Caloris Engineering LLC and Lone Star Dairy Products (LSDP) received the 2018 American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI) Breakthrough Award for Dairy Ingredient Innovation at the 2018 ADPI Annual Conference. The award recognizes the implementation of Caloris' low-spore powder production process at the LSDP plant in Canyon, Texas. The patent-pending process has allowed LSDP to consistently and routinely produce high-quality, low-spore milk powders while maintaining continuous and uninterrupted operation of the spray dryer systems. LSDP is a joint venture between Hoogwegt and Lone Star Milk Producers.
Many dairy processors face the challenge of achieving consistent daily production of milk powders with low bacterial spore counts. The presence of a low level of spores in milk powders is difficult to avoid because of the presence of spores in the incoming raw milk supply, with those counts increased by a factor of 10 simply by concentrating the single-strength milk to powder.
A critical challenge is avoiding the exponential growth in bacterial and spore counts to unacceptable levels that develops over the course of a daily milk powder production cycle due to growth of biofilms. In particular, evaporators provide ideal growth conditions for biofilms formed by vegetative bacteria, and after a maturing period of ~10 hours those biofilms begin to contaminate the milk they contact for the remainder of the evaporator production run.
The Caloris Low-Spore Process includes well-timed evaporator system clean-in-place (CIP) cycles, which eliminates operation with the presence of mature biofilms in the evaporator system before they begin to contaminate the milk product with spores. The configuration of the Caloris Low Spore Process allows for these CIP cycles to occur without interrupting the powder production of the spray dryer system.
"The concept struck us as simple, robust, and repeatable," Cody Gruwell, general manager of the LSDP Canyon plant stated in the award entry. "We could clearly eliminate the risk of operating with the presence of mature biofilms that, in a traditional evaporator system, serve as a source for contamination of the milk product with spores."