Dairy quality goes global

A smart instrument self-check procedure for analytical instruments paves the way for more consistent dairy testing with less worry about consistent analytical performance across all instruments. A concept known as transferability holds the key.

20. Apr, 2020
Routine dairy testing is a proven way to improve product quality and production efficiency. But as dairy production becomes increasingly sophisticated and global, producers need to work hard to keep growing fleets of instruments running just right.

It is great timing then that:

  • Instruments can now always test consistently, anywhere, anytime
  • There’s less need for travel for experts to go and check instruments
  • Chemical reagents are no longer required for instrument adjustment
  • There are no more worries about possible human error when performing instrument checks


It’s all about transferability

Transferability sounds a little nerdy, but the concept is simple: it is the ability to get the same result on different instruments for the same sample. Achieving good transferability is becoming increasingly critical as instruments using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) enjoy greater use with dairies around the globe. To avoid variations in quality and use of raw materials, all instruments need to perform perfectly. Yet checking and managing transferability with FTIR instruments involves time, work and specialist knowledge within an organisation, for example, with a reference test procedure made typically once every two weeks by trained personnel.


A breakthrough in instrument automation is a game-changer for dairies running multiple instruments. Using so-called smart technology, the instrument automatically checks its performance every two hours so that any signs of drift in results are spotted immediately. This avoids reference analysis checks. It saves time, work and chemical reagents and avoids worries about compliance with operating procedures.


The new smart instruments open the door to high levels of consistent transferability with little or no effort on the part of operators. It makes the prospect of highly stable analytical units delivering consistent results across the whole fleet a reality for any dairy operation.


Remote analysis


Peak performance, everytime, everywhere 

The prospect of getting all instruments testing to specification all of the time fits hand-in-glove with developments in digital connectivity. This warrants the introduction of yet another technical term called the master/satellite setup.   


By connecting satellite instruments to a master control centre, it becomes much simpler to keep an eye on performance of instruments and to keep them up to scratch with updates to calibrations. For instance, if there is an update to a test for fat in milk to account for seasonal variations in raw milk quality, it is easy to do it on the master instrument and then push it out to all instruments at the click of a mouse button. 


This can only happen if all the instruments involved are aligned and testing correctly. Which leads us back to the importance of the new levels of transferability for efficient quality control operations and not least for consistent quality of dairy products wherever in the world they are produced.