Erwin Eekelder
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More and more companies in varying industries are trying to make the transition to low flow solutions. Especially in the chemical industry and food & pharma market the trend is to focus on continuous manufacturing, waste reduction, lower downtime and more flexibility. In these industries the availability of ultrasonic flow meters for liquids suitable for 1” pipe lines or larger are enormous, but it is much harder finding solutions for smaller line sizes. Conventional ultrasonic flow meters use either the Doppler Effect or Transit Time measurement. These techniques are practically suitable for large bore sizes.

But what about ultrasonic flow meters for flow rates lower than 1500 ml/min or even 200 ml/min?

Due to the complexity of physics and technology there are not many measurement principles present in this particular flow area, especially ultrasonic flow meters. Therefore the big challenge was to find a solution to use ultrasound in tubes with very small diameters. In close collaboration with TNO (Netherlands organization for applied scientific research) Bronkhorst managed to develop an innovative instrument using Ultrasonic Wave Technology. This technology is applied in the new ES-FLOW™ series for measuring 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.

How does Ultrasonic Wave Technology work?

The ES-FLOW™ is based on ultrasonic wave technology. Measuring is done in a straight stainless steel tube with an inner diameter of 1.3 mm, without obstructions or dead spaces. At the outer surface of the sensor tube multiple transducer discs are located which create ultrasonic waves by radially oscillation. Every transducer can send and receive, therefore all up- and down-stream combinations are recorded and processed. By accurately measuring the time difference between the recordings (nanosecond range) the flow velocity and speed of sound is calculated. Knowing these parameters and the exact tube crosssection, the ES-FLOW™ is able to measure liquid volume flows. The distinctive character of this flowmeter is that it’s capable to measure the actual speed of sound, meaning that the technology is liquid independent and calibration per fluid is not necessary. Next to that the speed of sound can be used as an indicator of the type of fluid present in the flowmeter.

transducer discs and sensor tube picture1: transducer discs and sensor tube  

Four reasons why to use the ES-FLOW™ Ultrasonic flow meter:

1. One sensor for multiple liquids

Many companies have changing process conditions and make use of various liquids like additives or solvents. As the ES-FLOW™ technology is fluid independent, recalibration is not needed with liquid changes. Also non-conductive liquids as demi water can be measured.

2. Easy to clean and reduced risk of clogging

Cleaning processes are often time consuming. Due to the straight sensor tube design with no dead volume, particles have reduced chance of clogging the instrument. Cleaning can be done in a few minutes therefore the amount of down time will be limited.

3.Vibration insensitive

Ultrasonic measurement is not sensitive for vibrations as it doesn’t rely on frequencies or rotations. It is also irrelevant if the flow is laminar or turbulent.

4. Integrated PID controller and fast response

The on-board PID controller can be used to drive a control valve or pump, enabling users to establish a complete, compact control loop with fast response time.

James Walton
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Why using a Controlled Evaporation and Mixing system can decrease food waste

We are all aware that the current level of food waste cannot be sustained if we have a hope of reducing food poverty across the world. This is not just a Western issue; globally food is lost or wasted at different points in the supply chain. Today’s technologies, such as sterilization, can help reduce this spoilage. However, the strict compliance requirements will ask for continuous improvement of this technology. An analysis from the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations highlights some discrepancies;

• In developing countries food waste and losses occur mainly at early stages of the food value chain and can be traced back to financial, managerial and technical constraints in harvesting techniques as well as storage and cooling facilities.

• In medium- and high-income countries food is wasted and lost mainly at later stages in the supply chain. Differing from the situation in developing countries, the behavior of consumers plays an important role in industrialized countries.

So, where can we make a difference?

Looking at the graph of food losses below, and the statements above, we can see that it is worthwhile to invest in production techniques, potentially to increase the shelf life of packaged food. This would have a positive impact on the waste of food in developed countries.

Food losses

[source: http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/]

One of the ways to improve these figures is to improve the sterilization of the packaging that food is placed in, to reduce spoilage and increase shelf life. This is the point where Controlled Evaporation Mixing (CEM) systems come in the picture.

Bronkhorst share in extension of the shelf life

Sterilisation of packaging to extend shelf life is not something new, it already has been done for years. I believe the first aseptic filling plant for milk was already presented in 1961. However, it is a technology which has been improved tremendously throughout the years and still is improving. Bronkhorst has an extended range of instruments which can support you in this process. An ingenious development in this area is a Controlled Evaporation and Mixing system (also called a CEM), as one compact solution for industrial processes such as sterilization. The compact solutions consist of various type of instruments, such as liquid and gas flow meters and an evaporator.

Using Controlled Evaporation Mixing (CEM) systems for sterilisation

The challenge given to Bronkhorst via a customer that was using a Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) mix (containing 35% of H2O2 and water) to decontaminate carton and plastic packaging for liquid and cream filling. Using a mix of H2O2 is an excellent way to do this, because it is great at killing bacteria and can be easily evaporated. Bronkhorst is an experienced supplier of this kind of solutions.

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To get the best production with minimal waste you need to:

  1. Dose the correct amount of H2O2 mixture
    • Too much and the final product is spoiled
    • Too little and the residual bacteria is too high
  2. Avoid de-gassing of the H2O2 mix
  3. Have a controlled flow that condenses on the inside of the package
  4. Limit the flow. If it’s too high it will increase drying time at the end of sterilisation

The best result for this application was given by vapour generation combined with a Coriolis mass flow meter. Because H2O2 mixtures are not particularly stable this results in changing physical properties. Adding a Coriolis mass flow meter to the CEM made the measurement of mass flow medium properties independent. Furthermore as the Coriolis instrument is capable of measuring medium density, it can be used to monitor the concentration and thus watch over quality of H2O2.

Using a CEM system has some real advantages:

  • Stable temperature of vapour
  • Stable concentration of condensation because of a controlled dew point of the mixture
  • All of the above is possible because the gas, liquid and mixing temperature are controlled

Benefits as perceived by the customer

  • Stable liquid mass flow, even if physical properties vary
  • Monitoring the concentration and quality of the H2O2
  • Monitoring and traceability of the sterilisation process
  • Mass flow control of liquid
  • Mass flow control of gas
  • Direct control of dew point through control of gas and air mixture
  • Increased use-by-date
  • Longer life of fresh food

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Controlled Evaporation System

Sandra Wassink
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In this week’s blog we will have a look at the growing Chocolate Confectionery industry and the trends in using flavors. Who else can do this better than a woman you should think… as 75% of the women against 68% of the men report that they indulge in chocolate.

Chocolate…a growing worldwide market of $100 billion once started with a simple choice between Milk, Dark or White chocolate. Nowadays the choice in variations is tremendous due to flavorings.

Chocolate as a seasonal gift is very popular. Around the holidays we tend to buy more chocolate. The top selling season for chocolate is not Valentine’s Day, as you might think, but Easter. In addition to treating oneself, mood enhancement is also a popular reason for the rising sales, especially for young adults. The majority of the chocolate buyers (particularly in the US) are looking for options with mix-ins as opposed to the plain/unflavored varieties.

The global chocolate market has seen considerable innovation in flavor and texture. New product development continues to be imaginative, with more exploration of flavors and textures in addition to the traditional sweetness. However the consumer base tends to be rather conservative as the most popular flavors currently are Hazelnut, Caramel, Almond, and Orange.

Older consumers tend to have a lower engagement with chocolate. The lack of interest reflects their desire to eat healthy. To regain this group of adult customers, companies have turned to tactics such as using alcohol flavors, organic ingredients, and premium positioning such as dark chocolate with Limoncello or chocolates filled with sweet liqueur.

HEALTY LIFESTYLE It may come as a surprise, but a healthy lifestyle, which is one of the major trends worldwide, is also responsible for a substantial growth of the chocolate market and that’s not without reason. Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate with more than 85% cocoa, offers beneficial health benefits, like: ‘Rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and other minerals’ ‘Powerful source of Antioxidants’ ‘Protective against cardiovascular disease’

The growing awareness of the health benefits of pure and dark chocolate is why consumption of chocolate is increasing. With the rising popularity of dark chocolate, the sales for other variations are also going up. People are seeking other ‘healthy’ variations, such as sugar-free, Gluten-Free, Kosher, or Fair Trade chocolate. Due to these ethical claims, the industry has seen a tremendous growth in variations. In order to enhance a healthy image for chocolate, functional ingredients such as fibers, protein, micronutrients, quick energy (guarana extracts), green tea extract, or chia seeds are more and more often being added to the chocolate.

COCOA The increasing demand for chocolate also has its downside. About 3 million tons of cocoa beans are consumed annually of which more than 70% is produced by four West African countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. Cocoa is a delicate crop and trees planted a quarter century ago have hit their production peak and the land they grown on are not as fertile as it once was. A large rehabilitation of land and trees is necessary to prevent the loss of crop production. Also climate changes are taking their toll. This results in high costs for raw materials and unstable economic conditions in cocoa-producing nations. To prevent a supply shortage, a number of well-known chocolate producing companies have decided to invest in rehabilitation of the land and trees to make sure that cocoa will be available in the future.
This in a time that developing countries such as China, India, and Russia expect to grow their chocolate sales volume by 30%.

MASS FLOW METERS AND CHOCOLATE Due to the tremendous growth of chocolate variations, using flavors and functional ingredients, mass flow meters and controllers find their way into the confectionery industry. Due to their accurate and stable features, especially when they are used in combination with a pump, low flow mass flow meters and controllers using the Coriolis principle are ideal for dosing flavors and functional ingredients.

The Bronkhorst Coriolis instruments will measure direct mass flow and are independent of fluid properties which means a set point change is possible within seconds and there is no need to disassemble the pump and recalibrate the installation. This is a huge advantage which saves a lot of time, and makes the process much more flexible.

Using the Coriolis instruments for additive dosing means less downtime between batches, traceability of ingredients, and higher product consistency and quality.

Additive dosing in the confectionery market

Coriolis principle using a pump for dosing application

Accurate dosing of confectionery additives

Confectionery market

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Ashley Buck
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During my 4 years as Coriolis Product Manager at Bronkhorst UK I have spent a lot of time talking to industry across the many sectors. I wanted to share some of my experience over this time with you in this week’s blog.

In 2013, at the start of my career, we launched the M15, this was and still is the largest Coriolis flow meter (flow range up to 300 kg/h) that we have manufactured with its own tube design. I always have had an affinity to this instrument because we arrived on the Coriolis scene at the same time. Technical specification can be found in the brochure.

With the Bronkhorst mini CORI-FLOW series instruments delivering value it was becoming well known, however the flows required were getting higher than we currently had, and so the M15 was born. Successes have come in many applications; additive and preservative dosing, oil application on various products and flavours and colour dosing. Following these successes some of our customers started to request us to support them with specific industry related requirements, e.g. customers in the Food & Beverage industry partnered with us to realize their norms. The M15 tube design is unique and doesn’t have any chambers or dead zones that can capture material and potentially lead to bacterial growth. The fittings are laser welded on. Further tests performed proved that for cleaning the M15 instrument can withstand steam temperatures up to 135°C for long periods of time with the instrument powered down. This enables the instrument to be used where Steam in Place is applied as a cleaning technique. The instruments internal tube surface has been analysed and is less than 0.8um Ra meeting the ISO997 standard. This measurement means that the M15 is suitable as it minimises the potential for bacteria growth in the process line.

The M15 for me is the jewel in the crown of the Bronkhorst Coriolis range as it continuously out performs its competition and specification is unique and performs above expectations of many of my customers.

Our Coriolis instruments

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James Walton
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This week is the last blog in our series focussing on the run up to the PPMA TOTAL 2016 show running 27-29th September. Today we are talking about the trends we have witnessed as people strive to achieve their goals in the world of confectionery manufacturing.

Working with our partners we have been able to exceed industry trends, achieving:

  • Higher product consistency and product quality
  • Increased production flexibility
  • Faster production times
  • Innovative and smarter production lines
  • Less waste and rejection of products
  • Short changeover times
  • Excellent traceability

All of this was possible by experts in the field of confectionery making the conscious effort to look outside of the standard solution and embrace the opportunity to look at new technology.

Below I have included a link to our Confectionary brochure, it would be great to hear back from you with input and feedback on your experiences, could this help you, have you had a different experience?

PPMA TOTAL 2016 is going to be an excellent event to share innovation and technology, promoting efficiency and growth.

Application note

PPMA TOTAL show

Check out our YouTube channel

Check out our web site

James Walton
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Excitement is starting to build about the upcoming PPMA TOTAL 2016 at the NEC, open on the 27th – 29th September. We felt this would be a great time to introduce one of the things we will be talking about. This week we wanted to share our success in the Confectionery Industry, especially around colour and flavour dosing applications.

The key takeaway from this is the ability to increase the control you have on the addition of expensive additives to ensure that you manage both the production cost and maintain end product quality consistency.

PPMA TOTAL 2016 is going to be an excellent event to share innovation and technology, promoting efficiency and growth.

Read the application note about confectionery additives

PPMA TOTAL show

Check out our YouTube channel

Check out our website