Lely Orbiter: A unique concept for small-scale dairy production

Lely and NIRAS develops a unique concept for small scale production in the dairy sector

Together with the Dutch company Lely, NIRAS in the Netherlands has developed the “Lely Orbiter” which makes it possible to produce, process and bottle milk directly at the dairy farm.

February 13, 2020
  • SDG: #9, #12
  • SECTORS: Food & Beverage
  • COUNTRIES: The Netherlands
  • CLIENT: Lely

The Dutch company Lely and NIRAS have made it possible to process and bottle milk directly at the farm and thereby enabling a local, small scale production.

The method makes it possible to cut out large intermediary dairy processing plants and thereby increases the freshness of the milk that reaches the customer.

After a successful pioneering process, a few farmers are ready to implement the Lely Orbiter and are ready to start processing and bottling their own authentic and traceable milk.

Milking robot and small scale processing

The idea to develop a small-scale dairy factory came into existence years ago. The ambition was to produce unique milk to the current standard directly on the farm.

The Lely Orbiter has been specially developed to deliver quality with small quantities of cow’s milk and it consequently meets the highest food safety standards.

Immediately after a milking robot has milked the cow, the milk is cooled down to 4 degrees Celsius. The system then follows the regular processing steps for the production of milk.

 The system runs continuously the entire day and the entire week, which means capacity is guaranteed.

High-quality milk “straight from the cow”

The Lely Orbiter is set up as a closed system with only a few phases in the processing. Since there is very little time between milking and processing this means that both milk quality and food safety are guaranteed.

In addition, the farmer can also ensure that his distribution will only have a few intermediate steps before the milk reaches the shops and the consumers.

Even though this distribution lays outside the influence of NIRAS and Lely, this new production system makes it possible to offer high-quality milk that is authentic and “straight from the cow”.

Single estate milk

The Lely Orbiter makes it possible for farmers to process, pack and market the milk of their cows themselves. Instead of blending milk from many dairy farms, this process guarantees a unique milk with its own characteristics which is more artisanal.

In addition, the design takes traceability into account. It is possible for consumers to trace their milk directly to the specific farm, and by using a chip for the cows, the milk can even be traced back to the individual cow who delivered the content of each milk bottle.

The method also means that the taste is more individual and that it can vary from farm to farm or from cow to cow, making it the dairy equivalent to single estate coffee or single origin chocolate or olive oil.

Increasing value of dairy product

The Lely Orbiter is not limited to offering products of increased quality to the consumers; it is also offers the farmers opportunities of increasing the value of their product.

The farmers can thus increase their income by controlling the means of production and the marketing themselves.

About NIRAS in The Netherlands

NIRAS is present in the Netherlands through the Dutch company VMEngineering (VME), which since 2018 has formed part of the NIRAS Group. 

VME is based in The Netherlands and offers expert consultancy to the food and beverage industry within areas such Hygienic Design, Digital Design, Process and Packaging engineering, as well as the accompanying project management. In line with the rest of NIRAS, VME design according to the most recent guidelines, codes and standards of hygiene and quality.

Read more here.

About Lely and The Lely Orbiter

Lely was founded in 1948 in The Netherlands by the brothers Cornelis og Arij van der Lely. The company has since then developed innovative solutions and services for the agricultural sector.

NIRAS and Lely have developed the Lely Orbiter together and are happy to offer the ‘Mijn Melk’ (‘My Milk’) concept to farmers as a framework when it comes to brand name and look-and-feel.

For more information and inspiration regarding the first successful farm, please refer to Mijn Melk or contact NIRAS.

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