX FLOW and other project suppliers, its modern Riihimäki plant reduces energy consumption by some 30% compared with existing Valio production facilities while ensuring excellent hygiene and food safety standards.
The new dairy is able to produce 30 tons of yoghurt per hour and incorporates all processes from milk reception to product filling stations, matching the state of the art in fresh dairy product processing. SPX FLOW technology includes reception lines, storage process, separation process, mixer tanks, plate heat exchangers, and homogenizers. Buffer storage tanks with different ingredients add flexibility to the plant and full automation helps ensure optimized processing in terms of productivity and energy consumption.
Dry components can be added to the recipe through the use of the innovative APV Flex-Mix Instant technology. This closed system stops air from being incorporated into the solution and keeps wet and dry phases completely separate to help ensure the highest hygiene standards are maintained. The mixer uses a vacuum powder transport system to suck powder underneath the liquid surface. As well as helping with wettability and dispersability of powders, this technology stops the formation of a free vortex for highly efficient mixing even at higher flow rates. The efficiency of the mixer further enables the use of greater solids content and pre-mix concentration in recipes for increased production capacity and greater cost efficiency.
After mixing stages, pasteurization lines utilize APV®, plate heat exchange technology. This process is fully automated and designed for constant yoghurt milk flow at a rate of up to 15,000 l/h. The yoghurt milk is then routed to one of a number of fermentation tanks. The yoghurt can then pass through a homogenizer to achieve desired product characteristics prior to storage in one of the 15,000 l tanks. Final dosing of fruit or other components can be remotely added by operators in the control room into the filling lines as required.
Jukka Partti, Project Director at Valio said, “Valio and SPX FLOW have a long history of cooperation. We want to ensure our operations are sustainable and responsible. Maximizing the use of raw materials, minimizing waste and optimizing energy consumption are all critical design points for the new plant. We are very pleased with the results which will enable us to meet our social responsibility while ensuring our products are highly competitive.”
Engineering of the new Valio dairy plant at Riihimäki began two years ago with initial production beginning in September 2017. There will be a six month optimisation period where SPX FLOW will continue to work with Valio personnel to further tune the plant.
Joël Lotode, Process Category Sales Director, Fresh and Fermented Dairy Products, at SPX FLOW commented, “This has been a great collaborative project. Working with Valio and applying their expertise in yoghurt production has led to a highly innovative plant design that offers excellence in hygiene and food safety while meeting operational goals of productivity, minimized waste and efficiency. We look forward to continuing to serve Valio through our aftermarket service network and on future projects.”