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Dairy producers can now get their milk chilled at the procurement centres and prevent it from deterioration in quality and being spoilt due to increased bacterial counts.

Cloud-based dairy equipment maker Prompt Equipments Private Limited, based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, has developed an economical instant milk chilling unit—MilkoChill—that can be set up at the milk collection centres in the villages. Farmers can pour milk into the unit which instantly reduces the milk temperature from 35-degrees celsius to 7-degrees celsius.

Patented design

MilkoChill is a low-cost instant milk chiller that keeps milk fresh and extends its shelf-life.

Shridhar Mehta, Director, Prompt, told BusinessLine: “Indian dairy industry faces a big challenge of chilling milk at the place of procurement. A lot of investments have taken place in creating cold-chain infrastructure but milk chilling at the source was a challenge. We decided to bring about a solution to this with Milkochill product.”

This means retention of milk quality, higher shelf-life, and hence more income for dairy farmers. In order to develop the product, Prompt uses a patented thermodynamic design developed under a technology license from IIT-Bombay. The thermal storage mechanism stores energy whenever electricity is available and enables instant milk chilling even in the absence of power. This makes it suitable for rural areas, where power supply is often erratic.

The compressor’s heat is recovered through the heat recovery unit and it stores water at 55-60 degrees, which is used for cleaning-in-place (CIP) process for equipment. “Heat recovery unit is a big differentiator from bulk milk chilling units that are available,” said Mehta.

Economic impact

Milk being spoiled is a major concern as most of the milk procurement happens in rural areas. The temperature of milk at the time of milking is about 35 degrees. The milk is then collected at the procurement centre and transported to the nearby dairy or bulk milk chilling (BMC) centre in a span of a few hours. This is found to affect the milk quality due to bacterial growth under warmer conditions. “We wanted to have instant cooling after pouring the milk into the machine. The temperature is brought down to 7 degrees within 10 minutes so that the supply chain doesn’t get disturbed,” said Mehta

Priced at ₹3 lakh, the machine consumes about 12 units of power with a capacity to instantly chill 250 litres per hour and a daily capacity of 500 litres. “This is an economical way to cool the milk. When compared with BMCs, which cost around 22 paise/litre, milk chilling in this machine costs 14 paise per litre,” said Mehta.

The Hindu Business Line June 24th 2022 by Rutam Vora