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Nov 02, 2023Nov 02, 2023

Waukesha, Wis.-based Hydro-Thermal Corp. is the winner of the 2023 Breakthrough Award for Dairy Ingredient Innovation. The annual award, presented by Elmhurst, Ill.-based American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI) and Dairy Foods, puts a spotlight on the accomplishments of an ADPI member that either achieves greatness in dairy ingredient innovation, or in this year’s case, makes the job of dairy processors much easier.

Hydro-Thermal founded nearly 90 years ago, is honored this year for its 3-A Certified Sanitary Hydroheater, also known as “Hydron.” Hydro-Thermal follows Arla Foods, which was honored as last year’s Breakthrough winner for its Lacprodan BLG-100, a dairy-derived high-leucine ingredient.

Regarding Hydro-Thermal, a milk solids processing company was facing a major problem in its production process. Every five hours, it had to shut down its production line to clean the plates of its plate-and-frame heat exchanger. This time-consuming and expensive process required spare parts and led to significant downtime. The milk solids processor needed a solution that would allow it to clean its equipment without disrupting its production schedule.

Enter Hydroheater, which allowed the processor to save time and money by eliminating the need for shutdowns and changeovers. Instead, it’s able to clean its equipment in place using direct steam injection (DSI) technology.

With Hydroheater, the dairy processor was able to save 20 hours a week on cleaning tanks alone. The company is now utilizing this extra time in production, increasing efficiency and profitability. Hydroheater also offers a range of other benefits, including reduced maintenance costs and minimal downtime.

“Hydron is more than just a heating solution. It’s a testament to our commitment to providing our customers with the best possible products and services. We are proud of the innovative design and advanced technology that went into creating Hydron, and we firmly believe that it sets the gold standard for hygienic design in the food processing industry,” Hydro-Thermal President and CEO Jim Zaiser tells Dairy Foods.

The creation of Hydroheater was truly a team effort. It is not often that the employees of a company can come together to solve a market need by starting with a clean slate and specific requirements that are truly innovative within a marketplace, Zaiser notes.

In fact, Hydro-thermal’s 100 employees each added their insights to its requirements of design, manufacture, function, service, and marketing methods, with award-winning results.

The key to Hydroheater’s success is its DSI technology. DSI technology uses high-pressure steam to heat water and other fluids directly, without the need for a heat exchanger. This process is not only more efficient than traditional heating methods, but also eliminates the risk of contamination that can occur when using a heat exchanger, Hydro-Thermal states.

DSI technology offers a range of benefits, including improved safety, reduced maintenance costs, and increased sanitation, the Wisconsin-based company adds.

In addition to its efficiency and safety, the Hydro-Thermal system also offers a range of sanitary benefits. Its 3-A certification ensures that the system meets the highest standards for hygienic design and sanitation, making it ideal for use in the food and beverage industry. The system is purportedly easy to clean and maintain, further reducing downtime and costs.

Overall, Hydroheater has been a “game-changer” for the milk solids processing company, Hydro-Thermal asserts.

The 2023 Breakthrough Award for Dairy Ingredient Innovation honors a collaborative effort and rewards every Hydro-Thermal employee, Zaiser concludes.

“We are passionate about the details and perfection of innovation,” he says. “It’s a core value that we celebrate in every performance review and at every company meeting. Winning [this] award is like working all semester in a very difficult class and coming home with an A+ on your report card. High-five team, we achieved success!”

Brian Berk has been a writer and editor for 21 years. He has served as editor-in-chief of the Music & Sound Retailer and managing editor of Convenience Store News, both the top-circulated magazines in their respective fields. Berk has also held editing and writing roles in drug store retail, photography, and natural health products. Holding a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cortland and a master’s degree from Quinnipiac University, Berk lives in Port Washington, N.Y., with his wife and two children.

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