Hygienic screw conveyance for production of Cheddar cheese

Van Beek has delivered a screw conveyor with an extremely high hygienic finish level to Tetra Pak Tebel B.V. from Heerenveen. This trough conveyor is used in the production of Cheddar cheese in Northern Ireland.

Cheddar cheese is a yellow to orange, rather sharp tasting cheese made from cow’s milk that was originally made by traditional methods in the English village of Cheddar. Nowadays this cheese is also made by machine, among other places in Northern Ireland, using the Tetra Tebel Alfomatic. This machine combination for making Cheddar cheese was developed and delivered by Tetra Pak Tebel B.V. from Heerenveen, the knowledge centre for development, engineering and installation of automated systems and components for cheese production.

The Van Beek screw conveyor is used as a component of the Tetra Tebel Alfomatic machine for transporting salted curds. For the production of Cheddar cheese pasteurised milk is heated to 30°C and inoculated with a lactic acid bacteria. Rennet is then added, which causes the solid parts (curds) to clump together. As much liquid as possible is removed by cutting and heating the curds. This liquid (whey) is drained off. Then these curds must reach the right pH value and salt is added. The Tetra Tebel Alfomatic machine carries out this operation.

The Van Beek stainless steel booster conveyor transports the salted curds with a capacity of 8500 kilogram per hour. The advantage of a screw conveyor compared for example with a conveyor belt is that during transport (6.5 metre long) the curds are also mixed with the salt at the same time. The curds are treated further after the booster conveyor and formed into cheese blocks in a Tetra Tebel Block former by means of gravity and a vacuum. The blocks are of the same size and weight (20 kg) and are vacuum packed immediately they leave the machine. After this the cheese matures for a period varying from 4 to 14 months.

The complete design and very high finish level of this screw conveyor is according to the Van Beek Hypreme concept. This concept has been developed for applications that require a very high finish level. By grinding the stainless steel plate work and the welds very finely (to Ra< 0.8) and then also water jetting it is given a very smooth surface which reduces the chance of micro-bacterial growth.

Furthermore the conveyor is easy to deep clean in place (CIP) because of a unique labyrinth seal construction between the cover and the screw housing. During deep CIP cleaning the water remains in the housing, avoiding the use of traditional gaskets that increase the chance of bacterial growth. The critical product zones are readily accessible for inspection. You can find more information about the Hypreme concept on www.hypreme.com

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