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Membrane filtration is a series of technologies for separating components from a liquid primarily by molecular weight, but also by size or charge. It is used in the dairy and plant-based industries, for separation of milk, whey, and plant-based components into smaller fractions, which become the building blocks for innovative recipes. Membrane filtration is a highly sustainable, versatile, and proven process designed to increase the production capacity. It allows for higher yields and less waste by valorization of sub product and recovery of water.

The separation is determined by membrane characteristics (pore size) and molecular size of the individual components present in the liquid. The pressure driven molecular separation process is used to obtain: 

  • Concentration (water is removed, no loss of solids)
  • Fractionation (distribution of individual components is changed)
  • Sterilization (microorganisms are physically removed)

As a leading global provider of membrane technology to the dairy and plant-based industries, SPX FLOW offers a range of membranes and operates with four key technologies:

Our membranes are available in both plug-and-play configurations and fully customized solutions. We offer a range of options based on technical specifications, performance goals and operating costs. Options range from stand-alone to integrated systems that are automated to deliver optimal control and performance. Integrated in-line systems feature pre- and posttreatment for seamless integration with new or existing process lines.

The main advantages of membrane filtration include:

  • Easy adaption of the membrane plants to variations in the feed/product quality or the downstream line capacity.
  • Less need to add filler ingredients with potential for clean label products.
  • Membrane technology provides a higher process yield compared with traditional means.
  • Sweet permeate captured during the process can be used in the production of other dairy or plant-based products.
  • Concentration, fractionation and defatting of milk, whey, plant extract, UF permeate, white water
  • Extended Shelf Life (ESL) milk
  • Strained yogurt and fresh and fermented dairy
  • Fresh and fermented skimmed milk cheese
  • Fresh and fermented full fat cheese
  • Cream cheese and double cream cheese
  • Mascarpone
  • Plant-based beverages
  • Plant-based yogurts
  • Plant-based cheeses
  • Demineralization
  • Polishing of water for reuse in CIP/flush
  • Reduce COD in process effluents

*New applications constantly in development

Microfiltration (MF)

Microfiltration is used in various dairy and plant-based applications for debacterization, fractionation, clarification and concentration of proteins using ceramic and polymer membranes. Microfiltration is based on a membrane with a very open structure allowing most dissolved substances to pass, while rejecting non-dissolved particles, bacteria, spores, and fat globules. Contingent on the application, MF membranes and process parameters are used to secure optimal performance of the plant.

Ultrafiltration (UF)

Ultrafiltration for concentration of milk, whey and plant-based sources is a widely used concentration step in the process of making different whey, milk, or plant-based products. Additionally, UF concentration is used to produce fresh cultured cheeses such as cream cheese, feta and queso fresco with substantially higher yield.

Nanofiltration (NF)

Nanofiltration is used for a wide range of applications in the dairy and plant-based industries, such as demineralization of whey, milk, plant sources and permeate from UF of milk, whey or plant sources. It is an RO process in which a more open membrane allows small monovalent ions, such as sodium and chloride, to pass. This means that NF combines concentration (like RO) with partial demineralization.

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Reverse osmosis is used for concentration of liquids with higher solids levels, contingent on application. It occurs when a dense membrane rejects virtually all substances except water. This is possible thanks to high system pressure. The purposes of RO range from capturing pre-concentrate prior to evaporation, to minimizing transport costs, and even increasing capacity across dairy processes.


SPX FLOW has decades of experience providing membrane solutions for the dairy industry. We strive to engineer technology that is integral in the production of all milk and plant-based products via a highly sustainable approach that reduces waste. The heart of our business is to combine sound economics with an optimized environmental footprint.

Our APV membrane filtration technology is the result and close cooperation with world-leading manufacturers of membranes and cleaning agents. This deep experience, combined with a range of technology solutions, means that our specialists recommend the most efficient membranes possible for any given application, while also offering dedicated support and expert service.  Other reasons to choose SPX FLOW include:

  • We offer both stand-alone and in-line integrated membrane solutions
  • We offer both manual and highly automated membrane solutions
  • We are recognized for pioneering innovative dairy and plant-based membrane applications
  • We have worldwide experts and local contacts
  • We are a credible brand with more than > 1,300 installations globally as installed base
  • We adapt to customer’s needs via continuous collaboration
  • We maintain a world-class pilot facility where customers can test recipes
  • Synergy with other vital technologies (thermal, evaporation and drying, butter and mixer, etc.)
  • Inclusion in process categories for full process line offerings
  • Highly skilled dairy and plant-based team with extensive experience and deep knowledge base
  • Global presence for consistent coverage via systems sales and channel partners
  • A dedicated team of specialists
  • World-class innovation, engineering, sales and service
  • 3 decades of experience
  • Strong know-how platform
  • Pioneers in innovative dairy and plant-based applications and engineering solutions

Innovate with Us

We maintain state-of-the-art Innovation Centers around the world where customers securely perform extensive pilot testing and validation on a pilot scale for proprietary recipes.

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