Whey protein processing facility

Arla Foods Ingredients, an independent subsidiary of Danish-Swedish cooperative Arla Foods, has completed the expansion of its whey processing facility in Denmark. The expanded facility was inaugurated in February 2013.

The expansion has nearly doubled Arla Foods Ingredients’ whey processing capacity in Denmark. It required an investment of more than €57m ($76.1m). The whey processing plant is now the biggest of its kind in Europe.

Arla Foods Ingredients mooted the processing plant expansion plan in early 2011 to improve its supplies of speciality whey proteins into the international market. The expansion plan was pursued as part of Arla Foods’ 2015 strategy, which envisages doubling the turnover of its whey business in the context of growing market demand.

Arla Foods Ingredients’ whey processing plant expansion in Denmark received a further boost after Arla Foods created a new joint venture with Geman diary company DMK in 2011 to source additional raw whey for the Vium plant.

Whey processing plant construction and design

"The expansion has nearly doubled Arla Foods Ingredients’ whey processing capacity in Denmark."

The expansion of Arla Foods Ingredients’ whey processing plant near Vium in Denmark broke ground in 2011. The project involved the construction of an additional spray-drying tower, associated processing lines and a new filtration plant. Ingredient production at the existing plant was, however, not influenced by the construction activities during the expansion.

The expansion of the processing plant has been designed to thoroughly enhance the plant’s production capacity of functional milk proteins and the high-value nutritional ingredients, such as alpha-lactalbumin and caseinoglycomacropeptide (CGMP).

The new plant is installed with an extra spray-drying facility, new filtration equipment and a dedicated processing line for the production of caseinoglycomacropeptide (CGMP). The first dry run for the expanded plant was carried out in July 2012. The new filtration equipment was installed in August 2012.

The complete testing for expanded production of key nutritional products was carried out by the end of 2012.

The cooling and water treatment facilities of the plant have also been improved as part of the expansion project to reduce the environmental footprint of the plant.

Capacity of Arla Foods Ingredients’ facility

The expansion has significantly increased the annual capacity of the plant to process as much as 4.5 billion kilos of whey, up from the previous capacity of 2.5 billion kilos. The new processing capabilities expand the production of key products in Arla Foods Ingredients’ nutritional portfolio.

The alpha-lactalbumin production capacity at the plant has been doubled, whereas the processing capacity for Lacprodan® CGMP-20 has been increased by ten times.

The plant has achieved a higher stage of automation. It now has the capacity to treat as much as 380t of milk per week.

Increased raw whey protein requirements

The expanded whey processing plant initially requires 25% more raw whey protein than earlier.

"The expansion of Arla Foods Ingredients’ whey processing plant near Vium in Denmark broke ground in 2011."

The additional raw whey will be sourced from the DMK and Arla Foods Ingredients joint venture (JV) processing facility, located at DMK’s cheese plant at Nordhackstedt in northern Germany. The JV built the north German facility with an investment of €35m ($46.7m).

As per the agreement, the JV will buy 700,000t of whey annually from DMK. The whey will be converted to whey protein concentrate and lactose in the joint venture’s processing plant at Germany. The obtained whey protein concentrate will finally be dried at Arla Foods Ingredients’ whey processing plant at Denmark. The expanded processing plant will also source more whey from Arla Foods’ cheese diaries.

Danish plant products and future expansions

Several new products are now in pilot production at the pilot processing plant located within the expanded facility in Denmark.

Most notable among the products is Lacprodan® CGMP-20, which is in successful pilot production currently. Lacprodan® CGMP-20 is a bioactive whey peptide which is recommended for the diets of people suffering from a rare genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU).

Arla Foods Ingredients is planning to construct a new lactose plant with an investment of €120m ($160.2m). The construction of the project is scheduled to start in late 2013. The company also plans to build a biogas plant that will supply power to the whey processing lines.

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