That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with Paul Sheehan, Limerick of Unison Process Solutions, in a two-part interview in this week’s dairy segment. We discuss the firm’s product called, The Smart Microdairy.
“I am not from a farming background, but I have years of experience working with dairy farmers and artisan producers to process their milk.
My background is in liquid processing, and I established Unison Engineering after leaving a company following 30 years of service, where I worked in the design, sales and installation of pasteurisers and homogenisers.
Since our foundation in 2006, Unison has grown from a small team of experts with a passion for processing solutions to a leading manufacturer and developer of innovative liquid processing equipment, parts and machinery.
We manufacture and supply cutting-edge machinery and systems that solve real problems for our customers, specialising in pasteurisers, homogenisers, separators, heat exchangers, pumps and valves.
Unison initially began as a servicing company but has grown into a processing equipment manufacturer, with a particular speciality in pasteurisers for small to medium artisan producers. We are a supplier for many farmers in Ireland, the UK and further afield.
We started manufacturing pasteurisers in 2010 when I saw that smaller producers were struggling to find a solution to suit their business.
In a market dominated by high-expense pasteuriser brands, our ambition was to develop high-quality alternatives for small to medium-sized producers seeking cost efficiency.
Traditionally smaller producers had two choices: invest in larger equipment than required, or settle for laborious and time-consuming batch pasteurisers.
Having spoken to our customers who had requirements of <2000 l/hr to find out exactly what they need to optimise their pasteurisation process, our engineering and design team have developed Unison’s range of compact pasteurisers suitable specifically to their needs.
We currently export our pasteurisers globally with pasteurisers in the UK, New Zealand, Europe, Canada and the US.
Unison Process Solutions has a team of 24 people (and growing) in our Limerick location across a variety of disciplines.
These include engineering, customer service, marketing, manufacturing, automation, software and admin.
The Smart Microdairy
In this article, I will tell That’s Farming’s readers about The Smart Microdairy. In brief, Unison’s Smart Microdairy is a pasteurising solution that is making milk vending simple.
The plug-and-play mini dairy includes everything needed for processing and dispensing milk.
The Smart Microdairy is built to DAFM standards, and we can install it all in just one day.
The Smart Microdairy can be piped directly to the bulk tank, or a tank with raw milk can be transported to it each day.
- Tested, certified and commissioned before delivery;
- Fully piped and wired for operational use;
- Fully compliant with worldwide pasteurizing standards (Including US PMO etc.);
- Installed in 1 day;
- No garment change room or additional building required;
- Only requires a concrete base, internet, electricity and water supply;
- Environmentally friendly- Reduced waste water, no disposable garments required and heat recovery of up to 92%;
- Customer support via remote accessk
- Automatically-controlled milk pasteuriser, water chiller and air compressor. This can be set to pasteurize and fill vending machine tanks to the required milk level;
- Tanks are connected to the dispenser: Do not need to be moved after pasteurisation or for cleaning;
- Processing, tank storage and vending all in one area, so no movement of heavy tanks is required;
- Integrated fully automatic CIP (Clean in place) system for washing the pasteurizer and vending machine tanks;
- Reduced risk of contamination during pasteurisation;
- Milk tanks are stored in a secured insulated room;
- All data is recorded on an integrated SD card which holds up to three years of information. A USB can be used for downloading daily charts for record keeping and analysis. All operations, such as temperature, pressure, pump speed, valve position and alarms, are recorded on the SD card.
For a farmer looking to get more value for their milk by milk vending, there are not really any cons.
The Smart Microdairy is a solution specifically made with milk vending in mind. It is suitable for farmers who are looking to get more value for their milk by processing their milk on-farm and selling direct.
For a farmer who would like to progress onto bottling and making cheese etc., we would not recommend the Smart Microdairy.
We would have different options with our compact pasteurisers, bottling equipment, cheese equipment etc., that would be more suited.
It all depends on the requirements from the farmer. Some people are happy to stick to milk vending only, and some others want to expand it further.
Our customers come from a wide range of farms. We have farmers with herds from 50 cows up to 500 cows that are using our pasteurisers.
Why you should sell direct
Get more value for your milk: dairy farmers are seeing 5 x more profit by selling direct.
With milk vending, you are taking the sale of your product into your own hands. Because you have control of your selling price, you are no longer open to fluctuations in the price achieved per litre of milk sold.
In addition to extra income from your milk, most farmers also sell glass bottles and syrup for milkshakes at their point of sale.
This increase in income leads to a rapid ROI of the milk vending machine and pasteurization equipment.
Most of our milk vending customers have paid back their investment within the first year, some even within six months of opening.
The full Smart Microdiary that includes everything you need for both pasteurising and dispensing the milk is €80,000.
For farmers who want to process their milk on-farm but have their vending machine elsewhere, we also have the option of just the processing room, which is from €65,000
Stand-alone milk vending machines start from €13,000 – depending on the capacity and requirements.
For farmers looking to bottle milk or produce cheese, yoghurt etc, our compact pasteurisers start from €14,000.
Order or find out more information from Unison Process Solutions via email – [email protected] or call – (061) 422 224
Part two of this interview to follow.