Retrofitting with Alfa Laval Sani SB tank cleaning machines boost dairy productivity

Farmer-owned dairy cooperative Arla set out to upgrade previous versions of rotating spray balls, which were put into service in 1986 when its plant in Jönköping, Sweden, began operations. Years later, after learning about the possibility to retrofit the plant with more efficient hygienic Alfa Laval Sani SB rotary spray head machines, Arla decided to run a trial using one tank. The savings in time and money were so compelling – 80% less time spent on inspection and a 95% savings in maintenance and spare parts. Today all the tanks have been retrofitted, which translates into exceptional cleanability, high reliability, greater overall output and reduced operating costs for the dairy.

DATE 2023-11-28
Arla Jonkoping 640x360

At the Arla Jönköping Dairy, replacing the existing rotating spray balls with modern Alfa Laval Sani SB rotary spray head tank cleaning machines enhanced cleaning efficiency and boosted productivity.

The dairy in Jönköping, Sweden, is part of Arla Foods with its global dairy company and cooperative owned by Danish, Swedish, and German dairy farmers. It produces about 260 million kilos of dairy products, such as standard and organic milk and cream as well as filmjölk, a traditional fermented milk product for the Nordic countries. The dairy has 66 tanks – from raw milk receiving tanks, which are cleaned twice a day, to silo tanks, pasteurization tanks, and products tanks, which are cleaned once a day.

Pelle Karlsson, Technical Account Manager, Tetra Pak, introduced the idea of retrofitting the plant to modernize its tank cleaning equipment, improve cleaning efficiency and to contribute to Arla’s sustainability profile. The advantages were clear. Replacing the existing rotating spray balls with modern Alfa Laval SaniMidget SB and SaniMagnum SB rotary spray head tank cleaning machines eliminated uncertainty about the cleaning efficiency. The Alfa Laval Sani SB range not only meets the hygienic requirements for dairy installations, but also has more efficient cleaning performance. This is because the rotary jet head rotates in a more advanced pattern than standard rotary spray heads and previous versions of rotating spray balls.

Payback in less than two years

Retrofitting the tanks with Alfa Laval SaniMidget SB and SaniMagnum SB tank cleaning machines was cost effective. The new machines fit through existing tank inlets, making retrofitting easy. With Alfa Laval’s patented one-clip assembly, the previous versions of rotating spray balls were unclipped and replaced with a new clip-on rotary spray head. Unlike the spray balls, the new Alfa Laval rotary spray heads show virtually no sign of wear after three years of operation. What’s more, the gains in productivity and savings in maintenance and spare parts means that Arla’s investment in the new Alfa Laval rotary spray head devices paid for itself in less than two years.

Retrofit cuts inspection time and maintenance costs

While the inspection interval for the tank cleaning devices remains the same, the time required to conduct the inspection was slashed by 80%, from 30 minutes to just five. According to Roslund, this is a huge time-savings for dairy maintenance people since only a visible inspection is required.

If a more thorough inspection is needed, the machines can easily be dismantled. What’s more, retrofitting the plant with Alfa Laval SB tank cleaning machines also eliminated virtually all costs for spare parts and man-hours required for maintenance.

 Better, more cost-effective cleaning

The Alfa Laval SaniMidget SB and SaniMagnum SB provide better, more hygienic tank cleaning than previous versions of rotating spray balls. Unlike the previous versions of rotating spray balls, the SB rotary spray heads have no ball bearings and consist of only four components: a stator, a connector, a rotor and a clip.

Moreover, the cleaning pattern of Alfa Laval Sani SB family is much more advanced than previous versions of rotating spray balls, ensuring higher cleaning efficiency. The flow of cleaning media produces a swirling pattern that cascades down and covers all internal surfaces of the tank. This has higher heat and mass transfer coefficients than the falling film produced by the traditional spray balls, ensuring the removal of stubborn tank residues.

Plus with self-cleaning, self-draining capabilities, no particles remain in the spray head after Cleaning-in-Place (CIP). This essentially guarantees compliance with the highest of safety standards for dairy production. After CIP, Arla is assured that the tank is 100% clean and ready for to produce the next batch.

The Alfa Laval SaniMidget SB and SaniMagnum SB machines are reliable, so we are sure that we have a clean tank after Cleaning-in-Place. At the same time our maintenance people are very happy. Previously, they spent many hours on maintenance. Now they only spend a short time for inspection as there is very little wear on the machines.

Gert Roslund, Project Leader, Arla Foods Jönköping

The Alfa Laval Sani SB rotary spray head tank cleaning machines provide exceptional hygiene, better end-product quality, greater overall output and easy, cost-effective maintenance.

Second-to-none: Reliable, repeatable performance

"SaniMidget SB and SaniMagnum SB are now the standard cleaning equipment for Arla in Jönköping," says Tetra Pak’s Karlsson. "When ordering new tanks, the tank builder gets specifications to deliver the tank with installed SaniMidget SB and SaniMagnum SB." Karlsson also sees opportunities for continuous plant improvement in the future. With the stable operation of the rotary spray head machines, he believes that further optimization of the operating parameters – time, temperature and water consumption  – can be achieved, providing even greater savings.