Good air for good milk: a project for Molkerei Berchtesgadener Land
Way up in the mountains, the air is the best and the cows are the happiest. You can taste it too in the many dairy products from Milchwerke Berchtesgadener Land. The production environment is of crucial importance so that our customers can enjoy excellent quality milk, yoghurt, quark, butter, whipped cream, crème fraîche and soured milk.
New production hall for the dairy
Milchwerke Berchtesgadener Land is a company that is organised as a cooperative. Values such as sustainability, fairness and responsibility towards animals, nature and consumers are regarded as firm commitments. The cooperative’s 1,800 farmers, together with the 500 employees, stand for these values.
Milchwerke Berchtesgadener Land is a creamery that invested in the future of production with almost 35 million euros for a new production facility and in sustainable reusable packaging. One of the main challenges was to expand the existing bottling area since it had reached its capacity in 2019. The decision to continue to offer milk and cream in glass bottles led to one of the most modern and resource-conserving returnable filling lines in the world being installed.
Challenging starting point
airinotec, as a solutions provider of industrial air-conditioning and process ventilation systems in the food industry, was commissioned with the installation of a customised ventilation concept for the new production area of Molkerei Berchtesgadener Land. airinotec was the logical choice because it had already provided climate control technology for production areas 2 and 3, for the high bay warehouse and for many other systems.
The current project includes the newly constructed production area 4 that seamlessly joins up with production area 1. It was necessary to install ventilation systems with duct systems, air inlets and outlets and automated technology, as well as the complete assembly and start-up for various areas such as bottling, the fermented milk section, the carton warehouse and palleting area, the adjoining visitor platform, meeting rooms and training rooms. This also includes the laboratory, the weighing room and culture preparation. Palleting and the carton warehouse also needed smoke extraction systems.
Quite a few specifications had to be considered to implement the project. Hygiene standards are especially high in businesses that are highly sensitive to bacteria, such as cheese factories, creameries and bottling businesses in the beverage industry. Germ-carrying air can very quickly contaminate food at businesses like these. Optimal indoor air quality must be guaranteed, especially for critical production processes. That is why ventilation systems play a fundamental role in guaranteeing controlled distribution of incoming air, ensuring targeted air exchange and creating optimal climate parameters as well as a clean, low-germ environment for production. It is also important to measure heat and humidity loads in a targeted way to minimise unwanted airflow effects.
An important characteristic of the new ventilation concept was implementing a layered ventilation system in the bottling area and the fermented milk section. The airinotec HygienicFlow air volume displacement outlet was also used. Air quality close to the quality of fresh air can be achieved by supplying cool, clean, low-speed air close to the floor. In comparison to mixed ventilation, layered ventilation uses less energy because it allows for a smaller air volume. Energy management is regulated by airinotec EnergyOpt technology that enables automatic volume stream adjustment as needed in the production areas.
Another important component of the ventilation concept was efficient heat recovery by a highly effective combined cycle system. Absolute separation of the air inlet and outlet flows makes it possible to safely avoid unwanted material transfer such as germs, moisture or odours.
A clean-room concept with hygienic ventilation technology was used for the jar-filling area. The jar line was separated into a grey area with lower hygienic quality requirements and a white area with high hygiene requirements. A defined pressure difference is maintained between the two areas and the environment, to ensure that no contaminated air from outside or from the grey area can flow into the white area. Special attention was also given to the duct work in the bottling area and the fermented milk section. In these areas, duct work with stainless steel material no. 1.4301 was used to guarantee simple, effective cleaning.
The challenge of bringing and installing all system parts during ongoing operations was successfully met. The ventilation equipment had to be moved by a truck-mounted crane to the mechanical floor 17 meters in the air without affecting ongoing production processes.
The job was completed on time in spite of the many limiting Covid measures, which affected access to the plant grounds and the supply of required parts. Even the last-minute change of ventilation technology and of the duct work in the filling area to glass bottles was able to be successfully planned and implemented.
After over one year of operation, the systems in production 4 are meeting all of the requirements that were made and are contributing to the fact that Molkerei Berchtesgadener Land can efficiently produce high-quality dairy products under optimal conditions. “After many years of collaboration with Milchwerke Berchtesgadener Land, everyone works well together. That is why we could handle the challenging tasks quickly”, says airinotec's sales & project manager Dieter Müller with satisfaction.
Since Milchwerke Berchtesgadener Land was a satisfied customer, the successfully completed project was followed up with a new project. The new project concerns the ventilation equipment for the connecting building where process and packaging machinery is being installed. It should meet the new EU requirements. From 2024 must also have cardboard bottles an attached cap by law. This subsequent project is already in the installation stage.
The collaboration between Milchwerke Berchtesgadener Land and airinotec shows that efficient ventilation equipment is very important for the quality and sustainability of production processes. By implementing the ventilation concept, the dairy's requirements could be met. The Upper Bavarian cooperative dairy can continue to produce high-quality dairy products while remaining true to its values.