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Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd.
CFD Application for Dairy Products:
Scientific Exploration for Great Tastes

Morinaga Milk Industry develops and manufactures dairy and non-dairy food products. Their broad product range includes milk, cheese, dairy beverages, yogurt, ice cream, infant formula, and much more. They also produce functional ingredients such as Lactoferrin and Bidobacterium longum. The corporate motto is to serve as “your partner for great taste.” To fulfill their commitment, Morinaga Milk has pursued technological advancement to help them produce high-quality, healthy, and reliable products.

Image: Morinaga Milk products

To boost production efficiency and ensure food hygiene, Morinaga Milk conducts their own equipment and facility research and development. The Engineering Research Laboratory is one of the Morinaga Milk research institutes and is responsible for equipment design and development.

Development of new products often requires new equipment. The equipment is designed and manufactured by Morinaga Milk, although sometimes in collaboration with affiliated institutes. After the new equipment is thoroughly inspected, it is incorporated into production. Morinaga Milk conducts a wide range of research, such as food engineering, manufacturing process technology, and production technology. The outcome of their research has included new equipment such as manufactured aseptic valves, automatic inspection equipment and much more. One of their products, Purestar, which produces slightly acidic electrolyzed water, is highly recognized in the industry. It uses the characteristics of low-concentration chlorine water to improve the manufacturing process. The device won the Technology Award of the Japan Society for Food Engineering Awards.

Tetsuo Miyamoto, Dr. Eng., Senior Research Scientist, Engineering Research Laboratory

Hygiene and sterilization are critical factors that determine the quality of food production. Different measures of hygiene and condition grades are used for each product. For one product, hygiene might be promoted by refrigerating the item for two weeks; another product may require preservation at room temperature for three months.

Production process knowledge also varies depending on the types of products. For example, a certain drying technique is needed for powder food product manufacturing. Yogurt production requires fermentation skills. Ice cream production involves freezing techniques. Developments of equipment for these processes can involve analyses using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Mr. Tetsuo Miyamoto, Senior Research Scientist of the Engineering Research Laboratory at Morinaga Milk, reveals that the company has switched to CFD oriented development in recent years compared to the knowledge-based, staff-dependent practices and textbook approaches used previously.

Applying CFD for High Quality Cream Products

Morinaga Milk has been using SC/Tetra since 2008. Mr. Miyamoto started using it since 2010. This began when their engineers recognized the potential of using computational analysis to help improve product quality. Until then, equipment upgrades were based on accumulated experience, knowledge, and experimental results. To further enhance equipment performance, the company decided to start using mathematical evaluations to help them to identify more efficient production methods. Their first application was performance validation of the cooling storage tank for fresh cream.

​Cream is an oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion consisting of dairy fat extracted from whole milk by centrifugal separation. When mixed with sugar and flavorings, it forms whipped cream that is used for pastries and cakes. Applying more stress to the whipped cream leads to a phase transition, which transforms it into a water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion more commonly known as butter. Because of this unstable characteristic, it is crucial to minimize stresses in cream production.

This is especially important in the cream's final cooling storage process, which determines the quality of the cream. The ‘aging’ process for cream is designed to encourage recrystallization of fat globules and to stabilize the fat globule membrane. The increased viscosity of fat globules, due to agglomeration, leads to deterioration of cream quality. Milk fat globules tend to agglomerate more when stirred longer, when greater force is applied, or when preserved at higher temperature (5 to 15ºC). To produce high quality cream, the production facility must maintain a uniformly cold tank which generates instant cooling effects, and minimizes stresses to the cream.

Figure 1: Schematic diagram of experimental equipment (Impeller 1).
Click to enlarge.

Revalidation of the Stirring Tank using Experimental and CFD Results

As illustrated in Figure 1, a cooling jacket is wrapped around the cone-shaped experimental tank with anchor impeller. The baffle plates are not attached. Morinaga Milk production lines had used the same impeller geometry for many years. This geometry had been thought to minimize stresses to the cream and was also easy to clean. The impeller geometry and operational conditions had not been revalidated until now. The challenge when making cream is to achieve fast cool-down and gentle stirring. To eliminate the stresses to the cream and maintain the homogeneity of the tank environment, Morinaga Milk decided to re-evaluate the impeller geometry.

Morinaga Milk engineers first produced a one tenth scale experimental model of the existing 5m3 tank. Having conducted a number of tests to improve the impeller and determine the rotating direction, they used SC/Tetra to analyze the experimental model. The computer model contained 5.5 million mesh elements. Steady-state analyses were used to calculate the flow, and transient analyses were used to calculate the temperature.

​​*All product and service names mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.
*Contents and specifications of products are as of November 31, 2014 and subject to change without notice. We shall not be held liable for any errors in figures and pictures, or any typographical errors in this brochure.

Company Details




 

Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd.
Founded 1917 (as Nippon Rennyu Co., Ltd.)
Reorganized 1949 (as Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd.)
Businesses Production and sales of milk and other dairy and non-dairy food products
Representatives Akira Ohno, Chairman
Michio Miyahara, President
Location Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
(Head Office)
Capital Approx. 21 billion JPY
(as of March 31, 2014)
URL http://www.morinagamilk.co.jp/english/

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