Case Study

Dairy Producer Improves Separator Process Yield and Consistency With Controls Upgrade


A major provider and producer of dairy products wanted to reactivate an idle 20+ year old Separator at one of their plants. Our client also wanted to repeat the successes it experienced at their other plants with Malisko providing process improvements by way of control system upgrades. Malisko was tasked to provide the client with a contemporary controls upgrade while recommissioning the Separator in such a way as to improve its operation, process yield and product consistency.


  • Separator operations and controls were mostly “manual” with feedback to operators based primarily on visual inspection of the product and gauges.
  • No accurate documentation existed on the operation nor the wiring of the legacy Separator.
  • Malisko had recently completed the successful upgrade of controls at another plant of the client’s similar Separators.


  • No accurate documentation on the idle Separator.
  • No local plant resource who knew how the Separator used to run.
  • Limited project budget for the controls upgrade:
  • Not a lot of flexibility for modifications or enhancements
  • Very limited budget allocated for updating existing system hardware
  • Insufficient project funds for a ‘complete re-write’ of the code transported from the other plant’s Separator
  • Had to pick apart the code and deploy only the essential functionality
  • Plant’s expectations for the upgrade differed from the approved scope


  • Worked with the Separator OEM’s specialist and collaborate on creating a Functional Description of Operation for the Separator along with:
  • Integration of the HTST into the control scheme
  • Integration of the Cream Tanks into the control scheme
  • Document, configure, program and test a contemporary HMI platform using process objects and HMI best practices for increased information display and intuitive operation
  • Document, configure, program and test a PLC system to provide control including:
  • Automatic control of the Whole Milk Feed, Skim Backpressure and Cream Flow
  • Control of the De-Sludge mode
  • Robust alarming and warning indication
  • Integration with the Cream Tanks and HTST
  • Off-site simulation of the system prior to commissioning to verify operation, functionality, and device control
  • On-site checkout, start-up, training including parameter adjustments to existing control devices such as VFDs
  • Project management
  • Provide remote login to system for more efficient and timely response to requested needs for technical support


  • The deployed system met the goals and objectives of the client.
  • New control algorithms improved the throughput and yield for the repurposed Separator
  • Enhanced product quality with higher consistency during each run
  • System automatically displays the Separator elapsed runtime and the Cream Totalization
  • Tight project budget was met
  • Separator system operation is more intuitive, fully documented and is readily supportable

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