Working as an Industry Specialist for the Food, Pharma and Beverage market at Bronkhorst High-Tech, it’s needless to say I continuously monitor these markets, to find out where we can be a solution provider. One of the trends in the beverage market I have encountered is fast batch dosing of additives. Additive dosing is a typical application in which flow meters can be used. Let me explain where this applies in the beverage industry and why additive batch dosing has to go with high speed.
The trend of small batch production
Traditionally, many industries make large batches of one product (mass production), and the beverage industry is no exception for that matter. However, due to the development of wider product ranges and diversification, which many companies face, this traditional way of production lacks the flexibility and efficiency which is often required these days. Companies optimize their processes, to be more resilient and responsive to risks. Nowadays, the trend is to make batches depending on the actual demand.
There is a demand to be more flexible and cost efficient on many levels. In the beverage industry this involves easier changeover from one flavour product to another by minimum cleaning. To keep the additive dosing system separated from the main product stream (like water), most parts of the filling line will be kept untainted from additives. This will save time, cleaning liquid and therefore costs, when changing product.
The necessity of fast batch dosing
Most types of filling lines produce a high output. This demands an additive dosing system which provides fast batch dosing with high repeatability and accuracy. How can fast batch dosing be achieved properly? Important with fast batch dosing is the right amount of additive in the pre-defined dosing time. This amount is usually very small and the dosing time can sometimes be very demanding. A dosing time from several milliseconds up to a second is not unusual in the beverage industry. To accurately dose small amounts of additives at such speed can be a challenge and requires excellent flow control.
Bronkhorst solutions for fast batch dosing
We can offer several flow solutions to ensure the required accuracy and reproducibility for (fast) batch dosing. One way is by combining a Coriolis mass flow meter with a pump or suitable valve. With this system, fluids can be dosed in a controlled way into the production process.
Another option would be to use an ultrasonic volume flow meter instead. The hygienic designs of our ultrasonic volume flow meters and their capability for cleaning in place - CIP - make these flow meters a good match for the beverage industry.
Figure 1. ES-FLOW Ultrasonic Volume Flow Meter
The advantage of both the Bronkhorst Coriolis flow meter and ultrasonic volume flow meter is that they are equipped with an integrated batch dosing functionality. This dosing technology allows batch dosing of small amounts of liquid additives with only a minimum of tolerance. The firmware is equipped with a “learning function” to correct even the smallest tolerances automatically (e.g. during start-up of the instrument or change of supply batches). The setup is customized to fulfill all requirements of the production; it can be integrated easily in already existing processes and production lines. Moreover, with this batch dosing functionality, quick and complex regulation with PLC or SCADA is not necessary anymore.
Figure 2. Bronkhorst Dosing Technology scheme with mini CORI-FLOW mass flow meters
So whether you choose for Coriolis or Ultrasonic flow technology, our flow instruments can offer the solution for higher throughput, flexible machines, more rapid changeover and less product waste in the beverage industry. If you want to learn more on how Ultrasonic flow technology has proven itself to be a solution for additive dosing in candy manufacturing, please read the story of my colleague Erwin Broekman on how candy gets its own taste, texture and appearance.