A milk separator is a mechanical device that is used to separate milk into cream and skim milk. This device may be hand powered (manual) or electrical (automatic).A manual cream separator is also known as a crank or hand cream separator. Before the advent of this device cream separation was done by hand by use of a cloth known as a milk skimmer.

On top of a manual cream separator sits a bowl of either stainless steel or aluminum into which milk is poured. The machine turns by means of a crank that drives an attachment inside the machine. The cream and milk is then separated and collected via spouts on the side of the machine.

A standard manual cream separator is simple to use. These is the conventional way of using a cream separator machine

1. Place containers conveniently under the spouts of the manual cream separator. Make sure the containers are of the same capacity as the amount of milk and skim milk you expect to collect.

2. Turn or crank the handle to and drain hot water through the manual cream separator. This cleans the separator and removes any residual milk matter from the previous use or if the machine is new, it’s a way of sterilizing the machine.

3. Pour milk into the bowl of the machine the milk may be warmed for better separation of the fat.

4. Turn the crank of the cream separator machine while turning the knob on the top of the machine in an anticlockwise direction to start the flow of milk and cream.

5. Pour in the remaining hot water into the cream separator. Crank the handle to clean out any milk and cream residue, turn the top knob clockwise to close the tap valve.

Important tips when using a manual cream separator;

  • Clean the machine inside and outside before and after use. This ensures hygiene and optimum functioning conditions by preventing clogging, staining and rusting.
  • Check that there are no leakages in the cream separator.
  • Oil and grease all the parts and gears that require greasing and oiling to prevent rusting and to ensure the machine's performance is not compromised.
  • Regular servicing and replacement of worn out parts is important. Worn out parts tend to wear out other well-functioning parts resulting to even greater mal function of a manual cream separator.

It is important to also know that a manual cream separator can be used as a churn for butter making. This although is possible with a bit of modifications and adjustments to the machine.