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Membrane Filtration Headed Toward New Horizons

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Membrane Filtration Headed Toward New Horizons

Membrane Filtration Headed Toward New Horizons
August 31
09:03 2015

Since membrane filtration was introduced in the dairy industry in the 70’s, the technology has gone through a relatively long maturation phase. Now fully accepted in most parts of the world and with a proven track of success, virtually all common dairy processes utilize membrane filtration directly or indirectly. The possibility to increase yield, enhance product quality, increase production flexibility, and reduce environmental impact of the process weigh heavily in the investment phase; for some products, membrane filtration is simply the only viable processing solution.

Current Trends: Milk and Whey Based Ingredients

For some time, high-value milk and whey based ingredients for use in sports nutrition, geriatric nutritional products, weight loss foods, and infant formula have ruled the market. The trend has spurred a development from large, single-application membrane filtration plants to multi-application plants, performing the entire process of selecting and refining the valuable components for high-priced milk and whey based ingredients.

Researching For the Future

Tetra Pak Filtration Solutions has a large R&D center with the combined expertise from the US and Denmark. The center ensures documentation of all current knowhow and develops new applications for advanced high-value end products, such as protein isolates as well as new separation technologies for dairy and other sanitary processes.

DSS2September2015Tetra Pak Filtration Solutions also has strong focus on environmentally sound solutions and improved utilization of process water. To further support this strategy, a water competence center will be established Silkeborg Denmark as the hub for developments in water and green technology. The center will provide consulting services to customers on water quality and reuse as well as energy-saving measures.

Developing the Filtration Business

Irrespective of the current market conditions, membrane filtration will continue to add superior value and utilization of all milk components – in years to come. Niels Osterland, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Filtration Solutions, estimates future growth in the dairy industry at 10 per cent per year, powered by membrane filtration and supported by new opportunities in water and environmental applications. Other growth areas could be juices, nectars, biotech and non-carbonated drinks. The total membrane filtration business showed excellent 2014 results, and future expectations are high, as synergies combined with new opportunities give reason to aim at doubling the target by 2020.

Joined Competences

Niels Osterland, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Filtration Solutions.

Niels Osterland, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Filtration Solutions.

As part of Tetra Pak’s global growth strategy and in support of other processing business, the company acquired US-based Filtration Engineering in December 2012, and in September 2013 DSS Silkeborg in Denmark. Together with its existing filtration organization, Tetra Pak combined its global competence on membrane filtration for dairy applications into one business unit, Tetra Pak Filtration Solutions.

Tetra Pak Filtration Solutions now employs 130 experts in two locations: one in Champlin USA, serving the US, Canada, and Mexico. The other in Silkeborg, covering the rest of the world. The business unit specializes in advanced polymer and ceramic membrane filtration systems for reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ultrafiltration and microfiltration, for dairy applications.

Membrane filtration is a complex technology, not a product. Hence, it is essential to have a center of excellence offering expertise and advice to customers, and this setup has proven successful for Tetra Pak. “We expect new geographical markets to open to us, fueled by cooperation between Tetra Pak’s global network of market companies and the center of excellence,” says Niels Osterland.

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