Ten millennia ago, humans domesticated a small herd of wild ox in the Near East. And nearly 4,500 years later, they started milking them. Since then, humanity’s obsession with cow milk has spread into a multi-billion dollar industry and is still growing.
Ever since us clever homo sapiens figured out we could drink cow milk, the biological fact that milk separates naturally from cream has been part of that calculation. We’ve figured out how to make butter, ice cream (yum), cheese, kefir, and more recently, whey protein powders and probiotic yogurts.
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely part of that industry. Dairy processing plants are an indispensable link between farmers and consumers. And part of that process is the separation of millions of gallons of skimmed milk from cream.
Cream separators are hard-working, vital pieces of equipment in your plant. But they’re not cheap. In this blog, we’ll review what exactly a cream separator is, how it works, and how to procure a high-quality cream separator while staying within your budget.
What is a dairy cream separator?
A milk and cream separator is an extremely efficient piece of industrial equipment that uses centrifugal force to remove cream from whole milk.
Such separation is possible because, as those ancient humans noticed thousands of years ago, milk and cream naturally like to separate.
Remember the phrase, “You look like the cat who got the cream?” A kitten who waited long enough could sneak up to a bucket of milk on a family farm and simply lick the cream off of the top. Milk and cream separate when left to their own devices because they have different densities. Cream is lighter, milk is heavier.
How does a dairy cream separator work?
Just as gravity acts to naturally separate the milk and the cream, cream separators do the same thing — but much more quickly. As mentioned before, cream separators utilize centrifugal force by feeding the raw milk into a central spinning chamber.
Within this chamber are conical disk stacks that rotate in a drum, creating centrifugal force thousands of times stronger than gravity. The fat within the milk stays within the center of the drum, and the heavier skimmed milk is pushed to the outer edges. In this way, a separation process that could take all night if left to nature is achieved in seconds.
Realistically, industrial milk processing — at the rates modern plants run — would be impossible without cream separators. Cream separators guarantee milk fat consistency, and can also be modified to assist with clarification and the removal of foreign objects and pathogens.
Note: Though we started this article talking about cow milk, cream separators work extremely efficiently for goat milk as well. In fact, using a cream separator for goat milk is even more important than for cow milk, as goat milk cream has smaller fat globules, and thus goat cream separates at a much slower rate when left to gravity.
What’s the most cost-effective way to purchase a reliable cream separator?
Like your mom might have told you when dragging you to the thrift store before the first week of school, one secret to spending less money is never buy new. And this is true of cream separators as well.
From both a time and money standpoint, waiting and paying for a brand new cream separator is an extremely costly process. Many name brands can take over a year to get you a new piece of equipment. And if you need a new cream separator, you need it yesterday.
That’s why our number one secret is to buy remanufactured.
Remanufactured equipment not only gets to you faster but can cost up to 30% less upfront.
What is a remanufactured cream separator?
Separators’s remanufacturing process starts with a complete disassembly of a used cream separator. Each and every part of the equipment is cleaned, examined, and replaced or repaired if it doesn’t meet our standards. That means every bolt, spring, disc, valve, and frame of our remanufactured cream separators is like new and passes our rigorous quality standards.
For each remanufactured cream separator, we also pride ourselves in supplying an estimate of its utility consumption, so that you know your operational costs moving forward.
How can I ensure my cream separator is running at its most efficient?
Running a cost-effective cream separator is not only about upfront costs, but also the efficiency of its day-to-day operation. This is why we recommend training each and every employee in best practices for starting and stopping your cream separator equipment, as well as CIP protocols and troubleshooting.
Consider contacting us about our consulting and customized training programs, to ensure your people aren’t making time- and money-wasting errors.
We also highly suggest that you upgrade the automation of your cream separators. Automation technology is improving every month and can have an exceptional impact on equipment efficiency.
How can I ensure my cream separator will last as long as possible?
Regular cream separator maintenance should happen about 2x/year, and can significantly extend the lifespan of the equipment. We happily schedule maintenance around plant downtime and work with you to prevent production delays as much as possible.
We also have a 24/7 phone response in case of emergencies. We provide same-day shipping on replacement parts, and our team of technicians is ready and willing to fly directly to you to provide expert in-person service.
Make the most of tight margins.
The dairy industry is extremely competitive, and paying more than necessary for essential equipment just doesn’t make sense.
Contact us to get more information on remanufactured cream separators. Our experts are always ready to dive in and discuss how to optimize your equipment, save you money, and keep your plant competitive.