Inside the Milk Powder Production Process

Below is a primer on the milk powder production process.

Evaporation and spray drying were developed long ago as methods to allow safer long-term storage of perishable food products such as milk, thereby enabling excesses in local or seasonal production to be traded. The same is now true not only for a wide range of dairy products and their derivatives, but also fruit powders, vegetable powders, nutritional formulas, other meat and meat-alternative proteins, as well as food flavors, colors, etc.

Do you have a surplus of your product where you would like to explore the benefits of the milk powder production process—creating a value-added powder that can have extended shelf life and thereby be sold in the global marketplace?

DID YOU KNOW? Marco Polo discovered Mongolian troops under Kublai Khan carried sun-dried skimmed milk in paste form.

First, the product needs to be a pumpable slurry. Starting with milk, whey or eggs as a liquid is a good example of a product that doesn’t need extra preparation prior to processing. Products like fruits need to be made into a slurry of pulp. Other products just need to be prepared into fluid stream as part of their preparation for evaporation and drying. A heat step is very common, both for energy efficiency of the process and to help destroy bacteria.

Next in the milk powder production process, the pre-heated product needs to be concentrated in an evaporator. For milk this is generally to 50% solids, and is based on a limit due to viscosity. But different products have different concentration limits in the evaporator. Some syrupy products can go to even higher solids content, while some protein based products might be limited to 10-15% solids. The higher the solids that can be achieved in the evaporator, the more energy efficient your system will be per pound of production.

In the most simple equipment configuration, this concentrated product then enters a spray dryer, in which the water evaporates almost completely in a process called atomization. A fluid bed may also be used to remove any remaining moisture from the product. Fluid beds can be employed for added energy efficiency or to more gently dry products that are heat sensitive.

Caloris often recommends the addition of a dryer feed conditioner in between the initial evaporator and the spray dryer. The CALORIS DFC® increases feed solids to the dryer and maintains solids at the desired maximum level for a full production day, helping to maximize the dryer’s production capacity.

Caloris will work with you to design the most energy-efficient system to meet your needs. We’ll take care to design equipment that will preserver the taste, color and nutritional quality of your desired product.

Call Caloris at 410-822-6900 or send email to to speak with one of our engineers today.


About Caloris

Caloris transforms process systems design for the better with unexpected, future-focused solutions that solve real operational problems. We engineer efficient, dependable and productive solutions that also improve environmental sustainability where practical. Designed with the end user in mind to drive plant productivity. Caloris offers evaporation, membrane filtration and spray drying process systems for food and dairy industries, as well as for water reuse and wastewater treatment applications. Both Caloris’ custom and pre-engineered packaged systems are designed to meet our customers’ specific concentration/purification needs utilizing the most cost effective and energy efficient technologies available. Whether concentrating dairy, food or juice products at a high-volume production facility, or processing industrial wastewaters to reduce transportation and treatment costs and recover re-usable water, Caloris provides a range of options and technologies.