Process control in the fast lane
A forward looking cheese production facility run by Arla in Southern Sweden is realising huge process efficiency savings through rapid and continuous adjustments to the flow of milk entering production.
Seemingly small adjustments made on a regular basis are making a big difference over time for the plant where around 17,000 tonnes of premium quality cheese are produced each year. A system called ProcesScan™ FT from FOSS automatically measures the protein, fat and lactose of all the milk entering the cheese vats and regulates the flow by referring on the one hand to the constantly changing nature of the milk and on the other, to the pre-programmed recipes. Just enough milk is used to meet the targets – no more, no less.
About 60,000 litres of milk are used for each production batch. A measurement is made about every two minutes or around 120 measurements for each batch. This wealth of information allows the system to fine tune itself to produce a perfect cheese each time.
Since the ProcesScan system was installed, raw material costs have been reduced by 30 öre per kilo, or SKK 5.1 million per year (approx €458,000.00). This saving does not come from the system alone, but the wealth of measurement data makes a huge difference in controlling the cheese production more closely. Plant manager, Göran Bengtsson, said: “If we can decrease the variations and go closer to the limits we can get more cheese from the same milk, and this is what we are doing now.”