Ultrasonic washing machine sets the hygiene standard on a cheese production line

Water jet washing machine updated to an ultrasonic washing machine

Cleanliness is an important part of quality cheese production. If the hygiene standards of the cheese production line are neglected, it shows very quickly in the quality of the cheese, and a continued trend of uncleanliness gives dangerous microbes opportunities to grow. In order to keep up sufficient cleanliness, the washing processes of the cheese production must be in order.

The Valio Äänekoski cheese dairy, which produces blue cheese, previously used a water jet washing machine to wash the cheese moulds. The machine was connected to a central washing unit that covered the entire system of production lines.

Because the washing solution used in the machine was circulated through the central unit, the dirt separated from the moulds soiled the washing solution for the entire production line system. This meant that the solution had to be changed all too often. Because the washing of the moulds also wasted a lot of heat, Valio started to look for a more functional method.

“We wanted to have a solution for washing the cheese moulds and salting boxes that would better suit our process”, says Jarmo Kelloniemi, a cheese expert from the Valio Äänekoski cheese dairy.

Valio’s new ultrasonic washer works separate from the washing central unit, which means that the dirt separated from the mould does not soil the washing solution throughout the entire system of production lines. The object to be washed is sunk into the ultrasonic washer’s basin where the ultrasonic elements separate the dirt from the object.

This way, the washing is performed more effectively, with less consumption of chemicals, and in a more environmentally friendly way.

A tailored solution requires working cooperation

According to Mr. Kelloniemi, Valio knew that integrating the new washer as a part of the production line called for special tailoring, and everything would not necessarily work out in the beginning as intended.

Because of this, they wanted the equipment supplier to be able to develop the washer in good cooperation even after delivery. This was known to be MKT’s strong suit.

“We had many offers on the table, but in the end the decision was made based especially on the cooperation aspect. And when we take into account the production, installation and other procedures, the comprehensive price-to-quality ratio offered by MKT was the best. In addition, we had seen a similar device manufactured by MKT and we knew that they could deliver us just the kind of washer that we needed”, says Mr. Kelloniemi.

With MKT’s ultrasonic washing machine, the washing is performed more effectively, with less consumption of chemicals, and in a more environmentally friendly way.

MKT looks at the production line as a whole

Valio’s new ultrasonic washer is located on the line at the intersection of the moulding and salting processes, which means that both the moulds and salting boxes are easy to wash. The solution saves both space and time. However, this was not as easy as it seems.

“It is clear when the same washer is used for washing two objects that are of different shapes and sizes, the right adjustments must always be tried for a while, which was the case even now. In the beginning, there were some challenges in cleaning the salting boxes, but together with MKT we found the right solutions and had the washing process running like we wanted. In addition, we had other challenges along the cheese production line that had nothing to do with MKT. Still they helped us to fix them at the same time.”

“I can recommend MKT’s ultrasonic washer for others too, and I think that in the future ultrasonic technology will have a bigger role in cheese dairies, especially for washing cheese moulds”, Mr. Kelloniemi says.