Hygiene Under High Pressure: Pressure and Level Switches for Food Production
Milk is tops! But what makes milk so special? It’s not just a healthy blend of protein, nutrients and vitamins, but the end result of a safe, hygienic production process. New compact measuring instruments from VEGA prove: automation in food production can be very simple and economical without compromising on hygiene or safety.
The quality demands on food are higher today than ever before. Products are being manufactured more and more according to individual tastes, which makes ever faster batch changes necessary. Consumers trust that everything is safe and hygienic at all times – and rarely think about the extensive network of safety measures that make it possible.
Intelligent system design is one of them. It supports the reliability, efficiency and hygiene of manufacturing processes – with the help of hi-tech sensors and the reliable measured values they deliver.
Level and pressure measurement technology from VEGA, in particular the plics® modular instrument series, has been making a significant contribution to safety and efficiency for many decades now – as if it were tailor-made for the high demands of the food industry. Food products do not require extreme solutions, but, in many areas, just simple optimization and cost-effective production methods.
Here, less is usually more. VEGA has therefore expanded its product range to include a compact instrument series. It proves: Automation can be both simple and highly efficient without sacrificing dependability, hygiene or accuracy.
For extreme and standard applications
Standard applications, in particular, can be automated very economically with the new compact pressure sensors and level switches with IO-Link. Integration as well as adjustment are especially easy to carry out. IO-Link ensures transparency throughout the entire production chain and seamless communication, from the field level right through to the control system.
This performance class also guarantees cross-device connection options that support the continuous improvement of production facilities. The focus here is on compactness, flexibility, safety and optimized hygiene.
CIP cleaning – a real endurance test
Time is becoming an increasingly important factor in food production processes, and hygienic production in particular requires a lot of it. CIP cleaning is one of the most time-consuming process steps. The potential for savings here lies essentially in consistent hygienic design that allows production systems to be cleaned and sterilized more quickly.
However, in view of the industry’s high cleanliness requirements, this assumes that the sped-up cleaning processes can still be relied on 100%. It requires components whose geometry does not allow microorganisms to collect in dead spaces and which are also capable of withstanding the cleaning and sterilization processes themselves.
Media that are hard on the materials of the measuring instruments are, for example, substances with a high fat content as well as aromatic substances. The cleaning agents are also very aggressive, making it necessary to use materials with high chemical resistance. The new VEGABAR and VEGAPOINT instrument series easily withstand both problematic media and detergents. These pressure sensors and level switches tolerate high temperatures without loss of function and even cope with the combination of high temperature and long exposure times.
Hygienic design down to the last detail
What “Hygienic by Design” means in concrete terms can be seen even in the smallest components of the new sensor series. All surfaces of VEGABAR 29 and 39 sensors that come into contact with the medium are made of stainless steel and have optimal surface roughness values. What is more, VEGABAR 28 and 38 are available in high-strength ceramic versions and VEGAPOINT sensors as PEEK versions.
All materials are approved and tested according to FDA and EC 1935/2004. This is confirmed by independent laboratories and institutes. The design of the instruments is certified according to the European EHEDG Directive and the North American 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. Both standards prescribe the use of corrosion-resistant materials only.
The components are also designed in accordance with GMP regulations (Good Manufacturing Practices), which ensures that microorganisms are reliably removed by cleaning and cannot multiply on surfaces or in gaps.
Only as much as necessary – for optimal results
The new VEGABAR and VEGAPOINT instrument series are the answer to the growing demand for simple sensors with reduced variance that support increasingly efficient food production. Higher efficiency requires more standardised products that are as easy as possible to use but still cover all basic hygienic requirements. It also calls for better networked products with easy connectivity to existing control systems and mobile devices. To fulfil both imperatives, VEGA now follows the motto: “As little as possible – but with no compromises in quality.”