Themed Week Product Safety: Quality characteristic – Air

Milk processors such as the newly erected “glass” Beemster cheese dairy optimize air management to maintain a hygienic production environment
© Cono Kaasmakers

Milk crises and ongoing trade pressure have further restricted available budgets at dairies in recent years. Yet at the same time, product and food safety are the pillars of every dairy’s business. Safety cannot be compromised as a result of cost-cutting measures. The production area’s equipment and immediate surroundings are and will remain the key to producing flawless, high-quality products.

Dairy: Without hygiene there is no quality

Optimal air conditioning in the dairy’s production facilities is the top priority – especially when products make contact with ambient air, such as in a cheese dairy.  Even when milk is processed in closed systems in other production areas, the air and general hygiene of the production environment are crucially important. And apart from the aspect of hygiene, the “right” air in the dairy significantly influences the quality of the product.

Rules for creating the right air in the dairy

Air management is absolutely essential for every dairy. Suboptimal ambient conditions such as high humidity, heat, or odor problems caused by disinfectants mostly result in non-compliant behavior, such as opening windows and doors that should remain shut to keep dust out of the production environment. And it’s not merely human error that must be prevented; it’s just as important to ensure that adequate air parameters are set. The climate control settings, for example, must prevent condensation from forming as far as possible, which is a formidable challenge in cooled rooms.

Air optimization calls for specialists

Specialists are equipped with the requisite testing devices; they can perform analyses and create customized concepts for individual production facilities. Energy is also an important factor to be considered: A great deal of energy is needed to condition air and feed it into and out of production areas. As far as possible, cooling and heat demand should be met by existing energy in the facility. Options include sol, cold- and hot-water loops and heat recovery. The geographical location of a facility must also be taken into account, for example by factoring in the average number of warm or cold days.

Experts on air supply in production plants will be exhibiting at drinktec at the Munich exhibition center. Professional visitors from the dairy industry will find a comprehensive overview of cutting-edge technology for air and hygiene here. The focus day of the drinktec forum on September 15 will be on dairy-related topics. The program includes trends and current technology in the dairy sector. That afternoon, a festive event organized by the Central Association of German Dairy Farming (ZDM) will round off the Focus Day.

Roland Sossna

The trained dairy expert, agricultural engineer and freelance journalist Roland Sossna is part of the editorial staff of the trade magazine molkerei-industrie (dairy industry) and IDM International Dairy Magazine. He regularly presents outstanding innovations from the dairy industry on the blog.