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How Automated Centrifuge Controls are Changing Dairy Production

Automated equipment for dairy production

Posted by: Jordan Vande Brake on June 30, 2021 at 8:30 AM

About 150 years ago, mechanized centrifugal cream separators hit the milk processing industry. People’s minds were blown. The technology flew off the shelves, and the dairy world exploded. 

Since then, the dairy industry has been able to grow at an unprecedented rate, and people have been wondering: what’s the next big innovation? What’s the next truly game-changing technology that will streamline industrial dairy processing?

Enter automation.

What are industrial automation controls?

Automation control systems put sensors within your equipment in communication with the computers and people running your equipment. Real-time equipment data enables you to maintain extremely high product consistency, quality, and safety. 

Automation controls have been developing over the past thirty years, and have significantly contributed to increased profitability and process repeatability within the dairy industry. People make mistakes, and by reducing human error, the dairy industry has been able to increase product quality and consistency.

Automation also saves dairy plants time and money. Because whether a piece of industrial centrifuge equipment is separating milk from cream, clarifying milk or whey, or removing pathogenic organisms and foreign objects, there will always be common hurdles when attempting to run at maximum operational efficiency. Building cutting-edge automation systems helps address these hurdles and streamline dairy processing. 

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How are automated centrifuge controls useful in dairy processing?

Nowadays, dairy plants often run multiple sophisticated processes on the same industrial centrifuge equipment. It just doesn’t make sense for most plants to own a separate piece of equipment for each step of their dairy production. But this can become a major time sink when process requirements and products change frequently.

Or consider an industrial centrifuge that needs to be stopped multiple times a day in order to manually clean parts and remove solids. Not only is that wasting time, but utilities spending from water and electricity usage are directly reducing profitability.

The most advanced dairy systems incorporate automation controls in order to optimize product quality, equipment efficiency, and utility usage.

For example, when considering product safety and quality:

  • Automation technology can test for product abnormalities or contamination. This means you’ll catch unusable product at the earliest stages of processing, saving you time and money.
  • Other automated sensors can track dairy temperatures during pasteurization and separation, helping ensure product quality and consistency.

And when considering equipment efficiency:

  • Fluctuating flow rates and solids loads can make pre-programmed ejections inefficient, wasting the plant time, product, and utility costs. 
  • With the newest automated centrifuge systems, CIP and solids ejection is automated and based on data collected from in-line sensors.
  • Automation can also help you determine your optimal flow rate, and ensure you’re not over-or under-feeding the equipment.

If you’re concerned about utility costs:

  • Automated dairy farms and plants can now utilize advanced mechanical clutch technology in tandem with variable frequency drives within the motors of their centrifugal separators. 
  • These types of updated motors allow for greater control over processing speeds within your equipment and help conserve energy upon start-up and shut-down.
  • In-line optical turbidity instruments placed in process lines, divert lines, or discharge lines can save you money on sewage costs.

Why do you need an automated dairy system in place?

By incorporating automation into your dairy plant, you’re not only keeping up with the competition by getting the latest shiny technology. Automation is so much more than that. It’s not a trend. It’s not a fad.

In the highly competitive dairy industry? It’s a necessity.

Automation allows for a shift from dangerous manual adjustments to streamlined automatic processes. This minimizes human error, guarantees product quality, and increases operational efficiency.

There’s a reason we don’t shuffle around in open-bottomed cars like on The Flintstones. And there’s a reason you don’t send snail-mail messages to your boss. Current-day technology has eclipsed what we had in the past, and it would be inefficient (and a little bit silly) not to incorporate it into our lives. 

How can Separators make automating your centrifuge controls easy?

In all industrial food processing, producing high-quality, consistent, and sanitary products while ensuring the largest possible output is the name of the game. And we’re here to help you do that.

The automation engineers at Separators have unrivaled expertise in updating and building centrifuge automation technology. No matter what brand of equipment you’re using, our experts are here to optimize your operation.

Every dairy plant is different, so we understand when building automation for our customers, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Separators’ engineers will work alongside you, listening and responding to your priorities in building a custom automation and controls system. 

If your entire dairy operation needs an upgrade, we also provide convenient package deals. We’re happy to throw in automation engineering help when you purchase remanufactured industrial centrifuge equipment from our company.

Dairy production is evolving.

As automation technology develops and grows to become even more sophisticated, dairy production will accelerate. And the longer you put off updating your automation programming, the more time and money you’re flushing down the drain.

Contact Separators today, and we’ll help your plant incorporate this game-changing technology. Safety, consistency, and profitability are just one click away.

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