Michigan Milk Producers Association owns and operates two butter/powder plants, one of them being a 92-year-old facility in Constantine, near the Indiana border in southwest Michigan.
Among the products produced at the Constantine plant is condensed skim milk and non-fat drymilk powder. These products are manufactured on a Stork 4-Effect TVR (Thermal Vapor Recompression) Evaporator. When the plant needed to expand its capacity for making these products its options included membrane filtration, expanded TVR systems or the addition of some kind of Mechanical Vapor Recompression (MVR) system that could be designed by any one of numerous equipment design and manufacturing specialists. But ultimately the decision was to go with an MVR system from Tetra Pak Cheese and Powder Systems (CPS) that could be configured to work with the existing systems.
The CPS system met the cooperative’s requirements, promised a 20% increase in capacity, and would arrive on a skid for a quick installation with virtually no loss of production time.
“We had looked at all of the options, and none of the others were realistic financially or in the way that they operated,” says Tom Carpenter, plant mgr. at Constantine. “The CPS MVR was the perfect ideal fit for our type of system. It takes a small footprint, and uses less energy too.”
The system worked with the existing Stork evaporator that concentrates milk from 9.0% total solids (TS) to 30-45% TS. That concentration ratio was increased by 25% with the addition of the new CPS “pre-concentrator.” The pre-concentrator was integrated prior to the existing pasteurizer. The existing evaporator is now fed with pre-concentrated skim milk at 10.6% TS.
For the project, all equipment was pre-assembled, pre-piped and mounted on a skid for shipment. The skid was leveled at site and interconnecting piping was installed.
“When they delivered it, we had cut a hole in the wall, and we slid it into place,” Carpenter said.
“We lost 20 hours production time and not all at one time, so we never had to make major adjustments to our shipments. We were able to make up for it with holding tanks.”
The system has been running for a year now with excellent results.
“In the initial quoting of the job we asked for a 20% increase, and when CPS looked at it they guaranteed us 20% and thought we would hit 25% and we definitely hit 25%,” Carpenter said. “This was the first small unit of this kind that they had done. You can’t help but be surprised when you put a piece of equipment in and it becomes turnkey. Any glitches we had were worked through real quick.”
For more information on the array of evaporation equipment available from CPS email info.@tetrapakcps.com, or visit www.tetrapak.com/cheese.