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Tag Archive: Dairy Processing Equipment

  1. How shell and tube heat exchangers benefit the agriculture industry

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    Agriculture is an ever-important industry in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this sector and others related to it contributed $835 billion to the nation’s economy in 2014. Farms alone contributed $177.2 billion.

    The U.S. is home to more than 300 million people, according to the Census Bureau. For the average household, 12.6 percent of their monthly budget is dedicated to food. But agriculture is more than just our nation’s produce, meat and dairy. Agriculture also lends a hand to adjacent industries like textiles, forestry, food services and drinking places, among many others. In 2014, the agriculture industry offered 17.3 million jobs, accounting for about 9.3 percent of all employment.

    Beneficial research and development

    Though this industry holds great importance to the nation, there are many obstacles it faces. Margaret M. Zeigler, the executive director of Global Harvest Initiative explained in an article for The Hill that there are numerous challenges to the industry, including:

    • Persistent drought in agriculture-focused states like California
    • Health- and nutrition-related issues
    • Diseases that can affect livestock, poultry and crops
    • Fewer people opting to study agricultural sciences
    “Shell and tube heat exchangers ensure agricultural products are safe.”

    However, she also pointed out increased research and development can lead to a more productive industry that is able to overcome these obstacles. Zeigler noted that it was research and development efforts that grew the agricultural industry’s productivity to the point it is now. From individual farmers seeking better ways to be more productive to large-scale efforts to find solutions that can accommodate a wide range of people in agriculture, research and development has been key in pushing the industry further and making it as productive as possible.

    Shell and tube heat exchangers are critical to the ways the agriculture industry ensures its many goods are produced safely and quickly. They are heavily relied upon in the dairy industry, as well as the food, beverage and biodiesel industries.

    Dairy, food and beverages

    Generally, milks, cheeses, yogurts and other dairy products need to be pasteurized before they are available for purchase.

    Raw milk has a reputation for spreading disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause an outbreak of disease than its pasteurized counterpart.

    Like dairy products, juices and ciders need to be pasteurized to ensure they are free of harmful bacteria and safe for consumption. Again, these foods are at risk of carrying bacteria that can lead to foodborne illness. To address this risk, the Food and Drug Administration published a rule in 2001 that required businesses to create and implement Juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point systems. These systems follow specific rules about how to pasteurize various types of juices and purees made from fruits and vegetables.

    Pasteurization, for any of these products, entails heating up the product to a high enough temperature that will kill off any harmful bacteria. For juices and purees, this temperature is between 160 and 180 degrees, depending on how long the pasteurization process lasts, according to Pennsylvania State University. The quicker the process, the higher the temperature needs to be. For instance, if a processor decides to heat the juice to 160 degrees, it would take at least six seconds for pasteurization, but only 0.3 seconds at 180 degrees.

    Dairy products take much longer to pasteurize. According to Milk Facts, a batch of milk is usually heated to 145 degrees for 30 minutes, though depending on the dairy product and the length of time of pasteurization, the temperature varies.


    Beyond producing food and beverages, the agriculture industry is also key in creating biofuels to use as alternative fuel options. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, biofuels are primarily made of either biodiesel or ethanol.

    “Shell and tube heat exchangers are used in the distillation of biofuels.”

    Ethanol is made in a fermentation process using starches and sugars. However, industry professionals are working to find ways to use cellulose and hemicellulose in its production. Most plant matter is made of these fibrous materials. Biodiesel is made of a combination of methanol and a fat, like cooking grease or vegetable oil. Biodiesel is sometimes used to reduce vehicle emissions.

    Shell and tube heat exchangers can be used in the distillation of these biofuels. According to Biodiesel Magazine, biofuels can be distilled to remove high sulfur content or to change the color of the product.

    Research and development brought the agriculture industry these advancements and will bring many more. For information about how a shell and tube heat exchanger can better your business, contact the experts at Enerquip today.

  2. Cheese industry still concerned with possible FDA rulings

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    Over the summer, the artisanal cheesemaking industry faced a serious issue from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that would ban century-old practices that age cheese on wooden boards and shelving
    Forbes reported.

    FDA reclaims previous statement

    The statement from the FDA caused a flurry of responses and written concerns from the cheese industry since it could severely alter many businesses that use the old method to age its products, the source stated. However, the cheesemaking altercation got the FDA to clarify that they were not banning wooden shelving for cheese aging.

    “The FDA does not have a new policy banning the use of wooden shelves in cheese-making, nor is there any FSMA requirement in effect that addresses this issue,” the report stated. “Moreover, the FDA has not taken any enforcement action based solely on the use of wooden shelves.”

    Gordon Edgar, an artisanal cheese expert, explained the early comment from FDA scared American cheesemakers, but luckily for this ruling, it gained enough attention to attract public awareness, Forbes reported.

    The worry was more so about the public health and the equipment used in the cheese making process. Equipment like stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers are preferred because they are easy to clean and are highly efficient at keeping cheese products safe.

    Keeping equipment clean

    The FDA explained its concerns about wooden materials and the ability to collect bacteria since the boards could not be properly cleaned or sanitized. Bacteria can colonize in wooden surfaces, but many cheesemakers will explain that the process has been followed for ages without causing serious bacteria outbreaks when done correctly.

    Necessary heat in production

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations explained in its energy requirements report for milk processing that in the production of cheese, yogurt and milk packaging, shell and tube heat exchangers are an integral requirement to stabilize different temperatures The FAO stated that heating temperatures can run at different degrees for condensed milk, cheese and yogurt.

    To comply with FDA guidelines, cheese producers need to ensure that their processing and ageing equipment is both sanitary and efficient. Sanitary stainless steel equipment provides assurance of both.

  3. Why heat is vital to the dairy pasteurization process

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    Pasteurization is a necessary part of handling most dairy products and processing facilities depend on the highest quality equipment to help eliminate harmful organisms. According to Cream of Creams, heat temperatures have to be applied to products just below the boiling point to get rid of certain bacteria and organisms. This also helps products keep their shape and taste.

    Each dairy product requires a different heating temperature when pasteurized by the shell and tube heat exchanger. Specific heating equipment provides different temperature variations, and it’s necessary to know what heat exchanger is needed for each dairy product.

    As for pasteurization, there are two main reasons behind the process, which include making products that can be consumed by humans and to increase the quality of milk products. Certain products can spoil easier than others and shelf life can be as limited as seven days.

    Critical heat treatment methods

    Heat treatment is needed for a dairy product before it reaches the final container to be shipped to consumers. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, heat treatment is needed for most products that are either refrigerated or frozen.

    While the heat treatment process reduces bacterial pathogens from the product, it also significantly limits the total spoilage bacteria that exist in pasteurized items, the source reported. Bacteria can continue to grow after the product has already been pasteurized to make the product edible. Mold and other bacteria will eventually grow on dairy products after their shelf life is over.

    Certain products are pasteurized and immediately filled in their packaging to reduce oxygen around the product until it is opened. This also helps reduce the amount of harmful bacteria entering the food product, the source reported.

    However, most pasteurization processes heat the product and then immediately cool it to a certain temperature. Michele Jay-Russell, a food safety specialist for the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security at University of California, Davis, explained that vat pasteurization heats milk to 63 Celsius for 30 minutes, but most pasteurization processes last around 15 seconds at 72 degrees Celsius, Food Safety News reported.

    Flash pasteurization or high-temperature short-time (HTST) is the quick process that many food processing facilities use. Jay-Russell added that certain products are not as prone to contamination, but dairy items can be a hotbed for bacteria growth.