By Del Williams, technical writer, ACME Engineering
Automated scraper strainers, which pre-filter aqueous products and ingredients and wastewater, protect fragile membrane systems from damage caused by large, suspended particles.
The use of membrane technology as a processing and separation method in the food industry is gaining wide application for demineralisation, desalination, stabilisation, separation, deacidification, purification, and reducing microbial load.
Perhaps the most obvious application for membrane filtration is reducing dissolved or suspended solids from process water or liquid ingredients. However, membrane filtration can be used to remove microorganisms to prolong shelf-life and provide a healthier option than utilising additives and preservatives.
Membrane separation can also be combined with cold pasteurisation and sterilisation techniques to create products and ingredients with favourable characteristics. Since membrane separation eliminates the need for heat temperature treatment of products, it can preserve the natural taste of food products and the nutritional value of heat-sensitive components. Less energy is also required.
Membrane processing plays a key role in wastewater treatment too. Wastewater derived from food production varies depending on the type of food. By implementing membranes, the separated substances and clean water are recoverable.
The challenge for food processing facilities is that membrane systems are delicate and can be easily damaged or subject to excessive maintenance due to large particulates in the water. A pre-filtration step eliminates this risk by removing oversized suspended solids to prevent damage, eliminate unnecessary maintenance, and reduce the cost of premature membrane replacement.
The full article is available in the latest edition of Food & Beverage Asia August/September 2022 issue. To continue reading, click here.