Process Analysis Matters
Food, snack foods and animal feeds are highly processed today to extend the life and application of the raw materials into endless products. If one consider maize starch as an example. It is extracted from maize, modified and segregated in process lines which conducts chemical, cooking or baking modification. Maize germ, chop and chaff finds its way into animal feeds. The protein or maize gluten finds itself into a protein source for humans and animals alike. Starch and oil finds itself going into anything from paper, pharmaceuticals, paint, snack foods, energy drinks and sugar alternatives.
Food and feed technologists work endlessly to get to the magic recipe which optimise the product value and elevate their product above the competition.
Sampling and analysing these raw materials as they are going through their modification processes is key to achieve the optimum result and to maintain product specification and quality.
Carl Zeiss, Germany, is one company that takes the human experience very seriously. Producing lenses, research optics and optoelectronic technology since 1848.
Ronin System Solutions is proudly associated with Carl Zeiss AG, bringing inline spectroscopy and processing technology to Southern Africa.
Corona extreme is the most robust NIR sensor on the market. The sensor can come with an ePC so that the system works independently as a smart sensor to be integrated for instance in SPS controlled machinery. Instrument mounted to a sapphire window which is installed in the grain chute.
Corona process is a combined NIR/VIS spectrometer which is able to measure ingredients and colour simultaneously. The distance to the sample can vary from 80 mm – 600 mm so that no direct contact to the product is required.
All protection standards and hygienic needs are met.
In-line process control:
the key to more efficiency
ZEISS was one of the first companies to develop spectrometers for
operation in the farming industry, for example on harvesting machines.
The spectrometer systems are used under really harsh conditions and
are able to deliver precise results despite fluctuating temperatures,
vibrations and shocks.
The real challenge for the food industry is to offer a product with consistent quality using raw materials which are themselves subject to ongoing natural fluctuation. To ensure a consistent process flow, the entire process must be monitored at all stages.
Starting with quality analysis of raw materials, ongoing monitoring is required at stages throughout the process and for final inspection of the finished product. The monitoring programme can also support process optimisation. An additional benefit of monitoring is to control the residual materials in order to determine the value of the ‘waste’ in case of re-utilisation.
The commonality of all in-line sensors from ZEISS is the software. The InProcess software enables the user to control several spectrometers at the same time. In addition to performance, ease of useis the primary purpose of the software strategy. Owing to its clear format, it is intuitive to handle. The graphic user interface, which comprises icon menus, has been optimised for touch-screens and seems simple even at first sight.
The completely new InProcess software allows simple configuration of the measurement process. In addition, the software allows the use of calibrations from all standard chemometric software packages.
To achieve the highest operational standard, the sensor system has
to be connected to the control system of the production line. ZEISS
enables its sensors to communicate with the production line on OPC
base with the software tool ProcessLinker.
Conditions and parameters vary from case to case and application.
We face liquids, pasty goods or solids and conditions in-between.
We have conditions from extremely cold to hot and extreme humidity.
Therefore, the measurement hardware has to deal with these conditions,
survive and deliver reliable results. For almost all the applications there
is a sensor from ZEISS that fits perfectly in the environment on site.
The integration and calibration work can be done by ZEISS service staff,
ZEISS partners or by the customer itself.