Pressure: in the Food sector the Emulsion Is monitored

VEGA offered the ideal solution to a Dutch client that works in the food and beverage industry: the VEGABAR 38 transmitter reliably measures the pressure in emulsion lines. And pump breakdowns are just a distant memory

VEGABAR 38 immediately detects any increase in pressure in the emulsion line.
VEGABAR 38 immediately detects any increase in pressure in the emulsion line.

When the taste buds explode with delight, it’s not just because of the aroma, but because of the consistency of the product. The Dutch company Kievit of the FrieslandCampina Group is a specialist in such taste experiences. Whether in food or drink, it’s the quality of ingredients that ensures a delicious taste, texture and sensory perfection. “Together with our customers, we develop ingredients for the food and beverage industry, such as foaming cream agents, coffee and cocoa blends, fat powders, whipping agents, functional blends, micro-encapsulation and cake emulsifiers” explains Ger van den Berg, the man responsible for work preparation and planning at Kievit’s Meppel site. Technologies such as emulsification, spray drying, microencapsulation and agglomeration are used to convert liquids into powders or to give products certain properties. Microencapsulation is one example – it is a process that packages sensitive oils inside stable powders. Another is cake emulsifier, based on vegetable oil – this product has been specially developed for aeration and stabilization of baked goods. It ensures a perfect, even distribution of air bubbles, which gives the mixture height and volume. And, by the way, emulsification is not only a matter of taste, but also of cost: cake emulsifiers often enable a one-step process, so that production time can be shortened and costs saved.

The hygienic adapter system reduces work and minimizes inventory.
The hygienic adapter system reduces work and minimizes inventory.

A long-term partnership

When it comes to pressure and level measurement, FrieslandCampina Kievit relies on sensors from Schiltach, and has done so for around 15 years. Over this time, a wide variety of sensors from VEGA have been installed across the plant. For example, a radar sensor from VEGA has been measuring in the raw material silo since 2006. At that time, only the 26-GHz VEGAPULS 68 was available. But because the Dk value of this particular raw material is very low, accurate measurement was always a challenge. So when VEGAPULS 69 with 80-GHz technology was launched on the market, they switched quickly to the instrument with the higher frequency. The previous measurement uncertainties were thus eliminated all at once. And since 2011, many more instruments from VEGA have been in use: a VEGAPULS 61 non-contact radar level sensor in wastewater treatment, as well as point level switches VEGACAP, VEGASWING and VEGAVIB in various applications. Numerous pressure measuring instruments from VEGA are also in use, monitoring various production processes, for example storage of fats and filter monitoring.

The ceramic measuring cell is oil-free.
The ceramic measuring cell is oil-free.

A pressure transmitter to detect filter contamination

One measuring point, however, has been under constant observation for many years: the place where emulsification is monitored. The prevailing process conditions there are typical for food production. It is warm, the temperature of the process water is 85°C, and strong vibration and pressure surges are commonplace. The pressures in the pipes are generally between -1 and +8 bar. As soon as the emulsion reaches a certain temperature, it is pumped on with a high-pressure pump. To feed the pump, there has to be constant pressure in this circulating system. A pressure measurement was therefore installed downstream from the pump to detect filter contamination at an early stage. “In the past, pressure gauges from another manufacturer were used here, but due to their short lifespan they always caused problems” explains van den Berg. Other measuring principles, such as flow measurement, did not work properly either. On the one hand, the penetration of moisture caused problems, and on the other the diaphragms of the sensors would often fail. “However, this measurement is absolutely necessary for the overall process, as it is the only way to monitor the contamination of the filter, which in turn is crucial for the proper functioning of the pump” explains van den Berg further. The new VEGABAR 38 was installed at this measuring point even before its official market launch in 2019. It is a universally applicable pressure transmitter with ceramic measuring cell for measurement of gases, vapours and liquids up to 130°C. This very compact sensor enables simple and, at the same time, highly efficient automation. Above all, there are no compromises in terms of safety, hygiene or accuracy, i.e. exactly the requirements that are crucial in food production.

VEGABAR 38 is used for measurement of gases, vapours and liquids up to 130°C.
VEGABAR 38 is used for measurement of gases, vapours and liquids up to 130°C.

Towards greater operational safety

The universal connection for hygienic adapters on the new sensor series reduces installation work. Process fittings can be selected as required and adapted to the on-site requirements. The sensor also has a display with on-site adjustment options and, as a special highlight, a full-colour 360° status display. This is not only for optical reasons: since the colour of the illuminated ring can be freely selected, it can also be adapted to unfavourable lighting conditions. At a glance, the user can see if the measuring process is running, if the sensor is switching, or if there is a possible malfunction in the process.
The IO-Link standard protocol ensures universal and simultaneously simple communication. The instruments thus have a standardised communication platform that enables seamless data transfer and simple integration into the system. The new VEGABAR measuring instrument series can also be conveniently read out and configured with a smartphone or tablet. Especially in environments with many pipelines and interconnected production processes, where access is difficult and time-consuming, this option considerably simplifies sensor adjustment and operation. This is an aspect that van den Berg appreciates very much in his daily work routine.

For pressure and level measurement, Kievit has been relying on VEGA for 15 years.
For pressure and level measurement, Kievit has been relying on VEGA for 15 years.

Simple setup and commissioning

Since this first deployment was more or less a pilot run, the VEGA team stayed on hand during the installation. “In the future, however, we’ll handle everything ourselves. Thanks to Bluetooth being compatible with the app or PACTware software, the setup and monitoring of the VEGA instruments is very easy” says van den Berg. Also he likes the colour, it’s also nice to have equipment that looks great. And he points out that the pressure sensors have been working perfectly since the beginning. In that regard, the decisive element is the patented ceramic measuring cell in the VEGA pressure transmitter. VEGABAR 38 is equipped with the CERTEC® measuring cell, with its robust ceramic diaphragm. It is tough and overload tolerant, and therefore extremely resistant to high pressure and pressure shock. Since its installation, VEGABAR 38 has minimized filter contamination by its immediate detection of any increase in pressure. The filter can then be cleaned to ensure sufficient flow and protect the pump. And if there is a problem he can’t solve on his own, van den Berg knows he can always rely on VEGA, that always helped him immediately – for example with the pressure transmitters and the silo measurements. He recalls the problems he had with a very light powder with a low Dk, which was extremely difficult to detect. “We worked closely together with VEGA’s customer service personnel, and in the end achieved a very good result. The fact that we were able to get this measuring point up, engendered mutual trust and strengthened” said van den Berg in conclusion.