Posted on: October 19th, 2023 by Apex Team

Cheese, a beloved dairy product enjoyed worldwide, goes through a complex manufacturing process that requires precise temperature control. Heat exchangers play a vital role in this process, facilitating the efficient transfer of heat to pasteurize milk and accelerate curd formation. However, an insidious issue can plague these essential components – scale build-up. In this article, we will delve into the challenges posed by scale build-up in heat exchangers used in cheese manufacturing and explore solutions to mitigate this problem.

The Cheese-Making Heat Exchanger

Heat exchangers are indispensable devices in cheese manufacturing. They are responsible for heating milk to the appropriate temperature and maintaining it throughout the process. By passing hot water or steam through a network of tubes, the heat exchanger efficiently raises the milk’s temperature, ultimately ensuring the safety and quality of the cheese product.

The Scale Build-Up Challenge

Scale build-up is a common problem faced by industries that rely on heat exchangers, including the cheese manufacturing sector. Scale refers to mineral deposits, primarily calcium and magnesium, that accumulate on the heat exchanger’s surfaces. These deposits can form for several reasons:

  1. Hard Water: Many regions have hard water, which contains high levels of minerals. When hard water comes into contact with the heat exchanger’s hot surfaces, it can lead to the precipitation of minerals and the formation of scale.
  2. High Temperatures: The cheese-making process often involves high temperatures. As the hot milk passes through the heat exchanger, any minerals present in the milk can precipitate and contribute to scale formation.

Impact of Scale Build-Up

Scale build-up in heat exchangers can have detrimental effects on cheese manufacturing:

  1. Reduced Heat Transfer Efficiency: The scale acts as an insulating layer on the heat exchanger’s surfaces, reducing the rate of heat transfer. As a result, more energy is required to achieve the desired temperature, increasing operational costs.
  2. Decreased Equipment Lifespan: Scale build-up can lead to corrosion and pitting of the heat exchanger’s surfaces. Over time, this can significantly reduce the equipment’s lifespan and necessitate costly repairs or replacements.
  3. Food Safety Concerns: In cheese manufacturing, ensuring the pasteurization of milk is critical to prevent microbial contamination. Scale build-up can hinder the uniform heating of milk, potentially compromising food safety standards.

Dissolving Scale in Cheese Manufacturing Heat Exchangers Using RYDLYME Descaler

  1. Isolate and drain the water side of the exchanger to be cleaned.
  2. Place a 1” ball valve between the isolation valves and the heat exchanger on both the supply and return.
  3. Attach the RYDLYME pump and hoses so the RYDLYME will be pumped in the bottom or supply, and back out the top or return.
  4. Begin pumping all the required RYDLYME into the exchanger. Once that is accomplished, begin to add water to complete the circulation. Please note: The calcium deposit will take up volume within the heat exchanger, so you will not be able to add the same amount of water in the beginning.
  5. Continue circulating the solution for the recommended amount of time. As the circulation progresses and the product dissolves the deposits inside the unit, the volume will increase. To account for the increase in volume, please add water to the circulation vessel, as needed. If you begin adding a lot of water, please be aware, it is possible there is a leak in the system.
  6. It is a good idea to periodically check the effectiveness of the solution while circulation is in progress. This can be accomplished by utilizing a pH meter and as long as the solution retains a low pH, the product is active. Should the circulating solution reach a pH of 5.5 to 7.0 before the recommended time is up, you will need to add more RYDLYME and possibly extend the circulation time..
  7. Upon completion of the recommended circulation time, the solution may be purged to a normal sewer and flushed with water. This process is completed by placing the return hose in the drain and adding water to the circulation container until the discharge line runs clear.
  8. The unit is ready to be returned to service.
  9. The same instructions may be used for plate and frame-type heat exchangers. For volumes, please follow the noted formula.

Please note: If your situation dictates that you cannot take your heat exchanger off-line, please contact the manufacturer for online cleaning instructions.

For more detailed instructions, call Apex Engineering Products today for a free quote at 630-820-8888 or download our heat exchanger cleaning brochure here!

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