As the demand for natural and healthier ingredients (such as sweets with vitamins) increases, manufacturers of chocolate and sweets often decide to change the existing artificial flavours, aromas and colours, into more natural additives. Because these additives are more expensive and have changing fluid properties (e.g. density and viscosity), traceability and an accurate process are desired.
The desired flow solution should provide detailed process information, more efficient production lines, better product consistency and higher quality of the overall process. For this we have developed an ultrasonic flow meter for small liquid volume flows called the ES-FLOW.
Worldwide the confectionery industry is expected to grow towards 275 billion dollar in 2025, an enormous market. Looking into that, America is number 1 in terms of candy retail volume, but if you measure the consumption per capita, it seems the European countries win the battle. Germany has the highest consumption per capita (according to market data and estimates from Euromonitor in 2016).
Market suppliers continuously learn from the market to keep adding value to the daily life of their customers. A sustainable supply chain, improvement of the well-being of consumers and continuous product innovation are required to support the long term needs of this market.
Continuous production process
At the same time, trends have been observed in recent years towards a continuous production process, prevention of waste, shorter downtimes and higher flexibility, not only in the food sector but also in the chemical industry.
The use of additives – flavours, aromas and colours - requires that small flow rates are measured and controlled. For this, not many solutions can be found. Nowadays many confectioners use dosing pumps and rely on positive displacement. But how to be sure that the desired volume was actually displaced? Was the pump head completely filled with liquid? Or did (partly) dry-running occur?
Dosing pumps are often calibrated or programmed for a set fluid and flow rate. For changing process conditions or production changeovers this usually needs to happen again, which could lead to long down times. The ES-FLOW ultrasonic volume flow meter has an integrated PID controller that can be used to operate pumps and valves. This allows the user to build a complete automated control circuit with fast response times.
Real time flow measurement and control for flow rates lower than 1500 ml/min or even 200 ml/min?
In close collaboration with TNO (a Dutch organization for applied scientific research) we managed to develop an instrument using Ultrasonic Wave Technology. This technology is applied in the ES-FLOW ultrasonic flow meter series for measuring and controlling liquid volume flows between 4 to 1500 ml/min independent of liquid density, temperature and viscosity with an accuracy of 1% of rate ± 1 ml/min.
“Want to know how this Ultrasonic Wave Technology works? Read all about it in our blog How to measure low flow rates of liquids using ultrasonic wave?”
Recalibration is unnecessary
Many companies have changing process conditions and often use a variety of additives and solvents. The ES-FLOW ultrasonic volume flow meter is liquid-independent, therefore recalibration is not needed. Also non-conductive liquids, such as distilled and demineralised water or solvents can be measured. In addition to this, the sensor is insensitive to surrounding vibrations.
The instrument is designed according to hygienic standards with a self-drainable straight sensor tube, surface roughness ≤ 0.8 µm and no dead volume. Therefore particles or bacteria cannot accumulate easily and contaminate the sensor tube. As a result the cleaning process only takes a few minutes, which minimises downtimes.
Find out the working principle of the for very low liquid flow rates:
Read more about the Pilot Series Process for the ES-FLOW ultrasonic volume flow meter