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In a market with fierce competition, it is sometimes necessary to be a

forerunner and take a calculated risk with new technologies to obtain
a competitive advantage.

Text: Lars sterlind
Photo: Sadafco, Istock

AFETY AND QUALITY combined with the product losses are difficult to avoid. But what if
highest efficiency are of the utmost impor- the process could be simplified? We wanted to
tance when producing a staple product such eliminate the pasteurization step and also take
as plain UHT (long life) milk. That is why Saudia the human factor out of the process, explains
Dairy & Foodstuff Company (Sadafco) is always on Reinders.
the lookout for new and innovative solutions. The As the saying goes, if you keep on doing what
company is the leading player in the UHT milk youve always done, youll keep on getting what
market in Saudi Arabia, with the Saudia brand captur- youve always got. In 2011, Sadafcos team of
ing 55 per cent of the domestic market. We are engineers started to discuss new solutions with
efficiency-driven, says Raffael Reinders, director different suppliers. Sadafcos strong, open and
manufacturing at Sadafco. We are always using the long-term relationship with Tetra Pak led the two
latest technology and that gives us a competitive companies to start a joint development project. It
advantage, he says. took 12 months of intensive development and
Dairy farms are rare in Saudi Arabia, so Sadafco trials to create a process where several processing
is producing recombined UHT milk. The imported steps were removed. In one continuous step, skim
milk powder is a large cost for the producer, which milk powder is mixed under vacuum to a concen-
puts a constant focus on keeping all other costs trate, and then preheated and mixed with the
down. In the traditional batch production process, right volume of water and fat before undergoing
skim milk powder is mixed with water at a mixing UHT treatment and regenerative cooling. This
station and sent to a tank, and then pasteurized eliminates the need for pasteurization pre-treat-
and standardized. Milk with a different fat content ment and intermediate storage of pasteurized
is stored in intermediate tanks before it is UHT milk. The patented single-step approach signifi-
treated. The process demands heavy investment cantly simplifies and accelerates the production
in equipment, is time-consuming and significant process.


Thanks to the automation system, Sadafco has reduced
production losses due to human error by as much as
33 per cent.
The time from raw material to finished product has been

We took a calculated risk; you have

reduced from two days to just a few hours.
Sadafcos capacity has more than doubled. The two The new solution takes up less space in the plant,
lines produce 60,000 litres of UHT milk per hour, reduces energy consumption by up to 40 per cent

to take new routes to win. RAFFAEL REINDERS five days a week, 18 hours per day. The first line
took some learning, but now everything runs very
and leaves a smaller environmental footprint.
Production capacity has more than doubled, and in the
coming years Sadafco plans to double capacity again to
smoothly, says Reinders. 60,000 litres per hour and line.
My boss asked me if I was sure this would The next step is to further increase production. Return on investment for the two recombined milk
work, says Reinders. No one had done it before, The two companies are already working on a solu- production lines is less than two years.

but I was 100 per cent convinced that it would tion to increase capacity to 45,000 litres per hour
work. And it did. We took a calculated risk; you and line. It is possible, and after that we aim for
have to take new routes to win, he says. 60,000 litres per hour, he says.
In addition to shortening the process time this The investment figures are really impressive:
enables completely automated and continuous total cost of ownership is reduced by 32 per cent, NO. 1 IN SAUDI ARABIA
UHT operations, with fewer process steps and thanks to this innovative approach to milk produc-
Ever since it was founded in 1976, Saudia Dairy & Food-
smaller hold-up volumes in the line. Another ad- tion. The cost savings are the main benefit, says stuff Company (Sadafco) has been a leader in the UHT
vantage is the high accuracy of powder and water Reinders. The payback period for us is less than (long life) milk market in Saudi Arabia, with the Saudia
volumes. In turn, this results in reduced product two years. That is very good. With lower costs, we brand capturing more than half of the long-life milk
losses and energy savings. will become more competitive. market and almost a third of the total milk market. In
addition to UHT milk, the company also manufactures
The whole process is far more efficient than Sadafco ordered the first processing line featur- tomato paste, ice cream, snacks and drinks. Five per cent
conventional solutions, delivering significant ing this new technology in 2012, and the com- of production is exported to neighbouring countries such
operating cost savings and greatly reducing envi- mercial operation started in December 2013 at MORE INFO: as Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.
ronmental impact, says Bengt Eliasson, manager, the companys milk production plant in Jeddah.
The company runs three factories in Saudi Arabia: milk
and ice cream are produced at two sites in Jeddah, and
Tetra Pak Dairy Aseptic Solutions. Capital costs It did not take long until it became clear that the
tomato and cheese are produced in Dammam.
are also lower because a lot less equipment and solution worked well, so within six months Sadafco Facebook f Logo CMYK / .eps Facebook f Logo CMYK / .eps

floor space are needed. placed an order with Tetra Pak for a second line.