Coffee & Tea

Powder for Gourmets

If you think “powdered” food means a pale imitation of real flavors, you haven’t tasted the products of Sato Foods industries. But if you’ve ever been to Japan, you almost surely have.

The headquarters of Sato Foods Industries Co. Ltd. outside Nagoya in central Japan are located in a typical Japanese industrial area: building after similar building stretching across an uninteresting, flat expanse of reclaimed land – but at least everything is uniformly neat and tidy (this being Japan, of course).

The destination at first seems much the same, a typical white five story office building standing before several more industrial-looking buildings. Workers in sanitary white caps and pristine blue uniforms scuttle from building to building.

The soft fronds of palm trees surrounding the entrance, however, suggest that things might be a little different in the headquarters. It’s a first impression borne out by the cordial Irrashaimase! – “Welcome!” – from every employee, and the pots of orchids and other flowers at the exit from the lift on each floor.

“Raising my tropical flowers and talking with the young people –that’s what I like best of all,” says Sato Foods Chairman Jinichi Sato with a smile, settling back into a meeting-room sofa. At 79, the Chairman is still very much involved in the running of the company he founded in 1954, and fiercely proud of the technologies he either initially created, or set the path for later development by his research team.

Convenient tea-making

“Almost everyone in the country has eaten or drunk what we make, ” Mr. Sato says. The company is one of Japan’s leading producers of powdered extracts – black and green teas, seasonings, soup bases, soy sauce, and, perhaps its most unusual creation, powdered alcohol products.

Almost everything is sold in bulk to other food manufacturers or retailers, “So very few consumers actually know our name, “Mr. Sato says. “We have always tried to create something that tastes better than what the average person can make,” he explains. “For example, ocha – green tea – is hard to make well from leaf. You have to warm the pot, add hot water, and the taste changes very quickly depending on the temperature and water quantity. Powder is convenient, compact, it’s stable and the flavour doesn’t change.”

Servings of tea regularly supplied during the interview by the smiling staff are just what Mr. Sato says: consistent in flavour from cup to cup, and without the bitterness often found in the quickly-made cups inevitably served to guests in offices and homes. But Mr. Sato is aiming even higher. “Powder has the image of being inferior, but I want to create high-quality products that have true, natural flavour. I want to bring it to the level where it tastes as good as something created by a professional.”

The same every time

Exactly how Sato Foods has succeeded in capturing natural flavours in powdered form is closely guarded technology. Eight spray towers stand at the company’s two plants in the area and Mr Sato describes the process in simple terms. Liquid materials are sprayed from the top of the towers at carefully-controlled temperatures and airflow that turn the fine mist into powder in just a fraction of a second. There are viewing ports on the sides of the towers, but after some discussion it is decided that even the glimpse these allow is best not shared with outsiders.

“Each of the eight drying towers is different.” Mr. Sato acknowledges. “We tell the construction people what we want done inside – add a duct here, put some pipes over there. It takes hundreds of tries and hours of research to find the best way to dry something. Any tiny change in any of many factors – the heat, the cooling air, the shape of the nozzles – will have an effect on the results. This is why we are increasingly dependent on automation to ensure that everything is exactly the same every time.”

Because of this insistence on quality, Sato Foods Industries is the leading producer of powered ocha in the country. Its No. 2 Factory, completed in 2000, was built solely for the production of powdered teas, in particular ocha. “There are just a few others trying to do this, but they have almost all met with failure,” Mr. Sato says with more than a touch of pride.

A visit to the factory, about a 20-minute drive from the headquarters, shows the automation which ensures that the tea produced tastes the same all day and every day. Only about a dozen workers, in near clean-room conditions are required to oversee everything from the making of the base tea itself to the spray drying, gathering of the powder and packaging for shipment.

Carefully selected equipment

Unlike most Japanese manufacturers, Sato Foods Industries uses its own engineers when constructing new facilities. “This means that we don’t just set a budget and schedule and then turn everything over to the contractors,” says Akifumi Yoshimatsu, Managing Director and the man responsible for technical decisions. “Instead, we very carefully select what equipment we want used, and how things are to be built.

We wanted world class quality in everything, and this is one reason why we insisted on Alfa Laval valves, heat exchangers and clarifiers (sparklingly clear tea being, of course, a necessity). We also are involved in more and more international business and wanted the factory to demonstrate our readiness.”

The fun of it

“Products like Alfa Laval’s are our weapons,” adds Mr. Sato. “We need the best.” Another sign of this focus quality is the strict adherence at the plant to the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) system originally developed by NASA in the US to ensure the safety of food for astronauts.

While ocha is about half of the business today, in fact it was in humble soy sauce where the company began. “I studied ceramics at university,” Mr. Sato says, but like everyone after the war I was hungry! So I went into the food business.” After a short stint as a researcher, Mr. Sato began what he calls “fun” research into a clear soy sauce that, after much trial and error and some disappointments, was eagerly accepted by cracker makers in Tokyo. A later request by a customer for a dried soy sauce lead to the field where he would be even more successful. “They though I was this bright scientist from Kyoto University, but I hadn’t even seen a drier!” he recalls.

The challenge of the task lured him on, first to success in food flavourings, then in the 1960s to a true world’s first: powdered alcohol. “It was the fun of doing it that kept me going,” he says. He found a combination of a sugar with alcohol resulted in a powder that somehow holds onto the alcohol during drying while the water is removed.

Magic formula

To illustrate the point, a member of staff brings in a series of beakers containing a fine grey-white powder. The Chairman takes the helm, mixing the powders about half and half with water. “Red wine!” he beams. “Brandy!” And, in fact, they are entirely drinkable – and fully alcoholic – beverages. “It’s not a big product for us,” Mr. Sato admits, “but cake makers and others find it a great way to get natural alcohol flavours without needing the storage space for liquid.”

At an age where most people have long since retired, Mr. Sato’s thoughts are very much with the challenges of the future. “I see things like powdered salad dressing that you can just sprinkle on,” he says. “I want to make a top-quality soy sauce so you can sprinkle it on sushi, instead of dipping into liquid. We just have to study more. It’s interesting, because it’s difficult!”

With this spirit of enjoyable inquiry firmly established at the company, it will be interesting to see in the future what kinds of delicious powders do emerge from those secret spray towers.

Alfa Laval / Sato Foods cooperation

To achieve what Sato Foods Industries’ founder and Chairman Jinichi Sato calls the ideal mix of “technology and art” that results in delicious products and good business results, his company has applied both human skills and world-class equipment in building their new Number 2 Factory in 2000.

The people power came from the company’s 20 R & D staff who figure out the ideal factors to make foods taste and look good after being transformed into powder and later reconstituted with water.

The equipment includes a number of key products from Alfa Laval, of which the plate heat exchangers and the clarifier are supplied through Tetra Pak. The equipment provides precise control of temperature and other factors to ensure the same top level of quality all day and every day.

As Mr. Sato noted, temperature is a key factor in ensuring the optimum flavour when making tea. Sato Foods uses Alfa Laval M-series plate heat exchangers to ensure very fine control of product temperature before drying and, with the plant producing 1,000 tons of dried tea annually, the heat exchangers have to provide outstanding efficiency.

Before the concentration stage, a VNPX clarifier is used to remove solids from the liquid. This is a critical step in ensuring that exactly the right, small amount of solids is kept in the product in order to create the impression of fresh ‘home-made’ tea.

Finally, to move the liquids through the various processes on the way to the transformation in the highly-confidential drying towers, Sato Foods has installed a number of Alfa Laval SRC remotely-controlled valves and other sanitary valves for precise, optimum product flow.

“Our Key Account Management concept is critical for customers such as Sato Foods,” says Atsushi Sekigawa, Sales Manager for Sanitary Equipment at Alfa Laval in Tokyo. “This allows us to provide full support to the customer in a single approach.”

Fruit & Vegetable Preparations

Citrosuco's juice plant in Brazil

At Citrosuco’s factory in Mattão, Brazil, 100,000 oranges are processed every minute. At that speed they need processes that keep running at peak performance.

There are parts of Brazil that few tourists ever get to see. Far away from the tropical beaches and rainforests are the vast hinterlands of the interior. In much of the country’s north and northeast, these are arid semi-deserts, tough and inhospitable. But in the south and southeast, Brazil’s interior contains some of the most fertile farmlands on the planet.

”It’s a mixture of soil and climate,” says Sérgio Moretti, production manager at Citrosuco, one of the world’s biggest producers of concentrated and fresh orange juice. “It’s that deep red earth, and plenty of sun all year round, plus a little bit of cold in the winter.”

Citrosuco is based in Mattão, about four hours’ drive north of São Paulo city. This is orange grove and sugarcane country. Further south and east, the same vein of rich soil is used for a wider variety of crops such as soy and corn. Where the altitude permits, especially further to the west, the main crop is coffee.

It’s an amazingly productive area, that has enough orange trees to make the state of São Paulo the world’s biggest producer of both oranges and orange juice, with about 40% of global production. The state of Florida in the southern United States comes second with about 30%, and the rest is shared between smaller producing countries.

100,000 oranges a minute

Some of the groves around Mattão belong to Citrosuco. The company produces about one quarter of the oranges it uses, on farms covering more than a million hectares. It buys the rest from independent growers. At its two factories – one in Mattão, the other in Limeira, about an hour and a half’s drive away – Citrosuco’s juice extractors process 100,000 oranges per minute. That’s enough to make about two thousand tons of finished products each and every working day.

If you’re able to form a mental picture of that many oranges and that much orange juice, it should come as no surprise to learn that Citrosuco’s factory in Mattão is the biggest of its kind in the world.

Sérgio Moretti is in charge of both factories, overseeing production processes, maintenance, efficiency, quality, costs and all the data and day-to-day details. About one hundred people work at the Limeira factory and 300 at Mattão, which is where we went to see him on a crisp and sunny winter’s morning.

The Mattão factory dominates the small town. Seen from the outside, the factory looks more like a small oil refinery. Evaporation towers and other mysterious-looking volumes are linked by mile upon mile of piping, all stainless steel, glinting in the sun. The company started in 1963 as a family business trading in fresh fruit. It later went into water-borne transport, but for years now has focused on and invested heavily in orange juice.

Focus on export

Very little of that juice goes to the local market due to the easy access to fresh fruit throughout the country and the fact that “carton orange juice” is an expensive product by the standards of the Brazilian market. “Instead of buying ready-to-drink juice, most Brazilians buy fresh oranges cheaply by the dozen and squeeze them at home. Walk into any corner bar and ask for an orange juice, and it will be squeezed to order”, says Sérgio Moretti.

The export market is what matters to Citrosuco. It sells almost all of its output overseas, currently exporting to markets in 40 different countries worldwide. Long-established markets such as those in European countries have come close to saturation point in recent years and Citrosuco, along with its competitors, is working to open new markets in Asia and other regions. The market of the moment is China. Brazilian are especially strong in China, making up two thirds of what is now the world’s fastest growing market.

It’s a business where companies have to keep innovating if they want to keep growing. Producing orange juice may sound like the sort of activity that doesn’t change much down the years, but in fact customer demands change rapidly. As a consequence, Citrosuco must invest to keep ahead of the competition.

Customized production

The basic extraction process is quite simple. Oranges are fed into machines five at a time, then pierced from below and pressed to extract the juice. This takes just one second. (There are 180 machines at Mattão.) From these extractors, the juice goes into centrifuges, where pulp and any other particles are extracted. From there, the juice goes into evaporating towers, where its volume is reduced to produce the concentrate that makes up the majority of Citrosuco’s sales.

This, of course, is a crude outline, and there are many variants depending on customers’ demands. Citrosuco recently began supplying Tropicana, the world’s biggest brand of “fresh” orange juice, for which it produces unconcentrated juice. Instead of going to the evaporating towers, the juice is pasteurised and kept aseptically until it reaches consumers around the world.

“We’re always looking for new products, and we’re in constant contact with customers to try to develop something new, to find a new solution to their needs,” says Sérgio. One recent example involved working closely with Alfa Laval to modify the characteristics of a solid orange juice concentrate used in the soft drinks industry. This concentrate is extracted from the pulp and other material taken from the juice by the centrifuges. “The juice extracted at this stage has a high level of limonin, which gives it a bitter taste,” Sérgio explains. Using ultrafiltration technology developed at Alfa Laval, Citrosuco was able to remove the bitterness from the concentrate and provide the right product for its customers.

All down the production chain there are by-products. The pulp and other solid residues are turned into pellets, which are then used in making cattle feed. Another by-product of the pressing stage is orange oil, contained in orange peel. This is extracted in centrifuges and sold overseas to flavour houses for use in the food and cosmetics industries. Orange essence is also extracted at the evaporation stage, for use in food and drinks.

As Sérgio talks, it becomes clear that his is a deeply involving job. “I really like the large variation of activities,” he says. “The basic process is oranges in, orange juice out, but things change every day. The quality and type of oranges are always changing, which means constant changes in technology, and new processes coming along. There’s a new challenge every day.”

Fruitful cooperation

The relationship between Alfa Laval and Citrosuco began when Alfa Laval bought Danish Separation Systems in 2002.

In 1996, the company had supplied Citrosuco with an ultrafiltration plant for orange juice clarification after extraction.

Recent changes to the extraction process meant that the juice passing through the filters had a higher concentration of peel oil than before.

The oil in the finished concentrate had to be kept to a minimum to meet the needs of Citrosuco’s customers; soft drink manufacturers in this case. In addition, peel oil is very aggressive to most polymers. As a result, the support plates of the ultrafiltration plant deteriorated, causing leaks and product losses.

“The oil was basically destroying part of our equipment,” says Sérgio Moretti, Citrosuco’s production manager. “The ultrafiltration membranes were still OK, but the oil was breaking down the support plates.”

These are massive machines. The membranes on their support plates sit in long rows and the juice is forced through them down steel tubes. After that, a resin on the membrane attracts the orange oil and removes it from the juice.

When the support plates began to corrode, Citrosuco had to make a decision. It could replace the entire ultrafiltration plant, buying a new system from another manufacturer using highly resistant ceramic plates; or it could stick with Alfa Laval, and work together to produce new support plates in a sufficiently resistant material.

“Alfa Laval’s people came over and worked with our people on a series of tests and experiments,” Sérgio says. Between them, Alfa Laval’s and Citrosuco’s engineers developed support plates in a material able to resist the oil-rich juice. Alfa Laval has now upgraded all 16 modules at Citrosuco, with a total membrane area of 840 square meters.

The success of the project led Citrosuco and Alfa Laval to sign a five-year service agreement to keep the machines running at peak performance. Under the agreement, Alfa Laval will provide regular service visits, give advice on optimizing the filtration process and undertake training of Citrosuco personnel. The deal also includes lead-time guarantees on maintenance. “The plant is working much better,” Sérgio says. “This is the kind of relationship we like to build, based on the needs of our customers.”

Mixing smoothies with Rotary jet mixer technology

Mixing smoothies with Rotary jet mixer technology

THE SERIOUS FOOD COMPANY, UNITED KINGDOM. This British producer of juice, desserts and smoothies faced the challenge of quickly achieving a stable and homogeneous mixture of high-viscosity fruit purées and fresh-pressed high-fibre juice. By equipping three 15-m3 tanks with two Alfa Laval rotary jet mixers each, the dairy quickly achieved stable, homogeneous mixtures. This cost-effective design with low maintenance costs which resulted in a savings of 12,000 EUR per tank.

Mixing smoothies

The challenge when mixing smoothies is to obtain a stable and homogeneous mixture of high-viscosity fruit purées and the fresh-pressed high-fibre juice.


British company the Serious Food Company, producer of juice, desserts and smoothies.


The Serious Food Company wanted a system that, in a just few minutes, could blend smoothies to a homogeneous and stable mixture. They were facing problems with unacceptable mixing times since it took a long time to obtain a homo- geneous mix of high-viscosity fruit purées and fresh-pressed high-fibre juice. They also found it difficult to clean the tanks after batch production.


Three tanks, each with a volume of 15m3, were equipped with two Alfa Laval Iso-Mix Rotary jet mixers. The rotating nozzles on the Rotary jet mixers reach the entire tank volume, resulting in fast and efficient mixing. The complete system is made up of a recirculation loop that feeds the Iso-Mix rotary jet mixer and takes the tank contents from the tank bottom through a boost pump and back into the Rotary jet mixer.


Rotary jet mixer technology proved to be considerably faster than traditional methods, which resulted in greater profit margins. By installing the Iso-Mix rotary jet mixers in the tanks, the Serious Food Company obtained a more cost-effective plant design with low maintenance costs and higher sanitary levels in the tanks since the Rotary jet mixer can also be used for cleaning the empty tank (CIP).


• Savings of 12,000 EUR per tank

• Homogeneous and stable mixture

• Fast and efficient cleaning of the empty tank (CIP)

System data

• System data

• Volume: 15 m3

• Tank diameter: 1.88 m

• Tank height: 5.22 m

• Mixer type: IM 15 with 4 x 8 mm nozzles

• Temperature: 5°C

• Pressure, pump: 2–5 bar

• Viscosity: 1– 8000 cP (end-product 20– 300 cP)

The Alfa Laval rotary jet mixer has either two or four rotating jet nozzles positioned under the liquid surface at the top of the tank. A variable speed pump circulates the liquid to be mixed through the tank in a closed loop system. The resulting flow drives a gearing system in the rotary jet mixer, which causes the nozzles to rotate around both the horizontaland vertical axes.

This double rotation enables the jets to produce

mixing action and extend its reach throughout the

entire tank volume. This results in fast and efficient

mixing of the injected liquid, gas or powder. The rotary

jet mixer may also be used for cleaning the tank;

cleaning fluids are then fed through the nozzles of

the rotary jet mixer into the tank.

Soft Drink

Integrator ensures cost-effective hygienic solutions using Alfa Laval equipment

As subsidiary of the one of the largest breweries in the world, Carlsberg Sverige AB teams up with integrator Falkenbergs Rör to optimize the performance of its plant using Alfa Laval equipment.

Sweden’s largest brewery Carlsberg Sverige AB is redefining mutually beneficial business relationships. Falkenbergs Rör (Falkenberg Pipes Ltd) has been providing Carlsberg with Alfa Laval equipment for the past decade, first as a pipe and component installer and now as an integrator.

About 80% of all equipment installed in the Carlsberg plant is Alfa Laval equipment due to 30 years of collaboration with the equipment and solutions provider. With excellent support from both partners, Carlsberg is able to focus on its core business, boosting productivity and profitability while relying on Falkenbergs Rör to ensure high operating efficiency.

Easy to do business with

What started out as tightly knit threesome with Carlsberg as a common client of Alfa Laval as equipment provider and Falkenbergs Rör as system installer has evolved over the years, with Falkenbergs Rör gradually taking on the role of integrator.

“From the basics of pipe and component installation and emergency services, we took over increasingly more  responsibility as Carlsberg’s operations expanded,” says Jesper Johansson, department manager for industry, at Falkenbergs Rör. “Now we are responsible for the cost-effective supply and maintenance of Carlberg’s process installations.”

“Ours is a very unique business relationship. It is easy to do business with a partner who knows the plant so well,” says Thomas Hedman, technical manager at Carlsberg. “With the pressures on uptime and profitability, it is a relief to know that we can count on fast turnaround for Alfa Laval components and same day installation, if required.”

Safe and hygienic uptime

The plant runs three eight-hour continuous batch shifts, producing 170 million litres of beer and 110 million litres of water, soft drinks and cider each year. Because Alfa Laval is a preferred supplier, Alfa Laval LKH pumps, Unique mixproof valves, ThinkTop valve sensing and control units and tank cleaning machines are mainstays throughout Carlsberg production lines and contribute by getting the most out of the raw materials.

“Hygiene, reliability and low maintenance are ‘musts’,” says Hedman emphatically. “We trust Alfa Laval equipment for all three and know from experience that we can increase equipment service intervals beyond the recommended  intervals but still maintain high equipment availability and keep costs low.”

Integrator Falkenbergs Rör also contributes to increasing uptime by ensuring stable plant operations. While Carlsberg keeps a small onsite inventory of essential spare parts, the plant also has easy access to a broad selection of genuine spare parts.

“If it’s not on our shelves or at Falkenbergs Rör, whatever we need is never far away at Alfa Laval Kolding, Denmark.”

In addition, Falkenbergs Rör employees contribute to uptime in an unusual way. “Sometimes when staff calls in sick, the guys at Falkenbergs Rör step in to help out,” admits Hedman with a chuckle. “They know the production lines just as well if not better than our own guys.”

Greater energy savings

Over the years, Carlsberg has worked closely with Falkenbergs Rör and Alfa Laval to reduce energy expenditures and streamline productivity. Long before the EU Energy Efficiency Directive was endorsed, Carlsberg had its eye on increasing plant-wide energy efficiency, reducing waste and emissions.

“As a 2008 U.N. Global Compact signatory, the Carlsberg Group launched a company-wide energy efficiency programme, which among other things called for the use of low-energy motors in all new installations,” confides Hedman. “With energy consumption representing 95% of the total life-cycle costs for a pump, it was in our best interests to reduce pump energy consumption.”

A broad selection of Alfa Laval LKH centrifugal pumps, from LKH-5 to LKH-90, are installed at the Falkenberg plant and handle the various flow rates required depending on where they are located. These offer about 30% in energy savings compared to similar mid-range pumps. “Plus when the valve matrices are properly designed and installed, which they are, we don’t use more energy for the pumps than necessary,” adds Hedman.

Reduced environmental impact with Alfa Laval equipment

Beyond the production lines, Carlsberg is taking additional steps to reduce its overall environmental impact and energy consumption. For instance, if the need for increased production capacity arises, Hedman plans to introduce Alfa Laval Rotary Jet Mixers to the plant. These are currently in use at the Carlsberg Northampton plant in the U.K. and have boosted production capacity by 44% while minimizing energy consumption.

“When that time comes, we look forward to working out the details with Falkenbergs Rör to bring these Alfa Laval subsystems online at the plant and ensure a smooth transition to greater productivity,” says Hedman.

Land of processing opportunity

In the midst of India’s formidable economic boom, the country is emerging as one of the world’s biggest food-producing nations. Food processing is now one of its largest industries, and growth is predicted to accelerate in coming years.

Not long ago, India conjured up images of poverty and starvation, but the country has seen vast change in recent decades. Today the country ranks as the world’s second- largest food producer, surpassed only by China, and there is much more to come.

Some say India is on track to become the global food power nation of the future, although a lot still needs to be done to realize this vision.

With close to 184 million hectares of arable land, India’s food industry is largely based on primary production. Each year about 601 million tonnes of food stuffs are grown, primarily milk, grains, livestock, fruit and vegetables. India is the world’s largest producer of milk and livestock and is also big in the areas of fish and poultry.

Despite its vast resources, India contributes just 1.5 percent of the international food trade. Of its vast amount of agricultural produce, only about 2 percent is processed. Baboo M Nair, professor emeritus at the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry at Lund University in southern Sweden, says, “Like many agriculture-based economies, between 60 and 70 percent of the labour force [in India] generates its livelihood from agriculture, but farming only contributes about 25 percent of GDP.

Productivity in the agro-food sector is very low. One reason is that farmers mainly supply raw materials or low-cost products for the domestic market. There is, therefore, great potential to develop value-added products for export.”

One of India’s leading industries

Food processing is one way to add value and shelf life to products. It covers a relatively broad spectrum of methods, such as grading, extraction, concentration, heat treatment, storing and packaging. Packaging and storage are in themselves a huge problem in India:

One estimate suggests as much as 30 percent of India’s crops is wasted due to limited storage and food processing facilities. While the level of food processing remains low in India by international standards, the industry has seen steady growth in recent years, and it now ranks as one of India’s leading industries. This development has been supported by government initiatives, market liberalization and demographic factors.

Dharmendra Shukla, senior manager, Beverages and Viscous Food at Alfa Laval India, says, “A lot of government initiatives have aimed to improve economic conditions for farmers. One way of doing this is through food processing, which has been one of the prioritized industries. We are seeing food parks emerging as well as a lot of subsidies and grants going into the sector.”

Rapid urbanization is also supporting the shift to processed food. India’s double-digit economic growth during the past decade hastransformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Indians and led to an emerging middle class. Not long ago, most of India’s food trade took place at roadside stands. Today, retailing is growing rapidly, and supermarkets are opening in the cities to cater for the new class structure. Organized retail trade has been increasing by an average of 45 percent per year in recent years, according to the Indian Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

“The booming technology business in India has been another important contributing factor,” says Shukla. “The IT industry has brought a lot of purchasing power to this country.”

Growing interest in the food sector

The FICCI estimates that 300 million people in India consume processed food today, with a further 200 million expected to do so by 2010. That still leaves an untapped market of close to 1,000 million people.

The strong growth in the food processing industry of recent years is only expected to accelerate. The government, whose figures indicate the sector value will triple in size by 2015, is targeting an increase in the level of perishable-food processing from 6 percent to 20 percent, and a doubling of India’s share of global food trade to 3 percent. Getting there will require, among other measures, new investment in technology and infrastructure.

In a press statement in December, in which it called for tax breaks and alleviations in VAT duties to stimulate the sector, the FICCI argued, “The processed-food segment should be able to grow by more than 10 percent annually, driven by consumer demand, organized distribution and policy initiatives taken by the government.”

This spells a lot of opportunities in the sector, both for investors and companies. Nair, who is organizing an inter-national seminar on networking for building strategic alliances between small and medium-sized food and bio-tech companies, says interest in the sector is growing. “We are likely to see change,” he says. “We have already seen a lot of private interests going into the food processing industry, and it is a sector with many opportunities.

“The food industry in India is still focused on low-cost products, but it is developing in the right direction. One way is to work with strategic alliances and networking that benefit not only Indian companies but also international ones. Pension funds could invest in India’s agro-food and bio-tech industries with good return on a long-term basis, provided there is also some cooperation in the field of research, technology and education.”

Dairy, wheat, fruit and vegetables are considered the segments with the greatest potential. Today, about 2 percent of the total fruit and vegetable harvest is processed, accounting for about 1.5 percent of the total food processing industry. That share is expected to rise to 10 percent by 2010 and to 15 percent by 2015.

The combined installed processing capacity for fruit and vegetables more than doubled between 1993 and 2007, from 1.1 million tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes. Shukla says, “Only five to 10 years ago most of the juices, concentrates and preserves were produced manually, and investors were reluctant to put money into the food processing industry. Now, everyone wants to be part of it.”

Great technology demand

The boom in India’s food processing industry has created a huge need for new and efficient solutions to heat, cool, sterilize, extract, concentrate, separate and transport food stuffs.

Further investments in technology and equipment will be needed if India is to realize its ambitions for food export. It was not that long ago that almost all India’s food trade took place at roadside stands, but that is changing as well.

On the domestic front, the rise in retail shopping and the emergence of supermarkets are driving investment in refrigeration, packaging and cooling-system solutions. The latter is of particular importance, as solutions here can help alleviate the problem of post-harvest waste.

Alfa Laval has been a key supplier to the Indian food processing industry for many years. Its separation, heating, cooling, refrigeration and fluid-handling equipment and solutions are used in the production of dairy products, fruit-based products and beverages, vegetable oil, beer and starch, but also in the wine, fish and meat-processing industries.

Fermentation & Maturation

Brewing a better yeast propagation process

Knowing a better yeast handling solution was needed to improve the efficiency of brewing Big Eddy beer, the Leinenkugel engineering team reached out to Alfa Laval for consultation. As a result, the Alfa Laval magnetic mixer was specifically engineered into the 10th Street Brewery’s yeast propagation tank to handle their process’ unique challenges.

A heritage of excellence
For six generations, the Leinenkugel family from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin has been brewing America’s friendliest craft beer. Under the guidance of Jake, Dick and John Leinenkugel, the brewery continues to thrive, keeping true to the history and heritage established by their great-great grandfather more than 145 years ago.

To accommodate the growth of craft brewing seen in the 1990s, Leinenkugel’s added a second small brewery to their operations in 1995. The 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin now helps to handle the increased demand of a growing number of fans – and with more than 350,000 card-carrying “Leinie Lodge” members, demand remains high.

A delicious secret at the 10th Street Brewery
The 10th Street Brewery produces an ever-evolving family of beers, including Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy series of premium craft beers, featuring styles like Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, Baltic Porter, Russian Imperial Stout and Imperial IPA. Leinenkugel creates each of these complex, high-end styles from dozens of ingredients, along with a secret yeast culture referred to as “007.” The outcome is highly flavorful beers with higher than normal alcohol by volume (ABV) of around 10%.

The challenges of specialty craft beers
As part of the brewing process, yeast is added to unfer-mented wort to begin fermentation. This process is referred to as “pitching yeast.” For many types of beers, yeast can simply be reused or “re-pitched” from batch to batch. However, the very high ABV of the Big Eddy series results in a more stressful fermentation process and low yeast viability at the end of fermentation. As a result, the yeast cannot be serially re-pitched, but instead must be freshly propagated for each batch.

Stirring up a better solution
Knowing a better yeast handling solution was needed to improve the efficiency of brewing Big Eddy beer, the Leinenkugel engineering team reached out to Alfa Laval for consultation. As a result, the Alfa Laval magnetic mixer was specifically engineered into the 10th Street Brewery’s yeast propagation tank to handle their process’ unique challenges.

Leinenkugel’s uses a vessel with a top-mounted agitator to propagate the yeast. Once the agitator is operating, a perforated pipe introduces gas to support propagation. Beer is produced as a by-product of this process. However, Leinenkugel’s does not want to dilute the Big Eddy’s wort with this by-product beer due to it’s lower alcohol content and flavor profile, so they allow the yeast to sediment and then decant the beer off. The resulting yeast slurry can have a consistency above 70% spin-down solids.

The Alfa Laval Magnetic Mixer UltraPure stirs this thick yeast slurry to keep it homogeneous, and to control its temperature until it can be pitched into the fermenter. Due to its levitated design, the mixer is easy to clean between batches, and thanks to its bottom-mount location, the mixer stirs the slurry effectively even at low volumes – helping to efficiently drain the tank as a secondary benefit. These results also show that the mixer is suitable for other production challenges, such as mixing in yeast brinks.

Tapping into savings on yeast
In the past, they purchased a liquid yeast culture for pitching but now by propagating their own yeast in-house, they have realized substantial cost savings. According to Greg Walter, Master Brewer/Facility Manager of Leinenkugel’s, these savings are significant. “Instead of costing roughly $3,000 to pitch yeast, it now only costs a few hundred dollars per batch,” said Greg.

He added, “The ‘007’ yeast is so thick and viscous that if we didn’t have the Alfa Laval mixer, we simply couldn’t drain the yeast propagation tank properly.” While the benefits of homogeneous mixing and temperature control play a key role in the Big Eddy series’ production, Greg sums up why it all matters: “We’re most proud of the fact that the Big Eddy series incorporates the most and highest quality of ingre-dients, and is really the most valuable craft beer in the entire Leinenkugel family of beers.” Alfa Laval is proud to play a small but important part in their brewing success!

Carlsberg: Faster, more consistent beer fermentation with Iso-Mix

The need to continually improve all aspects of its brewing process without compromising its famous quality lead Carlsberg’s Fredericia brewery in Denmark to look at the potential of Alfa Laval’s Iso-Mix rotary mixing technology for beer fermentation.

The Danish brewery became one of the first breweries in the world to install the Iso-Mix system including an external heat exchanger on four surplus 5,000 hl cold storage tanks converting them to fermentation vessels.

Faster fermentation and cooling plus energy savings

For Carlsberg, the introduction of the Iso-Mix rotary jet mixing technology has, depending on the type of beer being brewed, cut down the fermentation time to diacetyl acceptance by 1-2 days. In addition, the cooling process is now reduced from 24 to 36 hours to only 12 hours. Peter Rasmussen says that the Iso-Mix technology combined with the heat exchangers has led to “energy and time savings” and the fermentation is now “a more consistent process.”

Quality secured

“We have the capability to secure quality better than that of old fashioned beer making,” Peter Rasmussen adds. “Because the Iso-Mix system employs an external plate heat exchanger, we now have more precise control of the fermenting process, and the temperature can be more accurately controlled.” He also confirms that there is greater homogeneity in the suspension of yeast in the wort and that no additional stress on the yeast has been noted.

Less stabilizer

As an added benefit, Carlsberg has also demonstrated that the Iso-Mix system can be used to add stabilizing ingredients in the unitanks, thereby providing more contact time than if dosed before the filter. This has enabled Carlsberg to cut down on stabilizer usage.

Flexibility and ease of installation

Furthermore, the system has given Carlsberg some extra flexibility by allowing the tanks to be used for production of small batches, something that was not possible previously.

Yeast Management

Royal Unibrew increases capacity through more efficient fermentation

Increasing capacity was the driving factor behind the decision for Danish brewing company, Royal Unibrew, to invest in Alfa Laval’s Iso-Mix rotary mixing technology. Following a series of trials, the brewery installed the Iso-Mix system in six of its 5,000 hectolitre fermentation vessels at its Faxe plant, making it one of the first companies to adopt the technology for beer fermentation.

The Faxe plant has noted dramatic time savings in the fermentation process thanks to the Iso-Mix technology – up to 40% for the stronger beer types.

Jens Erik Klemmensen, Brewery Manager at Faxe, notes that this faster fermentation has been accompanied by improved quality, “thanks to the consistent fermentation each and every time.” In conventional fermentation tanks, there is no forced mixing of the wort and yeast. But as tanks have grown in size and capacity this means that yeast contact with the fermentable sugars is reduced and fermentation is less efficient.

Where the traditional process often led to very long process times in excess of 20 days, the introduction of the Iso-Mix system led to a much more consistent process time. Thus, the variation in process time measured by the standard deviation was reduced from 9.1 to 1.6 days. The Brewery Manager adds that shorter, more consistent fermentation makes it much easier to follow the plans in the bottling section and to predict what to brew.

According to Jens Erik Klemmensen the brewery has seen higher yeast viabilities of the yeast crop than was previously the case.

Improved yeast management

Since these Iso-Mix systems were installed in 2008, the Faxe plant has extended their application to eight yeast storage tanks.

Jens Erik Klemmensen emphasizes that, “it is crucial that we get homogeneous yeast slurry to be sure to dose the correct amount of yeast.” Using the Iso-Mix system, that is exactly what the brewery gets, along with improved microbiological quality in the yeast storage tanks.

The company also appreciates the fact that one and the same system combines fermentation or yeast storage with efficient and cost-effective CIP tank cleaning.

Mixed-up beer at Carlsberg, UK

Since the Carlsberg Northampton brewery installed the Iso-Mix rotary jet mixing system in fermentation tanks, its beer-making capability has increased by 44 percent or 13 billion cans of beer. They have also recorded a 4% improvement in yeast viability.

As part of a major multimillion-pound plan to upgrade its plant at Northampton in the UK to meet higher production targets, brewer Carlsberg opted to look at innovative ways to improve its beer making process. Its choice of the novel Alfa Laval Isos-Mix mixing technology has had a significant impact on production.

“Iso-mix has enabled us to introduce a novel downstream process that, in some cases, has halved our fermenting time. This process is the first of its kind in the brewing world,” says Technical Operations Manager at the Carlsberg Northampton plant Thomas Paludan-Müller.

After rigorous testing Carlsberg took a bold decision: It would not only install the Iso-mix equipment in its larger-capacity fermentation tanks but also in 10 storage tanks – each with a 6,000-hectolitre capacity. The tanks were converted for fermentation by installing additional cooling using a heat exchanger in the tanks’ circulation loop to ensure that the correct process temperature of 14 degrees Celsius was maintained in the tank. To meet the temperature requirements needed for fermentation, an external chiller was attached within the pumping circulation system. This also supports the rotary jet mixing system.

Improved fermentation

“The fermentations now are more consistent, which means that we can predict with greater accuracy when beer is ready to move to filtration, which is important for planning,” says Paludan-Müller. “It also allows us to determine when we want to crop, i.e. harvest, the yeast, as we will turn off the Iso-mix and the yeast will settle. This gives us better viabilities, as the yeast does not sit in the cone of the fermentation vessel warming up and being compressed.

“Overall this means that the fermentation process is faster, the quality, stability and fermentation capabilities of the yeast during fermentation are maintained, and the final consistency and taste of the beer is not adversely affected by the introduction of the mixing technology,” says Paludan-Müller.

Simplicity and ease of installation

Another feature of the technology, he says, is its relative simplicity and ease of installation. This is coupled with the fact that it has enabled savings of several million pounds in capital expenditure. Paludan-Müller says that having the rotary jet mixer installations in former storage tanks has made a contribution to increasing output capacity without the need for significant capital investment in new fermentation tanks.

“Over the past 18 months to two years, we have increased our beer-making capability from 4.5 million to 6.5 million hectolitres,” explains Paludan-Müller. That 44 percent rise is equivalent to 13 billion cans of beer, and the changes to production have been achieved while continuing to make beer without interruption.

At the Carlsberg Northampton plant, 27 tanks of various types and sizes, from 2,400 to 6,000 hectolitres in capacity, have now been fitted, and there remains the potential to convert other tanks if required. The brewery has also removed 57 smaller-capacity fermentation tanks that are now surplus to requirements, due to the capacity increase provided by this new technology.


Alfa Laval Unique Sampling Valves ensure hygienic quality of rennet sampling

To improve the quality of its enzyme production and

eliminate contamination issues associated with plant

sampling valves, world-leading natural food ingredients

company Chr. Hansen replaced existing sampling valves

on two of its liquid rennet storage tanks with Alfa Laval

Unique Sampling Valves.

Designed for demanding hygienic applications, the Alfa Laval Unique Sampling Valves enabled the Chr. Hansen quality control team to collect consistent and representative samples from the weekly production batches, ensuring product compliance and total peace of mind.

High quality product extraction
Chr. Hansen produces high quality rennet, a natural complex of enzymes used for the production of cheese and dairy products. Rennet quality has a direct influence on the cost, quality and yield of the final product. To ensure the high quality of its rennet, Chr. Hansen collects weekly samples from its storage tanks. When contamination appeared in samples from two tanks, the plant maintenance manager undertook extensive investigations to determine the root cause of the problem. To identify the source of contamination, Torben Jørgensen, maintenance manager at the Chr. Hansen’s rennet production facility in Graasten, Denmark, systematically inspected all components in the production line and determined the existing sampling valves to be among the potential sources. According to Jørgensen, identifying the source of contamination can be expensive. Costs to conduct a thorough investigation, including examining the storage tank for any evidence of stress cracks and evaluating agitator function, can add up to EUR 10,000. The laboratory must also test additional samples, and the storage tank then must be sterilized and refilled. “Because the availability of quality rennet is critical to our customers, remedying the problem was a top priority,” says Jørgensen. “After discussing the situation with our Alfa Laval represen-tative, we decided to conduct a test using single-seat Alfa Laval Unique Sampling Valves mounted onto the sides of the two rennet storage tanks. This immediately solved the problem.”

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