NAPCON streamlines drying process
Founded in 1905, Valio is the largest producer of dairy products in Finland, and exports to markets across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It has always been involved in research and market innovation. Over the years, Valio has developed several new technologies in cheesemaking, lactose-free dairy products and demineralized whey powders. It ships more than 60 million kilos of milk and whey powders annually.
Dairy powders require the drying of liquids. To do this, a demanding process consumes a lot of energy and requires a high accuracy. Moisture balance is the most critical factor: too much water makes the powder sticky and unusable. To cope with rising demand, Valio wanted to increase and streamline production, and turned to Neste Engineering Solutions for help.
In 2013, Valio had the NAPCON Controller installed in their whey powder production line at their factory complex in Lapinlahti, eastern Finland. Productivity increased, and product quality had less variation. This excellent result encouraged Valio to install another NAPCON Controller in their milk powder production line in Seinäjoki, western Finland. The controller allowed Valio to predict the moisture content and optimize humidity in real time, keeping the powder consistent across production. In addition, energy consumption was minimized, the net result being the same energy was used to output more powder.
To achieve these results, Neste Engineering Solutions delivered:
- NAPCON controller software packages
- an OPC-UA connection between the Valio process and the controller
- full engineering and implementation services
- user training
Key customer benefits
- More than 10% increase in dairy powder production
- No increase in energy consumption
- Less variation in dairy powder moisture content
- Fast track: changes took only three months
- No process or control system shutdowns due to NAPCON installation and comissioning