Workings of Different Types of Small Cream Separators

Soviet Poster. Published 1950. “Milkmaids, achieve high yields of milk from each cow feed!”

History of Cream Separators

The earliest methods of cream separation made use of gravity. They poured milk into shallow pans (2 to 4 inches deep), known as setting pans in one early method. Then placed the pans in a cold, clean room for 36 hours allowing the cream to rise to the top. At that point, they skimmed it by hand with a tool called a cream skimmer. This method made it difficult to handle large amounts of milk. As much as 30 percent of the cream was left behind. However, if not store the milk properly, the cream would turn sour.

In 1859, a Swedish engineer Dr. Carl Gustaf De Laval began experimenting with a mechanical cream separator. He used a barrel to spin the milk, then skimmed the cream from the top after the barrel came to a stop. He then built a separator that utilized many buckets to separate 35 gallons of milk at a time. In 1878 he launched a continuous cream separator that could process 300 pounds of milk an hour. The operation of such a separator was based on the principle of centrifugal force.

A cream separator is a dairy machine used to separate fresh whole milk into cream and skim milk.

Old Cream separation methods-old separators for cream, cream separators
The Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary. Published in Imperial Russia in 1890. Image from the article: “Milk in Agriculture Aspect.”

How do cream separators work?

You need to pour the whole milk into a bowl through a central tubular shaft. A spindle rotates the bowl at a rate of from 6,000 to 9,000 pm, and a series of conical disks separates the milk into vertical layers. The heavier skim milk collects on the outer circumference of the rapidly whirling bowl, and the lighter cream tends to remain in the center. The pressure of the incoming whole-milk supply then forces the cream and skim milk out of the machine and into separate collecting vessels.

The gravity method ordinarily leaves one-fourth of the fat in the milk, while the cream separator leaves only 0.01% to 0.02% of the fat in the skim milk. Since the latter process is much faster than the gravity method, there is less chance for harmful bacterial action.

An electric cream separator works via centrifugal force. The machine spins raw milk in a tub or basin. The lighter balls of milk fat appeared out of the container, from where you can easily remove them. The machine separates the cream much faster than the gravity method and separates more cream from the milk. A cream separator won’t separate cream from homogenized milk. Smaller machines designed for home use separate milk and cream a few gallons at a time. Still, large commercial separators allow for continuous separation of large amounts of milk and cream. Skimmed milk flows from one outlet of the machine and cream from another.

What are Cream Separators Available?

Cream separators, manufactured with high-quality materials like stainless steel, 304, are corrosion resistant and preserve the original properties of the milk. There is a wide variety of separators on the market, various sizes, and even customized ones. The cream contains most of the milk’s energy. In the later 1800s, the ever-growing market for cream kicked off different inventions to separate the cream in larger quantities. Four types of cream separators became available, and each class had its own set of uses.

Setting Pans

The original cream separators were shallow pans that held milk from 2 to 4 inches deep. These pans were left in cool, clean rooms for up to 36 hours, and then the cream was skimmed from the surface with special tools like cream skimmers.

 

Deep Setting

The deep setting method required shotgun cans or 20-inch-tall cans with a diameter of about 8 inches, which could contain up to four gallons of milk; These were thrust into tanks of cold water which caused the milk to cool quickly, thereby forcing the cream to rise to the top and separate from the whey better. These were sealed lidded cans that kept out water and bacteria.

Water Dilution

This method used water dilution along with gravity. In this method, a 10- to 32-gallon tank was half-filled with milk. Then water was let into the tank through a tube at the bottom of the tank. After one or two hours, the cream was removed from the top. A valve at the bottom of the tank allowed the water and skim milk to go out of the tank. Thin, vertical glass windows revealed the cream line created.

old cream separators-separate cream with cream separator
The Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary. Published in Imperial Russia in 1890. Image from the article: “Milk in Agriculture Aspect.”

Centrifugal Separator

Most modern cream separators use centrifugal force to quickly separate the cream from the skim milk by spinning the bowl containing the milk, causing the lighter cream to go into the center of the bowl. In contrast, the heavier skim milk travels outward. A centrifugal cream separator has a strong, durable motor and a speed controller that gives the user the ability to adjust the thickness of the cream while adjusting the percentage of fat in the cream.

An open-and-close valve at the top of the unit controls the flow of the milk into the separator. The tank below the valve holds the milk while it spins. The float under the tank fits on top of the float chamber in which the cream collects. The cream spout below the float chamber is used to send the collected cream out, while the remaining milk goes out a separator milk spout under the cream spout.

Who uses small cream separators?

Smaller versions of separators were called table-top models for small dairies with only a few cows or goats. Independent Farmers and small dairy outlets find these smaller versions of great use as non-messy and effective.

Why are Slavic Beauty small cream separators perfect?

The electric version seemed to have caught up, along with small cream separators in the market. Expect the unexpected at Slavic Beauty. Slavic Beauty has earned a fantastic reputation for quality and service for providing effective cream separators. They supply quality and affordable units of electric and manual cream separators. These new units are made in Ukraine. They are of great quality and price. Not to mention that they are quality tested before being sold. There are more than 12 types of cream separators with various hand-operated and electric machines of different capacities, which are perfect for small farms and dairy operators.

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