The Arla Foods milk factory in Vimmerby
The Arla Foods milk factory in Vimmerby

With decades of experience in all disciplines in the process, GEA Process Engineering is recognized as a world leader of complete milk powder factories.  

The spray dryer is the key in any milk powder plant, and milk powders produced on GEA Niro spray dryers are used as a benchmark by everyone in the dairy market - end users, producers and traders. 


Producing milk powder - the process

Milk reception
Milk reception
Milk reception, pre-treatment and storage:
Here, the milk is received, cooled and stored before pasteurization and standardization. It is now ready for further processing.

  • Evaporation:
    90% of the water in the milk is evaporated here under gentle conditions at low temperatures and under vacuum. Since removing water in an evaporator only costs 10% of the energy it costs to remove it in a spray dryer, it is desirable to remove as much water as possible here. 48-50% total solids in the concentrate is generally accepted as the goal in the industry. If you are aiming at a first-class end product, 20 hours uninterrupted run (without intermediate cleaning) is optimal. During the process, the evaporated water from the milk is condensed and leaves the evaporator as water at 50-60oC. This water can be used to preheat the drying air for the spray dryer, and energy is saved. If the water then passes through a membrane filtration plant to “polish” it, it can also be used as potable water. 

  • Spray drying:
    A range of different types of GEA Niro spray dryers ensure that the clients specifications can be met. 

    • Conventional spray dryer SD:
      An conventional type spray dryer that can be delivered with a pneumatic conveying system or a VIBRO-FLUIDIZER™ as an after-dryer.

    • GEA Niro MSD™ Multi-Stage Spray Dryer
      GEA Niro MSD™ Multi-Stage Spray Dryer
      Multi-Stage Dryer MSD™:
      A spray dryer with great flexibility and a good drying economy. It is equipped with an integrated back-mix fluid bed and a VIBRO-FLUIDIZER™. Used for agglomerated instant products.

      A conventional type spray dryer with a ring-formed integrated fluid bed and a VIBRO FLUIDIZERTM for after drying. Used for agglomerated and regular non-agglomerated products. 

    • Integrated Filter Dryer IFD™:
      Combines all the features from the MSD and Compact spray dryers in one vessel and has quick CIP turn-around time.

      Used for whole milk powder, especially if you want to add sucrose to the concentrate before spray drying.

  • Powder handling and storage of powder:
    When the powder leaves the spray dryer, it is, by means of air, conveyed to powder silos before final packing, either in cans or 25 kg bags

  • Bagging-off equipment:
    A fully automatic bagging-off line for 25 kg bags is typically part of a complete process line for milk powder. Our AVAPAC equipment is well known for its accuracy and with capacities up to 18 tons/h and with little or no man power needed.

Turn-key supply

Utility piping, electrical installation, erection and commissioning is a fundamental part of any turn-key supply from GEA Process Engineering as well as our skilled Project Management. Last but not least, our skilled Product and Process Specialists will participate during the final fine-tuning of the plant and training of the plant operators.