The Food and beverage industry is not the same as it was over 100 decades ago. It is constantly changing and developing to satisfy consumer needs. Among the many changes is the automation of processes in the industry. The entire journey of procuring raw materials, manufacturing foods and packaging them for sale is gradually being automated with the emergence of products such as process meters and automatic valves which make it possible. This is especially the case for factories with big plants.
Because of the delicate nature of food, you cannot afford to go wrong in your production process. The slightest mishap can affect an entire batch of production and cost you millions of dollars. If you happen to be a process engineer in this industry it is requisite to pay attention to all details in the production, especially the seemingly little ones.
One detail which could cost you – the type of process instrument you select for your application
Food and Beverage companies are required to comply with strict guidelines and regulations to maintain the quality of food and avoid any contamination which can put the safety of consumers at risk. As afore mentioned, a slight malfunction can affect an entire batch of production and this can jeopardize food safety and interrupt production. By monitoring processes and providing quality management throughout the food processing cycle, process instruments are used to minimize such occurrences which is why you must get it right.
Before selecting any process instrument used for temperature, pressure, flow or level measurement for your plant, It is important to communicate exactly which application you intend to use. Therefore, as a guideline, you should provide answers to the following questions as a minimum.
• What are the Pipe specifications :
-Pipe line size
-Pipe material type
• Is the pipe or vessel insulated?
• What’s the thickness of the insulation?
• Is the internal surface lined with any material ? If yes, provide lining material, and its thickness
• What is the pipe run orientation
• Vertical or Horizontal)? - If Vertical, please indicate flow direction as up or down.
• What is the expected flow meter meter size? ( internal diameter )
• What type of process connection is needed? (Flanged, Threaded, Wafer, etc...). Indicate the size and pressure rating.
• What is the hazardous area classification? Example, zone 0, zone 1, etc
• What material is preferred for the construction of the instrument for Wetted Parts/Housing/Body or non-wetted parts?
• What type of housing is preferred for the sensor / transmitter ?
• If remote, you need to know desired cable length between sensor & transmitter
• What level of protection is needed (IP65; IP66, NEMA 4X.; NEMA 6P; etc...)?
• What is the preferred power supply?
• Do you require a display in the transmitter ?
• What communication type is needed (HART, Foundation Fieldbus, etc...)?
• What output signal is required (N/A, Current, Frequency, etc...)?
• What is the calibrated range required?
• Would you require any certification (Material Certs, PMI, etc.)?
• What is the minimum / nominal / maximum operating values for pressure/temperature/flow?
• What is the maximum pressure/temperature rating for the pipe/vessel?
• What is the ambient temperature of the area?
• What fluid is being measured? Indicate its state, operating density or specific gravity and viscosity if known.
• What is the vapor or blanket pressure? (if applicable)
• Is there the presence of entrained solids or Gas? (if so, provide % if possible)
Providing this information would help you get the best fit for your application and save you a lot of inconveniences later. Do not be too quick to judge the quality of a product if it suddenly fails to serve its purpose a few months after its installation. Perhaps, all these details may not have been clearly specified. Be sure to do so the next time and always.
Author: Nunya Torgah