On-line technologies for food process control
Automated control of food processes enables greater process efficiency, more consistent product quality, and improved food quality and safety assurance. Harnessing these benefits requires reliable on-line sensors capable of measuring relevant process conditions and product characteristics. A wide range of sensors are available, but many properties still rely on manual sampling and analysis.
We are evaluating new approaches to on-line measurement. Electrical tomography, for example, is a non-invasive approach that measures the distribution of materials inside process vessels based on their electrical properties. Applications include interface detection, and measurement of homogeneity, aeration, and flow rate. Through practical trials we have explored applications for batter, sauces and fruit juice, based on conductivity. Capacitance systems are also available, suitable for non-conducting materials such as fat-based products and dry particulates.
Trials of further technologies are planned, including a foreign body detection system for pumpable products. As with all member projects, suggestions are welcomed for both trial products and technologies.
Contact: Martin Whitworth