Internship: Testing of alternative membranes solutions

For the past 20 weeks, Hendrik Reitsma (24) has completed his internship at Wafilin Systems. Hendrik is a fourth-year student of the Food Technology study programme at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. As part of his internship assignment, he tested alternative membrane solutions for the brine filtration process and supported his colleagues in the design of these membrane systems.

Alternative membranes for brine filtration

Membranes are at the heart of everything Wafilin does and define the company’s identity. We are always looking for new applications and alternative membrane solutions to create value for our customers and set ourselves apart from the competition. One of the studies conducted by our R&D department produced alternative membrane processes suitable for the brine filtration process. Brine filtration is a key part of cheese-making. Microfiltration enables cheese producers to purify the brine by filtering fats, spores and bacteria from the brine. Read more about our BRINEX solution here.

For this application, Hendrik studied and tested various alternative membranes in the Water Application Centre (WAC) in Leeuwarden. After the tests, he could calculate how many membranes are needed for the desired quantity of brine. Using these data, Hendrik compared the results of the different types of membrane to see which membrane produced the best result.

Process engineering

After the tests were completed and the data had been analysed, process engineering could begin. Together with our Technology Manager Thomas Roersma, Hendrik made a process design for the brine filtration membrane system. He created a Piping & Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID) – a schematic representation of the interconnection between pipes, sensors, valves and other parts of the process installation – Based on this, Hendrik drew up an equipment list. Combined, these data tell Wafilin Systems exactly how the installation will look, what is needed, what results it will yield, and what the costs are.

Valuable experience

Hendrik says it was a very informative internship, during which he learned a lot. “It was all new to me and I learned from everything I did.” Because Hendrik was new to projects like this, things were a bit complicated in the beginning, but he learned quickly and enjoyed the challenge. Hendrik also had a goal in mind: to make something that would really benefit Wafilin Systems. “It would be great to hear in a few years’ time that these BRINEX installations are actually used everywhere. And to know that I contributed to that,” anticipates Hendrik.

Would you like to know more about Hendrik’s internship study and its results? Please contact R&D Manager Jos van Dalfsen at j.vandalfsen@wafilinsystems.nl.

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