Before wine is bottled, it is filtered to remove suspended particles. In a centrifuge application, solid particles in the wine are separated and will accumulate in the centrifuge drum bowl.
Once the drum bowl is full of solids, they must be purged to maintain the continuous process and, more importantly, sustain the processor’s wine quality standard. If the drum bowl is not purged in time, solids will pass through the centrifuge and flow to the packing line. If the drum is purged to early, wine, along with the solids, will be pushed to drain, reducing production yield.
ITM-4 Turbidity Meter
In the centrifuge application, when the drum bowl begins to reach the fill level, wine turbidity at the discharge of the centrifuge will start to rise. This increase in turbidity is easily detected by the ITM-4. With a range of 0 to 5000 NTU, the ITM-4 4-20mA signal can be scaled to accurately measure product turbidity and signal the PLC when process turbidity setpoints are reached. For this application, the ITM-4 was scaled to monitor turbidity between 30 to 40 NTU.
Knowing a wine’s turbidity in Cross-Flow filtration applications enables wineries to confirm equipment performance, specifically by continuously measuring retentate turbidity.
In addition to filtration performance, turbidity meters are used to program the filter backflush program timing and provides an indication of filter capillary straw condition.
During Cross-Flow filtration, the filtrate and permeate are permanently separated, preventing the formation of a filter cake reducing the need to clean the filter.
A thick, hazy wine can quickly block the filters on a machine requiring the filtration process to be immediately stopped to clean the filters.
ITM-4 Turbidity Meter
The ITM-4 turbidity meter continuously monitors wine filter retentate prior to the packing stage. Wines bottled for immediate consumption have a clarity requirement of <1.0 NTU, which is entirely within the specification of the ITM-4. With range settings from 0 to 5000 NTU, the ITM-4 is ideal for low turbidity measurement.
The ITM-4, with its process automation, could eliminate the traditional method of periodically checking the filters, which was very time-consuming.
In both applications in the winery, centrifuge control and filtration monitoring, ITM-4 provided several major benefits compared to the former visual and time base control:
- Consistent product quality due to process automation.
- Time savings by eliminating the need for visual filter inspection.
- More process reliability due to active and automatic centrifuge drum purge control.
- Cost savings thanks to minimal down-times.