Robust measurement technology for the dairy industry: The V-Line

Strict hygiene requirements and large temperature fluctuations are challenges that also confront measuring equipment in the milk processing industry. LABOM has taken up the challenge and is now gradually equipping a large dairy with equipment.

In the milk-processing industry, it is not only hygiene that plays a major role: in milk processing, the equipment - and thus also the measuring devices used - are confronted with large temperature fluctuations. We have taken up the challenge and gradually equipped a large dairy with new devices.

In 2016, one of the large dairies approached us in search of a competent partner for the plant's measurement technology. The reason for contacting us was that some of the measuring points in the plant had proven to be extremely problematic, as the strong temperature fluctuations that occur during the cooling and ultra-high heating of the milk regularly overtaxed the measuring technology used. After only a few weeks, the devices usually had to be replaced because, for example, welding seams or membranes gave way. The extreme temperature fluctuations quickly led to material fatigue and put all the components used to a hard test.

Test quickly proved its worth

As an expert for individual customer solutions and hygienic measurement technology, we took on the problem and initially supplied the PASCAL Ci4 pressure transmitter with a clamp diaphragm seal for testing purposes: This combination is not only characterised by a hygienic design and a very robust construction, but also by a particularly intuitive 4-key user interface. The diaphragms and weld seams are designed for the special conditions in the dairy and can withstand even strong temperature differences without any problems.

The device quickly proved its worth: weeks, months and finally over a year passed without the devices having to be replaced. This success soon opened the door for more extensive cooperation. A total of 1,000 flow measuring points were present in one of the factories, all meticulously monitored by additional temperature and pressure measuring devices. After all, only strict monitoring and compliance with all process data can ensure consistently high quality for large production volumes. The plant in question has a capacity of 100,000 litres of milk per hour on average - an enormous quantity that must be closely monitored continuously. After the positive experience with our devices at the critical measuring points, the pressure and temperature measuring devices at the flow measuring points were now also to be gradually replaced by devices from LABOM.

Compact design - large display

In addition to the proven PASCAL Ci4, we then also got the opportunity to use the brand new V-Line: The new device series features the same advantages and performance as the PASCAL Ci4 series - but with a much more compact design. While the Ci4 still weighs approx. 1.4 kg (with threaded connection) and has a housing diameter of approx. 74 mm, the PASCAL CV4 pressure transmitter and the PASCAL GV4 temperature transmitter weigh approx. 0.7 kg and have a diameter of only 59 mm. The V-Line devices combine a very compact design with a display area of maximum size. The intuitive 4-key user interface supports the user with a dialogue box that is shown in different languages on the high-resolution and well-lit dot-matrix display. A special Quick-Setup facilitates quick entry and parameterisation of the units. In addition, the temperature and pressure transmitters are visually identical: the units first look identical from the outside, which was also important to the operator of the factory, in addition to the technical features. This ensures a uniform appearance.

Unlike the critical measuring points we had previously equipped, however, there was no standard connection in the case of the flow measuring points. Therefore, we first had to design a new process connection adapted to this application. Once this hurdle had been overcome, the previous devices were continuously replaced by ours, a process that continues to this day: whenever a device fails, it is now replaced by one from LABOM. In this process, the dairy trusts our devices so much due to the previous very good experience with the PASCAL Ci4 that they ordered the newly developed V-Line devices before there was even a finished prototype.

Continuous product optimisation

Today, around 1,000 of our devices are already in use in various dairy plants and more are being added all the time. They are not only located at the critical measuring points and the flow measuring points, but also at the lactose filter systems, where the condition and degree of contamination of the filters are monitored with the help of continuous pressure measurements. All of the measuring devices used impress with their hygienic design, high-quality and hygienic surfaces, and ease of cleaning. Despite the very high level of satisfaction on the part of the customer, we are regularly optimising the devices and adapting them even more individually to the production conditions on site. By using ventilation filters, for example, the PASCAL CV4 pressure transmitter can be supplied with the improved IP 69K housing protection class. This option is currently under discussion: The filters in the measuring device, which compensate for pressure differences to the environment and thus prevent measuring errors, would then also be protected against splash water, such as occurs during high-pressure cleaning of the systems.

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