Dairy farmers can now get their milk chilled at the procurement centres, which keeps the milk from getting worse and going bad because of more bacteria.
Prompt Equipments Private Limited, a cloud-based dairy equipment company based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, has made a cheap instant milk chilling unit called MilkoChill that can be set up at the milk collection centres in the villages. Farmers can pour milk into the unit, which instantly drops the milk’s temperature from 35 degrees Celsius to 7 degrees Celsius.
MilkoChill is an inexpensive instant milk chiller that keeps milk fresh and keeps it from going bad. The director of Prompt, Shridhar Mehta, told BusinessLine: ‘The Indian dairy industry has a big problem: milk has to be chilled at the place where it is bought. A lot of money has been spent on building cold-chain infrastructure, but it was hard to chill milk at the source. We decided to do something about this by making Milkochill.’
This keeps the milk’s quality, makes it last longer, and gives dairy farmers more money. Prompt uses a thermodynamic design that was patented and made possible by a technology licence from IIT-Bombay to make the product. The thermal storage mechanism stores energy when the power is on, so the milk can be chilled right away even when the power is out. This makes it good for rural areas where electricity isn’t always reliable.
The heat recovery unit takes the heat from the compressor and stores it in water at 55 to 60 degrees. This water is used in the cleaning-in-place (CIP) process for cleaning equipment. Mehta said, ‘The heat recovery unit is a big difference from other bulk milk chilling units.’
Since most milk is bought in rural areas, it is very important that it doesn’t go bad. The milk is about 35 degrees when it is taken from the cow. The milk is then picked up at the procurement centre and moved in a few hours to a nearby dairy or bulk milk chilling (BMC) centre. This hurts the quality of the milk because bacteria grow faster in warmer places. ‘We wanted the milk to be cooled as soon as it went into the machine. So that the supply chain doesn’t get messed up, the temperature is brought down to 7 degrees in 10 minutes’ said Mehta
The machine costs 3 lakh, uses about 12 units of power, and can cool 250 litres of water in an hour. It can cool 500 litres of water every day. ‘This is a cheap way to keep the milk cool. Compared to BMCs, which cost about 22 paise per litre, this machine costs 14 paise per litre to chill milk’ said Mehta.
So far, the company has done 25 installations, but its goal for the first year was to do about 150 installations. At the company’s factory near Ahmedabad, the machine is made. The company recently won an award from the Department of Animal Animal Husbandry & Dairying in the category of Development of Low-cost Cooling and Milk Preservation System in the Animal Husbandry Start-up Grand Challenge 2.0.