Conductivity sensors are ideally suited for use in the food industry. They detect the conductivity and concentration of different media and can differentiate between e.g. cleaning agents, rinsing water, and the food product. This means that it is not only possible to constantly track the product but also to reduce the waste of product and rinsing water– all without making adjustments to the sensor. Precise, fast and reliable process measurements help to improve plant availability and optimise cleaning cycles.
In order to stay competitive, it is important to minimise production downtime without compromising the safety and quality of the product. Monitor detergent concentration and completed chemical flush out of the line. Conductivity can be used to detect the phase separation between rinsing water, caustic or acidic CIP solutions and the product. Only a measurable difference in the media’s conductivity is required.
ifm uses a CIP cleaning system for application tests of the process sensors. This system can be operated with different media, pressures and temperatures in order to test the sensors as close as possible to the customer applications. The system features a common industrial controller for operation and limited monitoring.
It does not feature any sensors for measuring conductivity.
The aim of the project is to an install additional monitoring solution in the test system in order to tap and analyse historical data in greater depth. This will create greater transparency and enable future process optimisations.The existing PLC remains unchanged. With the plant’s expansion, the data will be transferred to moneo RTM via IO-Link devices.
At ifm, moneo|RTM is installed on a central server. The IO-Link master is connected to the server via an internal VLAN. Two LDL200 conductivity sensors were installed at the inlet and outlet of the CIP plant and connected to the IO-Link master.
The plant was digitised successfully without any changes or interventions to the existing PLC or software.
Relevant sensor information can be visualised quickly and individually via the smart dashboard.Preconfigured instruments, such as thermometers or line diagrams, help to graphically visualise current process values. Images in standard formats (PNG, JPEG, GIF...) can be directly uploaded to the dashboard.Users can easily navigate between different dashboards using the navigation markers.
The following image shows the dashboard visualisation of the full plant.The navigation markers link directly to other dashboards, which provide further details on the relevant area:
The analysis provides easy access to historical data and compares different process values. For example, it can be measured how long it took for the conductivity in the inlet and outlet to reach the same level. This supports the machine operator in optimising the process. Expensive rinsing processes, e.g. with acids and alkalis, can be optimised.
This function generates added value from the process data. Process values can be linked and used for calculations. For example, in CIP plants, the conductivity difference at the inlet and outlet plays an important role. It can be used to estimate how well the system is flushed with the corresponding medium (water, acid, alkali, etc.). When the difference nears 0µS/cm, it can be assumed that the system is completely flushed.