Combing the latest process automation technologies with local assistance

Food makers looking to improve the operational performance, reliability, and safety of their plants are right to seek out the latest innovations from around the world. But sometimes there is no substitute for local assistance.

The Rosemount range of measurement and analytical technologies had an illustrious beginning in the 1950s.

“Emerson’s Rosemount sensors were selected by NASA for the Mercury capsule and [later] installed on-board the Columbia space shuttle.” Justin Ellis, business manager, Rosemount at Emerson told Food & Beverage Industry News.

“In 1969, the 1151 pressure transmitter revolutionised industrial pressure measurement and since that time Emerson’s Rosemount technologies have continued to innovate and redefine industrial automation and measurement.”

According to Ellis, some of the most critical of these innovations have not only improved the reliability and quality of the products, but also helped improve the overall safety and efficiency of automation solutions.

In other words, the Rosemount range has an impressive pedigree. Representing the cutting edge of process automation, devices from the range find use today in the oil and gas, metals and mining, sugar, power, food and beverage, and water industries.

Local capabilities

However, as Ellis said, sometimes the latest internationally-proven technology is not all businesses are looking for.

“Something we’ve come to learn over the last 10 or so years is that organisations are really challenged these days,” he said. Western companies, in particular, are feeling the effects of globalisation and competition from low-cost offshore manufacturers.

Ellis explained that he often hears organisations say things like, “We need companies like Emerson and brands like Rosemount to be more than just products. We need greater support and we need you to help us overcome these challenges.”

Emerson has responded to this feedback by providing clients with support and local capabilities. Firstly, the company has a large service technician and service specialist network across Australia and New Zealand with technicians in almost every capital city as well as key industry areas such as Newcastle and Gladstone.

On top of that, in 2014, the company invested $1 million in building the Quick Ship and Repair centre, a manufacturing and service centre that is a small scale replication of the Rosemount global manufacturing facilities.

Located in Melbourne, the centre can manufacture brand new pressure, temperature and DP level remote seal solutions specifically for Australia and New Zealand industrial operations and deliver them in very short timeframes. This includes specific solutions for local sugar, dairy and beverage producers.

Not only can the facility manufacture new automation equipment but it can also repair, overhaul and return to original performance and specifications existing Rosemount instrumentation assets and save significant replacement costs for operations.

“A big part of building the manufacturing facility was that it meant we could help customers repair their devices,” said Ellis. “Three or four years ago, if a product was broken most companies would just rip it out, throw it away and put a new device in. Now we can, in some cases, repair instruments and automation solutions for only 30 per cent of the cost of a new unit.”

Education

Ellis pointed out that the automation field has an aging workforce. The prevalence of the so-called “greybeards” of instrumentation combined with a reduction in government accredited instrumentation courses means that businesses often struggle to attract and retain workers with the right skills sets to suit their plant assets.

In response to this problem, Emerson collaborated with the International Association for Continuous Education and Training (IACET) to develop a range of educational programs. Professionally designed and developed to conform to the ANSI/IACET Standard for Continuing Education and Training, the programs deliver real outcomes for both students and employers.

They are intended to help businesses better operate, manage and support their industrial facilities.

“Each course combines theory and hands-on practical exercises to ensure that the learning process is consolidated through experiential learning. In addition, each student must pass an assessment phase to ensure that they meet the competency requirements of the course,” said Ellis.

“All instructors have been certified by IACET and have undergone rigorous training not just on the technical aspects of the educational program but also on the soft skills side to ensure that they can competently train and empower students to successfully develop new skills and outcomes.”

Expertise and experience

As mentioned, Emerson has an illustrious history. As a designer and manufacturer of automation equipment, the company holds significant intellectual capital.

“Our organisation has a huge amount of experience and expertise around not only the types of automation equipment available in the market place but also how these automation assets can be used to benefit operations from a reliability, operational and safety perspective,” said Ellis.

“Recently, we have started partnering with progressive companies to help map out programs that help them reduce the amount of inventory that they hold, reduce the amount of wasted emissions and energy usage or improve the safety of their facilities.”

Working at a local level with clients, Emerson representatives can conduct focus groups, or simply sit with engineers to better understand their needs and help develop outcome based solutions combining automation equipment and process expertise.

Called Operational Certainty, the program delivers industry expertise and consulting services at a local level. Combined with Emerson’s automation technologies portfolio and new Industrial IoT solutions, it can help businesses achieve top quartile performance in the areas of safety, reliability, production and energy management.

The products

Emerson’s Rosemount range of measurement and analytical technologies are used in industries ranging from mining to water. Food and beverage manufacturers across Australia and New Zealand use many products from the range including:

  • Pressure transmitters and manifolds
  • DP Level transmitters and remote seals
  • Radar level sensors
  • Vibrating fork level sensors
  • Liquid analysers and sensors
  • Gas analysers
  • Temperature solutions

Rosemount has several hygienic specific solutions, including:

  • 3051HT hygienic pressure transmitters
  • Hygienic temperature transmitters and sensors
  • Hygienic DP level remote seals & FDA approved fill fluids
  • Hygienic pH, conductivity & dissolved oxygen sensors

Colloidal suspension tester for food labs

Anton Paar has launched the SurPASS 3 that determines the zeta potential at the surface of a macroscopic solid in contact with an aqueous solution. 

The instrument design does not contain any moving parts, unnecessary tubing or cables, which may be subject to measuring artifacts. SurPASS 3 keeps the promise of a real plug-and-measure instrument: simply plug in the measuring cell and hit the START button.

The enhanced SurPASS 3 principle gives access to zeta potential data in less than three minutes. The high time resolution for data acquisition and the extremely sensitive measurement of streaming potential improve the reliability and reproducibility of zeta potential even in the range below 3mV.

The operating software of SurPASS 3 offers the selection of single zeta potential data, the analysis of the surface isoelectric point, or a full pH scan. 

Independent of sample geometry, size and origin, SurPASS 3 determines reliable and reproducible zeta potential values. The measuring cell in use is automatically detected by the SurPASS 3 software.

Together with the enhanced measuring principle of SurPASS 3, the software facilitates the fastest route to the zeta potential of macroscopic solids.

Enhanced level measurement technology from Emerson

Further addressing the tough challenges of accurately measuring level and volume of bulk solids and powders in large vessels, bins and silos, Emerson Process Management has enhanced its range of level measurement devices. 

A number of new functions and certifications will help to minimize maintenance, enable easy integration and expand the range of suitable applications.

“Uneven surfaces, irregular build-up and harsh, dusty and potentially explosive environments make measuring the level of solids in large vessels problematic, impacting inventory control decisions,” said Asael Sharabi, technical director at Emerson Process Management. 

“Emerson’s enhanced Rosemount instrumentation meets these challenges to provide users with greater control of inventories and entire manufacturing processes, with significant financial benefits,” said Sharabi.

The Rosemount 5708 Series 3D Solids Scanner, which uses acoustic measurement and 3D mapping technology to provide highly accurate continuous level and volume measurement, is now suitable for a broader range of applications. 

The device is now ATEX/IECEx certified for installation in areas with potentially explosive atmospheres, often found in solids measurement applications. A new mounting adaptor also allows the device to be installed within electrostatic precipitator (ESP) hoppers. 

By using its 3D visualiSation capability to map out the surface of the fly ash that builds up in the hopper, operators can optimiSe the process, reducing cost, risk and wear and tear on the hopper.

To overcome the difficulty of installation and integration, Emerson has introduced full SCADA integration support for the solids scanner. Users can now seamlessly integrate 3D visualiSation of the surface level into Emerson’s Ovation or DeltaV distributed control systems, delivered directly to control room operators.

For remote solids applications or where there is no existing cable infrastructure, wireless can be the key for a successful project. Both the solids scanner and the Rosemount 5402 Non-contacting Radar, which provides bulk solids level measurement for applications with smaller sized vessels, can now be connected to a WirelessHART network using a Smart Wireless THUM Adapter. This enables easy integration to the automation architecture, reducing installation cost and time.

New functions help to further reduce if not eliminate device maintenance requirements. The new air purging connection for the Rosemount 5402 prevents clogging of the antenna in applications with very dusty environments. The already present self-cleaning function on the Rosemount 5708 can now be complemented with a new PTFE coated antenna which helps extend maintenance intervals even further, especially where extremely sticky materials are present.

Halogen Moisture Analyser

Mettler Toledo has launched its newest halogen moisture analyser, the HC103, which measures moisture content in minutes, enabling fast response times for quality control and in-process control. 

A large colour touchscreen, graphical user guidance and real-time drying curve make the HC103 easy to use, even for untrained operators. Whether you work in a busy laboratory or a harsh production environment, the compact design saves space and the robust construction guarantees a long instrument lifetime.

With touchscreen operation and an intuitive user interface, the HC103 is easy to use. Operators can access drying methods directly from the home screen with just 'One Click'. Just add the sample to the weighing pan, tare and press start. 

As the drying program is running, a real-time drying curve is displayed on the screen to provide an overview of the progress. Operators can clearly see if the measurement is on target and are able to intervene quickly in the production process where necessary.

There is no need to manually record the results as the HC103 can generate result reports in the form of PDF or CSV files in addition to standard printouts. These can be conveniently transferred via the RS232 or USB ports to fulfill documentation and traceability requirements. In addition, new drying methods are easily uploaded to the HC103 via the USB port. 

Mettler Toledo provides a collection of validated drying methods for over 100 different samples.

Hygienic inline measurement and online processing for food makers

The LiquiSonic inline analyzer by SensoTech measures precisely and directly in pipes or vessels the concentration of ingredients in beverages and liquid food. 

The measurement data are transferred online to PCs or process control systems. Measuring the concentration of original gravity (Plato) or alcohol, the analyzer is used in breweries. In the production of mixed and soft drinks or fruit juices, the LiquiSonic sensors determine the Brix content. Moreover, the sensors measure the dry matter content in the production of whey drinks or other liquid dairy products (LDPs).

Monitoring the product quality continuously and in real time, avoids failed batches. Furthermore, the inline concentration measurement enables a resource-efficient process control to save energy and raw materials.

The LiquiSonic technology is based on sonic velocity measurement providing high precision, stable and every second updated concentration values. Compared to other inline measurement techniques sonic velocity meters are extremely robust, maintenance-free and can be integrated without bypass in the process. 

The LiquiSonic sensors are installed directly in main lines of any size, or in vessels. The sensor design meets the high-hygienic requirements of the food industry and some sensor types are 3-A certified.

The LiquiSonic controller displays the measurement values and stores the data. The trend view allows the tracking of the process. If the measurement value exceed or fall below thresholds, a signal will be sent immediately. 

For process automation, the measurement data can be transmitted via 4-20 mA signal, fieldbus (Profibus DP, Modbus), Ethernet or digital outputs.