May 13, 2022

How flow meters and controllers transform the production process

When it comes to the finer points of food and beverage manufacturing, such as measuring and controlling flow, having the right parts in place can make all the difference.

In the food industry, there are a series of processes in which gas or liquid flows must be measured or controlled to achieve the best product result and to avoid potential problems along the way.

AMS, which specializes in instrumentation and calibration, knows all too well the importance of using flow meters and controllers in food and beverage manufacturing.

Over its 50-year history, the company has cultivated partnerships with companies such as calibration specialists Beamex and flow measurement experts Bronkhorst.

AMS was one of the first overseas distributors of Beamex, a Finnish manufacturer of calibration solutions, including the Beamex CENTRiCAL calibration bench.

Even though process instruments are often calibrated in the field with portable calibration equipment, there are circumstances when it is considered more efficient and effective to perform calibrations in a shop.

Better accuracy can also be achieved when calibration is performed under controlled conditions, using dedicated, high-accuracy workshop calibration equipment.

In difficult or even dangerous field conditions, calibration in a well-designed workshop with ready-to-use equipment is ergonomic and practical. Workshop calibration can also supplement field calibration.

In terms of flowmeters, AMS’s work with Bronkhorst is a good case study of what both companies offer to the market.

Flow meters and flow controllers are also used in beverage or ice cream aeration processes, and for dosing applications such as adding ingredients such as flavors, colors and flavors.

But besides food processing applications, flow control is also used in packaging sterilization processes.

There are a variety of confections available in the market and each brand has its own unique taste, texture and appearance. As such, a flexible approach to flow control is needed.

Erwin Broekman, Regional Sales Manager at Bronkhorst, visited Haas-Mondomix in the Netherlands to learn what he could about the machine building company, which specializes in equipment for the food industry.

With ultrasonic volumetric flowmeters, Haas-Mondomix measures the number of additives, flavorings and colorings that are added to the production process.

AMS supplies ultrasonic volumetric flowmeters, such as the FC1223 ultrasonic gas flowmeter, to the Australian food and beverage industry after Bronkhorst extended its range.

“Our aim is to create a range of highly accurate, liquid-independent flowmeters that meet the highest hygienic standards to meet the needs of our customers,
especially for applications where low flow solutions are important,” said Erwin Eekelde, Bronkhorst Product Manager.

Some of the features that ultrasonic flowmeters bring to the food and beverage industry include fluid independence with an integrated PID controller and continuous batch dosing.

For example, the FC1223 was developed and designed for measurement of flare gas flow and other associated gases in areas where other ultrasonic volumetric flowmeters had problems.

Meanwhile, the FF1125 Ultrasonic Gas Flow Meter has been manufactured for use with sensitive gas measurement applications in the production process.

Then there’s also the FH1225 ultrasonic gas flow meter, which derives some key benefits from two other meters – transit time and transit phase – resulting in an improved reduction ratio.

The meter is also unaffected by entrained liquids and clogging of transducers with heavy hydrocarbons and paraffins.

Meanwhile, in the chocolate confectionery industry, there are a large number of flavor variations that make liquid flow meters, in combination with a metering pump, a suitable solution for metering flavors and functional ingredients.

By combining the flow meter with a piston pump, higher accuracy and repeatability can be achieved, resulting in less wastage of often expensive flavors and fragrances.

This way, manufacturers will achieve consistent quality and less scrap, which will reduce raw material costs.

For ice cream, aeration is used in the production process because air accounts for 30-50% of the total volume of ice cream.

It is crucial to have a stable inlet gas flow in the production process, with a constant cream/air ratio. Stable gas flow can be achieved by using a mass flow controller.

Aeration is also used in the production of whipped cream.

For these types of applications, Hansa Industrie-Mixer has mixers and foam generators.

Hansa Industrie-Mixer machines come with ISO 9001 certification, which defines the criteria for quality management systems and have been manufactured in Germany for 40 years.

The company offers everything from basic foam mixers to more advanced and complete systems, making them suitable for manufacturers of all sizes. The company also maintains research in the sector for continuous innovation and development.

And while many advancements have been made in aeration technology and, by extension, packaging technology, there are still obstacles to overcome, such as food waste.

Globally, food is lost or wasted at various points in the supply chain, but companies like AMS and Hansa Industrie-Mixer are constantly working to strengthen production and packaging processes.

To reduce food spoilage and increase shelf life, packaging must be sterilized, and this is where something like controlled evaporative mixing (CEM) systems come into play.

CEM technology was developed as an innovative Liquid Delivery System (LDS) that can be used for atmospheric or vacuum processes. This reduces the risk of damage to the supply chain.

Some of the key features of controlled evaporation mixing are its ability to precisely control the mixing of gas and liquid while exhibiting a fast response time.

The controlled evaporation mixture also allows flexible selection of gas and liquid ratios and can operate at lower temperatures than conventional systems, presenting a solution with the flexibility needed in beverage and confectionery production.

Additionally, a CEM system can evaporate mixtures and even solids before being dissolved in solvents and successfully vaporized.

AMS can provide the right flow meters and controllers for almost any food and beverage production process.