Submitted by ProFood Tech

Being able to predict moisture, protein and fat levels accurately in dairy products can help ensure product uniformity and reduce variations. Some new technologies on the market can help manufacturers optimize their processes and reduce food waste by offering data in real time.

George Hutson, the president of ProSpect Analytical Technology, will present an Innovation Stage seminar at the inaugural ProFood Tech (McCormick Place, Chicago; April 4-6). He will discuss in-line analyzer technologies that can help dairy producers optimize manufacturing and minimize waste.

The Innovation Stage is at Booth #1860. Various food and beverage industry leaders will present free, 30-minute seminars about breakthrough technologies, innovative applications and new techniques.

Hutson’s seminar is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. on April 4. A preview of Hutson’s presentation, in question-and-answer format, follows.

How can in-line analysis tools help manufacturers of liquid and powder dairy products?

By performing in-line analysis, manufacturers can predict constituent values such as moisture levels, protein and fat content of their products. By doing this in real time during the production process, information can be delivered to a factory programmable logic controller (PLC), which can facilitate automated formula adjustments.

The result of this is greater process control and more consistent products. It also reduces waste and helps manufacturers be more productive and profitable.


What is the science behind in-line analyzing technology?

One type of in-line analysis involves the electromagnetic energy spectrum in the near infrared range. We developed a near infrared (NIR) spectrometer that offers tighter calibrations and automatic process control that is superior to traditional off-line testing methods. It reduces standard deviation by 50% or more.

What are some liquid applications where in-line analysis technology can be used?

Some examples of liquid applications include butter, processed and mozzarella cheese, cheese milk standardization, whey protein concentrates (WPCs), whey protein isolates (WPIs) and milk protein concentrates (MPCs).

A cheese manufacturer, for example, could take advantage of this technology to improve consistency and enable a streamlined diversification of its lower-fat cheese offerings. In-line NIR analysis removes a lot of the guesswork and reduces the amount of product giveaway. It also reduces the amount of product that goes out of specification and removes sample delays while cutting standardization costs.

What are some applications for dairy powders?

Dairy powder examples include skim milk powders and whey protein concentrate (WPC) powders. The technology analyzes constituents such as moisture, fat, protein and lactose. Physical samples can be retrieved easily and safely for laboratory testing. Dryers can be controlled with data that is communicated from the analyzer, helping to ensure compliance to product specifications, while potentially reducing energy use and boosting productivity.