RO -- NF -- UF -- MF -- Filtration

RO – Reverse Osmosis is a high pressure-driven membrane filtration process used for dehydration of whey, UF permat & Condensate.

NF – Nanofiltration is a medium to high pressure-driven membrane filtration used when partial desalination of whey, UF permeate or retentate is required.

UF – Ultrafiltration is a medium pressure-driven membrane filtration process used for the concentration of milk protein in milk and whey or for protein standardization of milk intended for Cheese, Yoghurt etc.

MF – Microfiltration is a low pressure-driven membrane filtration process used for the reduction of bacteria in skim milk, whey, brine, defatting whey for whey protein, concentrate & protein fractionation.

Illustration from Alfa Laval Dairy Handbook
Illustration from Alfa Laval Dairy Handbook

In short, one can say it’s like making a filter coffee, the difference is that you can order the membranes (Filters) exactly to your needs.

  • RO Filtration will in principle only let water pass through the very dense membrane and are used for volume reduction of milk and whey, milk solids recovery & water reclamation.
  • NF Filtration is pretty close to RO filtration, but the membrane is slightly more open in the structure. In the Dairy Industry, Nano Filtration is mainly used for special applications, like Lactose-free milk or reducing the volume of whey.
  • UF Filtration using a membrane with a medium-open structure allowing most dissolved components to pass the membrane. In the Dairy Industry, Ultra Filtration is used for whey protein and/or milk protein concentration.
  • MF Filtration using a membrane with a fairly open membrane structure, allowing most dissolved components to pass while most non-dissolved components are rejected by the membrane. In the Dairy Industry, Micro Filtration is used for Bacteria and Spores reduction and fat reduction in milk and whey.
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