Tetra Pak – Leading the Way in Whey Processing

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Tetra Pak – Leading the Way in Whey Processing

Tetra Pak – Leading the Way in Whey Processing
July 21
09:08 2014

DSS, a Tetra Pak Company, is leading the way in introducing new whey production technology to meet the changing demands of the global dairy industry for more sophisticated whey ingredients and more efficient processing techniques.

DSS, which supplies advanced membrane filtration solutions and replacement membranes to the world’s leading dairy companies, incorporates recent Tetra Pak acquisitions of DSS and Filtration Engineering USA into its existing leading filtration portfolio. These acquisitions were in line with Tetra Pak’s strategy to be a world leader in filtration systems for milk, cheese and whey.

New Technology

DSS has pioneered the introduction of new nanofiltration technology to further concentrate the protein-rich ultra-filtration retentate stream in the whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate manufacturing process. This technology, when used in whey processing reduces the water content of protein products before they are converted to protein powders in a spray dryer. This reduction in water content results in a significant reduction in energy consumption in the spray dryer, improved product quality, and enables the processing line to recover more clean water for reuse. This same technology can also be applied to milk protein concentrates and isolates with similarly impressive results.

DSS has also introduced new technology through Tetra Alcross® RO Lite to help small and medium-sized dairies extract value out of whey. Whey is only valuable when concentrated, but the filtration technology needed to do this has traditionally been highly customised and too expensive for most small and medium-sized dairies. Tetra Alcross RO Lite is a standardised filtration solution that is available in five different sizes, is easy to install and costs about 30% less than the customised alternatives, according to Tetra Pak.

The system uses a process of continuous reverse osmosis filtration to remove excess water from the whey, tripling its concentration while retaining all of the dissolved salts, lactose, acids, proteins, fats and bacteria.

“This concentrated whey can then be sold on to food processors as an ingredient in a growing variety of products, bringing a valuable income stream to the dairy, while also significantly reducing or eliminating unnecessary transportation and waste handling costs,” explains Nick Adamson, Sub-Category Manager Whey, Tetra Pak Cheese & Powder Systems (Tetra Pak CPS).

An additional technology introduction within the lactose segment includes an improved decalcification process using filtration technology to filter and decolour permeate in whey processing. This technology is being delivered by Tetra Pak in coordination with its partner Milk & More Dairy Consulting and helps to improve the efficiency of downstream processing and product quality.


“Customers demand flexibility, quality and future proof solutions. Tetra Pak CPS has been improving its evaporation and drying systems to enable its customers to manufacture a wider range of dairy products on the same equipment, thereby providing flexibility,” point out says Nick Adamson. “To give an example, the modern dairy needs to manage the challenge of fluctuating demand for dairy products – unless a dairy can rapidly change product type, revenue per litre of milk will not be maximized or even worse, raw milk can be wasted or end up as a difficult to manage waste stream.”

One of Tetra Pak’s latest wide body nozzle drying technology innovations enables dairies to manage this problem by allowing them to quickly change between a variety of products including whey powder, demineralized whey, milk powders or infant formula. This means a dairy can rapidly change products if demand falls, thereby avoiding waste and boosting profitability in a challenging market environment.


Avoiding waste underpins Tetra Pak’s commitment to offer customers the lowest ‘Total Cost of Ownership’. Tetra Pak regards waste in all its forms as a direct cost – whether this is product losses or unnecessary energy or water consumption.

Consequently, the company’s latest processing solutions and filtration systems have waste reduction at their core. For example, Tetra Alcross® RO Lite, a compact reverse-osmosis filtration system, enables a smaller dairy to triple the concentration of whey at a low investment and operational cost. This creates a higher-value product with a much reduced volume – which has a major impact on transportation costs. It also enables the recovery of the water volume and its reuse within the plant.

“This can be the difference between treating whey as a waste product or treating it as something that can be further processed into profit. Fundamentally that is a sustainable outcome – creating value from something that would ordinarily be wasted,” he remarks.

Unique Proposition

As a full system provider from raw milk right through to finished goods, Tetra Pak offers a unique proposition. “This means that our customers have one point of contact and one supplier who is fully responsible for the performance of their line. Our technology teams from cheese, centrifuges, filtration, evaporation, drying and powder handling work closely to ensure that each technology delivers what is best for the downstream process and the overall superior performance of the line solution.”

Nick Adamson continues:  “For example this might include optimization of cheese milk filtration to give the best product quality and economics for both the cheese and whey streams or alternatively optimizing total solids from filtration to evaporation or drying to give the overall lowest ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ for our customer. This is then embedded into the solution through common design and automation platforms and the one look, feel and functionality of the Tetra Plantmaster flexible automation solution.”

Indeed, automation is incorporated in all Tetra Pak equipment to enable integration – of equipment, operational procedures and people, bringing control, quality assurance, efficiency and food safety – while minimizing operation costs.

Tetra Pak currently provides whey processing solutions to between 25-35% of the European market. Indeed, the company recently completed the commissioning of two flexible dryers for demineralized whey powders, milk powders and infant formulas for Friesland Campina in the Netherlands and a line solution for making evaporated D90 concentrate for drying in Hungary.

“We have ambitious plans to grow, and believe that our position as a full system supplier is a unique proposition that is becoming increasingly valuable as customers seek to control costs and improve profitability,” concludes Nick Adamson.

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