Doing dairy well

A small, regional dairy food processor, recently topped the BRW Fast 100 list as the fastest growing business in Australia.

Longwarry Food Park, Victoria, which manufactures powdered milk that is mainly used for export, has recorded an amazing 423% average growth over the past three years.

Owned by Rakesh Aggarwal and wife Sunita, it is the only privately owned milk powder company in Australia, and this stunning result was achieved while delivering significant water and energy efficiencies.

Processing powdered milk is a water intensive process, and therefore, such high efficiency can make or break a company like this one.

Managing director, Rakesh Aggarwal said that “our focus on targeting water efficiencies helped increase our overall business growth.

“By reducing water evaporation times and recycling waste water, we were able to increase our production and still reduce water consumption.”

According to Dairy Australia, a milk powder plant typically uses 1.5 litres of water per litre of milk processed.

In Longwarry Food Park’s first year of operation (2005-06), the plant was already efficient by industry standards, using 1.27 litres of water to process one litre of milk.

Currently only 0.85 litres of water is being used, even though their milk intake has increased by 16 million litres per year.

During this amazing period of growth, water actually decreased by 724 thousand litres.

“While our milk intake continues to increase, we are soon expecting to use just 0.75 litres of water per litre of milk processed,” Rakesh Aggarwal said.

“Although this is nearly half the industry average, we hope to further reduce our water use ratio by implementing an innovative ozone based water treatment currently under trial which will enable greater reuse of water.

“This could see water consumption as low as 0.5 litres of water used per litre of milk produced.”

A water audit identified the potential water efficiencies to be realised by reducing the evaporator washer time, the highest single water user at the plant.

Traditionally, it takes four hours to clean an evaporator using a flow water rate equal to the milk flow rate.

Previously at Longwarry Food Park, the milk flow rate was 20,000 litres per hour, equating to 80,000 litres of water used per day.

With the help of a Business Water Grant from South East Water, the wash time was reduced to two hours, saving 20,000 litres of water per day, or six million litres per year.

— Farming UK

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