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Efficiency without compromises

ALPMA and French cheese-making cooperative Laïta share more than just a passion for cheese. Both strive for quality, progress and efficiency.

Two years ago, after an intensive consultancy and planning phase, Laïta purchased an innovative ALPMA membrane plant line for centralised pre-treatment of cheese-making milk. The system has been operating successfully since mid-2017.

The line comprises a combined microfiltration (MF) and ultrafiltration plant (UF) with a down-stream RO/RO polisher. In an MF plant, the skimmed milk is sterilised and then fractionated inline into micellar casein concentrate (MicCC) and virgin whey. The MicCC has a casein/whey protein content of at least 90/10 per cent. Laïta uses it for casein/protein standardisation of the cheese-making milk.

The virgin whey, on the other hand, is a perfect raw material for baby food. It is separated out in the MF plant and further processed to form whey protein concentrate (WPC), directly and without intermediate storage, using a combined UF plant and RO/RO polisher. This process is an innovative option for obtaining a high-quality product of high nutritional value from relatively inexpensive skimmed milk. Alternatively, whey protein isolate (WPI) could be produced. The UF permeate is concentrated to form a lactose concentrate (LC88).

Laïta uses the RO polisher permeate from the process for CIP cleaning – thus reducing the company’s water consumption. In a further step, Laïta uses the WPC to produce ALPMA-CreamoProt. This process allows them to make profitable use of its own high-quality whey protein.