Test smarter and discover the power of Soft Matter Analytics™ to improve cheese making process.
“We use CoaguSens every day in production to control the critical step of curd cutting. This precision equipment allowed us to optimize our recipes and to improve the solids retention rate. Our investment in CoaguSens has been largely paid back owing to its impact on our production.“
We designed CoaguSens™ Connect for industrial cheese production to master milk coagulation and curd cutting firmness. CoaguSens™ Connect is the first and unique instrument that measures and displays in real time and close to coagulation vats the evolution of the curd firmness during the enzymatic coagulation of milk. CoaguSens™ Connect is the industrial version of CoaguSens™ Flex.
CoaguSens™ Connect helps improving yield and cheese moisture by mastering coagulation. In cheese production, many factors influence the coagulation of milk: milk composition and origin, pH, temperature, heat treatment, rennet and culture activities, protein addition, seasonal variations, etc. Because these factors are changing by nature, they induce significant variations in terms of flocculation time, hardening speed and firmness of the forming curd. Maintaining a fixed cutting time to start draining serum out of the curd does not take the natural variability of coagulation into account. Practically, maintaining a fixed cutting time results in cutting the curd at changing and uncontrolled firmnesses; and consequently in increasing the variability of both yield and cheese moisture.
Existing on-line technologies, such as light and heat-based sensors, lack precision because they do not measure the actual firmness of the curd. They are also extremely sensitive to local variations in terms of ingredients inside the coagulation vats.
At-line and real-time monitoring of coagulation for cheese production
CoaguSens™ Connect tells you the exact firmness of the curd while it forms. By mastering milk coagulation, food technologists and cheesemakers can:
― Consistently deliver to customers quality products
― Improve production efficiency
― Anticipate and fix coagulation issues
― Accelerate training of junior operators
― Reduce variability from day-to-day operations
CoaguSens™ Connect runs close to coagulation vats. It can be operated manually or automatically through an advanced connectivity with production automates (PLC). CoaguSens™ Connect can communicate with PLC production data such as temperature in the vat, renneting time, batch number, vat number, recipe code, etc. It can also be set to automatically trigger the curd cutting step in routine production.
CoaguTouch™ is the software that operates CoaguSens™ Connect. This easy-to-use software grants production managers and operators all the functions they need to configure their production and monitor their coagulation:
― Easy procedure to set and run tests
― Real time display of curd firmness and speed of coagulation as a function of time
― Easy generation of reports and effective data visualization tools
― Advanced customization of: cheese recipes, cutting firmnesses, batches, vats, users, etc.
― Customized communication with PLC (optional)
― Password protected administrator account granted to the production manager
― Automatic building of a database that saves production data
CoaguSens™ Connect can be deployed in several ways, depending on the actual needs and priorities of the plant. For instance, a large size plant may routinely use CoaguSens™ Connect to verify that coagulation kinetics form a vat to another are within a precise range of variability in order to command the cutting at a precise time.
For mid-size production plants, a different deployment strategy can be the following:
Phase 1 – Learning
The objective of this first phase of deployment is to understand how variable the coagulation and cutting firmness are. Food technologists or cheesemakers operate their production as usual and proceed to curd cutting by following the standard methods of the plant. CoaguSens™ Connect is used in parallel to record coagulation kinetics and cutting firmnesses. After data collection over +/- 50 batches (vats), an analysis is performed to evaluate the variability of the cutting firmness and how it correlates to Retention Rates.
Phase 2 – Stabilizing
The objective of this second phase of deployment is to stabilize the cutting firmness. The average cutting firmness is calculated from the +/- 50 batches monitored in phase 1 and applied as the target cutting firmness for an additional 50 batches. This will dramatically stabilize the curd cutting step and impact the variability of Retention Rates as well as the cheese moisture. Now that variability of cutting firmness is significantly reduced, it is time to start optimizing the process.
Phase 3 – Optimizing
In this third and last phase, the cutting firmness is moved up and down as compared to the average firmness obtained in phase 1 while changes in Retention Rates and cheese moisture are recorded and analyzed. By doing so, you will determine for a given cheese recipe the suitable cutting firmness that gives the best retention rates and cheese moisture. With time and experience, CoaguSens™ Connect becomes your compass to adjust coagulation and cutting firmness when recipes and ingredients change.
In a North American cheddar production plant, CoaguSens™ Connect was deployed to optimize yield through a better control of the cutting firmness and to maintain the optimized yield by routinely monitoring production on a daily basis. CoaguSens™ Connect was used to measure and record the coagulation of 37 different vats of milk. Solids Retention Rate (SRR) was used as a performance indicator to describe the efficiency of the production process. Contrary to yield, SRR is not influenced by cheese moisture and all the process that follows coagulation. Solids Retention Rate (SRR) was calculated from milk solids content and whey solids content, both measured with a Near Infra-Red (NIR) milk analyzer, as follows: Solids Retention Rate (in %) = (Solids weight in milk – Solids weight in whey)/Solids weight in Milk A high SRR means that the curd is retaining a high amount of solids (fat matter, proteins, etc.) while a low SRR means that the curd has lost more solids after cutting (which are found in whey). Cheesemakers used CoaguSens™ Connect to adjust the cutting firmness. Before optimization, they used to cut the curd at a firmness of 235 Pa and to obtain an average Solids Retention Rate (SRR) of 60%. After collecting and analyzing data using correlation approach, they changed the cutting firmness to 170 Pa. As a consequence, the Solids Retention Rate (SRR) increased to 63.3% and the resulting overall yield improved from 14.6% to 15.4%. Every vat of 15,875 kg (35,000 Lbs) of milk delivered on average 2,324 kg (5,124 Lbs) of cheese at 60% Solids Retention Rate and 2452 kg (5,407 Lbs) of cheese at 63.3% Solids Retention Rate. By optimizing the cutting firmness, that plant was able to get out of the vat 128 kg (282 Lbs) more cheese at every single production batch. Rather than relying on costly processes to recover low value ingredients from whey, profitability was increased by using CoaguSens™ Connect to help convert additional milk solids directly into cheese.
Modern dairies deserve great features
The CoaguSens Flex comes with an easy to use tablet App that communicates remotely with the instrument. It includes programmable thermal ramps, customizable databases and much more.
CoaguSens Flex integrates a unique and patented technology that uses vibrations to gently interrogate the milk sample and get its firmness.