Are you optimizing existing processes, designing new production processes or looking for alternative applications for product waste streams? We can assist you with practical solutions, applying our extensive knowledge on process-product interactions. We offer an extensive food-grade pilot facility, covering upstream and downstream processing. Our available unit operations for downstream processing include heat treatment, membrane filtration, centrifugation, homogenization, evaporation and various drying methods, like spray drying and vacuum drum drying. Additionally, we have variously sized equipment, meaning we can perform downstream processing on 100-10.000 L/h scale. For specific processes we can also incorporate rental equipment.

inside food-grade pilot plan

Upstream processes 

No process can run without its main products and ingredients. Besides multiple mixing and blending methods for ready to process products, NIZO also has the capability to perform more extensive upstream processes. We have multiple sized reaction vessels for chemical or enzymatic reactions. Fermentation is also possible at scales of 1 to 4000 Litre. Finally, we have an entire cheese production line, including brining vessels and ripening chambers. 

Heat treatment

To ensure a safe product with adequate shelf-life, heat treatment is the most reliable and most validated method. Optimally, heat treatment in downstream processing minimizes the microbial risk while also ensuring a high product quality (e.g. minimizing protein denaturation). As such, we have experts on both microbial inactivation as on process-product interactions. 

For practical solutions, we have a large range of heat treatment equipment available, both on pilot scale from 100-10.000 L/h, and on lab scale from microliters to liters. Our practical solutions are supported by our extensive modelling experience and readily available in-house model libraries. 

Membrane concentration/separation

Membranes are the ideal unit operation for mild but efficient separation and concentration of your product. The main challenge is that specific membrane performance remains mostly unknown until it is actually tested with your product in practice. At NIZO, we offer a dedicated screening, using multiple membrane types and flow rates. By analyzing the permeate and retentate composition, this allows us to quickly assess the performance of several membranes for a specific product. Further fine-tuning experiments can be performed on our pilot scale polymeric and ceramic membrane installations. 

All resulting data can be implemented in our membrane modelling module, allowing for quick in-silico design and optimization of the final desired membrane unit. Naturally, we also use or membrane units as a concentration/separation step in-line with our other downstream processing units. For more course separation purposes we also have centrifugation units available. 

Spray drying and falling film evaporation

Spray drying is the workhorse of downstream processing for food powder production. It is also a challenging one involving a complex balance between production costs and product quality. Improvement can often be achieved in enhancement of drying capacity, minimization of fouling and reduction of downtime for cleaning. At NIZO we help you to get the most out of spay drying. Development, implementation, optimization and troubleshooting of powder processes and products is what we do. NIZO also has extensive laboratory and pilot scale facilities to validate drying processes and produce food-grade powders delivering capacity on demand. 

Food Processing

To supply or dryer with concentrated product we also have a falling film evaporator to our disposal. To cater to the varying needs of different customers, we are able to run our evaporator as a single stage or multistage and with mechanical or thermal vapor recompression (MVR/TVR). 

Contract Manufacturing for pilot plant trials

Be it from time constraints or simply a lack of production capacity in either volume or process specifications, NIZO’s pilot facility may offer a solution. With processing units for heat treatment, concentration and drying, with the added option of customizing with modular equipment, NIZO’s processing centre can mimic your existing our envisioned process to produce bulk commercial product or validation material for further testing. In terms of quality standards, we are ISO 22000 certified and also have Halal and Kosher certification for specialized products. 

Even after you finish your product and process design we can offer support in getting your product to market successfully. We are experienced in setting up clinical trials and sensory tests. Additionally, we have an in-house testing panel with specially selected and trained tasters. 

Your ingredients can be applied in products ranging from drinks, to cheese, soups, sauces, margarines ice-cream and more. As such, we can support you in all aspects of your product and process development trajectory. 

Any questions?

Ben van der Deen is happy to answer all your questions.

Meet Ben