“It’s blown my expectations out of the water,” says plant manager Nathan Bass. “I was a little sceptical at how this would work online, being that it was the first FTIR coming on the market.” (Milbank, South Dakota, November 2016)
“I didn’t expect it to be this consistent from one day to the next.”
Bass is the plant manager of Valley Queen Cheese in Milbank, South Dakota, which has now had the MilkoStream installed for seven months.
The company has specific quantities of protein and fat for each of its recipes, and keeping those levels standard is key to a consistent product.
Before installing the MilkoStream, Valley Queen used a bench-top instrument to measure fat and protein and predict how much of each flow had to go into the vat to hit its targets. Then, at the end of the process, it would take a sample to see if the target had been reached.
The system worked well, but it took about 30 minutes.
Now “every seven seconds the MilkoStream is kicking a sample out to us,” says Bass. “So we’ve got this consistent data coming in to us on exactly what our systems are doing, which in turn is going to make us a lot more consistent on the downward stream, and then a more consistent cheese product going out to our customers.”
The MilkoStream FT
Bass says the MilkoStream is “very low maintenance”.
“We’ve had installed 6-7 months now, we put our first calibration in about 5 months ago and it’s been very accurate since then,” he says.
“It cleans in line with the line, so there’s really nothing on it that you need to worry about cleaning.”
Pays for itself
The increased consistency, says Bass, helps the MilkoStream quickly pay for itself.
“If we can be more consistent with our fat and our protein, we can be more consistent downstream and maybe tighten up our standard deviations of our final cheese moisture,” he says.
“We can start getting up towards the higher end of the spec knowing confidently that you’re not going to go over spec because you are consistent, you know what your consistency is. So that allows a machine like this to pay itself back.”
“Without a doubt, it’s worth it.”
Read more about the MilkoStream FT.