Milk Processing Industry Sets High Sanitary & Safety Standards

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Transforming milk from its creamy white liquid form to its various powdered ingredient forms, which comprise the majority of milk used in food production or value-added products today, involves multiple process steps, each of which requires extremely high levels of hygiene throughout.

Each step in the drying process involves a different set of challenges, whether it's high temperatures, pressure, movement or regular cleaning cycles. 

Linking all of these processes together are the flexible connectors that transport the product through the plant. 

If your flexible connectors aren't providing a hygienic, leak-free, safe transition between your equipment, it's time to reconsider the product you are using. That's where the BFM® fitting system comes in.

BFM® connectors and spigots installed on Calf milk powder sifters


What Is The Connector Of Choice For The Dairy Industry?

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Globally, the dairy industry has chosen the BFM® fitting as the 'best practice' connector option for milk powder processing. 

The BFM® system has its roots in the dairy industry, originally developed in response to challenges with old-style clamped connectors in milk processing plants.

Health and safety concerns about product leakage,  build-up in crevices and regular connector failures were plaguing dairy processors until the BFM® fitting was invented. 

With its unique blue cuffs, the BFM® fitting system's sanitary design helps dairy processing factories keep impeccable product hygiene as well as eliminate dust leakage, a serious risk factor for secondary explosions.

Today, every one of the world's top global dairy companies has BFM® fittings in plants around the world. 

Top Dairy User Logo Compilation

Clipboard in Factory

BFM® Meets All Major Global Food Safety Standards

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We pride ourselves in meeting global certifications across food safety, materials and explosion.

3 Key Dairy Powder Production Challenges

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Milk drying is a complex process with fine-tuned, specialized equipment, settings and operations that are all subject to strict hygiene control.

These are three of the key pain points that can be challenging for milk powder processors and the industry-leading solution presented by BFM®.

  • 1. Powder Leakage
  • 2. Explosion Risk
  • 3. Contamination Risk
1. Powder Leakage

Connections Not 100% Dust Tight

non-BFM® flexible connector with product leaking onto machineryOld-style hose clamps  can't prevent powder from escaping into production plants when processing large volumes of product, especially if there is positive pressure in the system.

If gas purging is used, it often forces powder through small gaps in old-style sock and steel clamp connectors. This creates an unhygienic environment and can mean hours of downtime for regular cleaning.

Powder and dust in the factory environment also create elevated risk with regard to secondary explosions, probably the biggest single safety concern for any dairy drying plant.


The BFM® Solution:

BFM® connectors transporting milk powder from silos to intermediary hoppersThe unique design of the BFM® fitting snap-fit spigot and connector system is different because it seals from the inside.  Any internal pressure pushes the cuff of the connector outward toward the pipe, actually improving the seal.

The BFM® fitting system is used in multinational dairy processing plants because it can be relied upon to contain milk powder under pressure, vacuum and movement, such as sifters and screeners.

Find out more about how BFM® fitting keeps your powder inside your process.

2. Explosion Risk

Combustible Dust Explosions A Major Concern

The scale of some drying processes in the dairy industry creates an elevated risk of combustible dust explosions occurrence.  Bulk powders moving at high velocity mean there is always a risk of electrostatic charges building up, and spark discharges can occur if proper grounding procedures aren't followed. Milk powder can also self-ignite if accumulations of powder adhere to surfaces in the hot zone of the drier.

Although powder processing plants have built-in explosion relief systems, the larger risk in this scenario is a devastating secondary explosion that can occur following an internal explosion.  This is where dust in the factory environment is ignited by flames and hot gases that are released by the initial explosion when equipment transitions - the flexible connectors - give way under the explosive force.

This is why it's important to have strong, resilient flex couplings that can withstand internal explosions and redirect the flame and gases up and out through explosion venting systems.

The BFM® fitting Solution

BFM® fitting's Seeflex range of products provides excellent static dissipation, greatly helping to reduce the chance of spark discharges occurring inside the process.

Should an internal explosion occur, however, the patented internal snap-fit design of the BFM® blue band connector and spigot gives it superior explosion resistance.

The BFM® fitting system has been extensively independently tested, and our most popular product used widely in the dairy industry, Seeflex 040E, has been proven to withstand explosion pressures in excess of  60 kpa (8.7 psi). 

This means the hot gases and flames of any internal explosion will be contained and redirected up and out of the explosion relief system, and not allowed to escape into the factory atmosphere.

For added peace of mind, the flame-retardant BFM® Kevlar Cover is an option that can be fitted over the top of the Seeflex connector, and this has been tested to resist explosion pressures over 129 kPa (18.7 psi)

Learn more about explosion risk reduction with BFM®.

3. Contamination Risk

Product Build-Up in Transitions

Dairy Bin activator - not BFMDairy powders pose stickiness problems, so keeping equipment free of deposits is essential.

In the transitions where powder flows between pieces of equipment, small spaces created between dairy tubes and flexible connectors clamped on the outside present a real risk of product build-up and subsequent microbial infection.

Any flexible sleeve that is fastened with a clamp creates a number of crevices where milk powder will collect and, when combined with the warmth of a drying plant, is a perfect bacterial breeding ground.


The BFM® Solution:

Waikato Innovation Centre CroppedThe internal snap-fit design of the BFM® fitting blue band connector and spigot system provides a smooth, crevice-free transition with nowhere for product to build up.

The BFM® fitting can also handle clean-in-place (CIP) processes easily, with just a quick snap-out and wipe of the internal spigot cuff after the wash cycle recommended for optimum performance.

Learn more about why BFM® fitting is a more hygienic flexible connection solution.

Dairy Case Study

Major Hygiene Challenge in the Blending Filler Room

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A leading New Zealand dairy plant had a major challenge with hygiene in their blending filler room. A vibratory discharging cone was connected to the hopper via a traditional connecting sock and steel clamps. There was excessive dust leakage and product build-up in the joints, negatively impacting the hygiene of the production environment.

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milk powder being processed

BFM® At Work In The Dairy Industry

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Transporting sticky powders throughout a process line is challenging enough on its own, but when you add in heat and movement (like on sieves and sifters) the quality of the flexible used in the transitions between equipment becomes even more important.

BFM® fitting is used in virtually the entire milk processing line - from evaporators to infant formula mixers to packing instant whole milk powder, and everything in between.  Here are just a few examples of BFM® fitting connectors, blanking caps and blanking bins at work in the dairy industry.

Large diameter Seeflex 040E in Infant Formula Production
Infant Formula Production

Large diameter Seeflex 040E in infant formula production.

BFM® Seeflex 040E transporting milk powder from a cyclone to vibratory tube
Cyclone to Vibratory Tube
Seeflex 040E at the bottom of a cyclone to vibratory tube in milk powder production. 
BFM® connectors installed on pipe manifold feeding milk powder to a mixer
LM4 in Infant Formula Production
LM4 connectors feeding infant formula to mixer.
BFM fitting on base of large milk powder silo for infant formula production
Silo Base with Infant Formula
BFM® fitting on base of large milk powder silo for infant formula production
BFM® connectors transporting milk powder from silos to intermediary hoppers
Silos to Intermediary Hoppers
Multiple BFM® connectors transporting milk powder from silos to intermediary hoppers in infant formula packing line.
BFM® Seeflex 040E installed in a milk powder plant
Hopper to Dryer
BFM® Seeflex 040E connectors transporting milk powder from silo to dryer.
Silo to intermediary hoppers
Large Silo to Intermediary Hopper

Seeflex 040E connecting a large silo to intermediary hopper.

Silo To Butterfly Valves
Hopper to Butterfly Valves
Twin BFM® fittings feeding milk powder to butterfly valves.
Large seeflex 040E feeding milk powder from silo to vicon
Large Diameter from Silo to Conveyor
Large diameter Seeflex 040E feeding milk powder to vibrating conveyor.
Infant Formula Sieves
Compact Sieve Inlets & Outlets
Seeflex 040Es, blanking bin and blanking caps on compact sieves processing infant formula.
BFM fittings Silos to Blending Bins
Silos to Blending Bins
Multiple Seeflex 040E connectors connecting milk powder silos to blending bins.
BFM transporting hot Air from Blower to spray dryer in infant formula plant
Hot Air from Blower to Spray Dryer

Large Seeflex connector carrying hot air from blower to spray dryer on infant formula line.

Seeflex 040E on Sifter Inlet in milk powder production
Sifter Inlet in Milk Powder
Seeflex 040E connectors feeding sifter inlet in milk powder production.
Sifter Inlet & Blanking Bin
Sifter Inlet & Blanking Bin

Seeflex 040E connectors feeding sifter inlet in milk powder production, plus a ringed blanking bin for overs.

BFM with support rings installed at cyclone outlet
Cyclone Outlet
Seeflex 040E with multiple rings installed on cyclone outlet for infant formula production.
Case Study

Milk Processor Achieves Superior Hygiene & Safety With BFM®

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Swiss milk processor HOCHDORF had issues with the hose clamp connections frequently leaking powder into the factory and presenting an injury risk to fingers during changeovers.

BFM® fitting was the perfect solution.

Zero dust infant formula case study
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