Instrumentation and calibration experts, AMS, continue to provide the Australian food and beverage industry with high rated solutions as the exclusive provider of technology from Bronkhorst and Beamex.
AMS national sales manager, Thomas Kuiper, detailed to Food & Beverage Industry News how the company’s partnerships with the likes of Beamex and Bronkhorst are critical to success.
“Bronkhorst have several solutions available in food and beverage industry and a lot of them lead to increased flexibility in terms of the production cycle and reduced downtime,” said Kuiper.
“Part of the advantage with Bronkhorst technology is their employment of coriolis and ultrasonics widely in the food and beverage industry.
“These technologies are fluid independent, so the different properties of one additive or another don’t impact the flow measurements. Also, you don’t need to pull your meter apart to clean it, because they are clean in place capable.
“So, setting up between one process and the next is quick and downtime is greatly reduced.”
“They have just brought out new variations so they’re building capability in terms of the flow ranges you can measure with this product,” said Kuiper.
“Another feature with the digital comms creates easier operability for your plant and control systems. The sanitary design is inherent in terms of Bronkhorst’s development of the product. The ultrasonic ES- FLOW has a non-intrusive, straight through flow tube and is sealed as one piece of pipe.
The ES-FLOW is also 3-A authorised to be used on foodstuff applications.
“They are IP66 and IP67 rated, so they work in washdown areas which is important in the food and beverage industry,” said Kuiper.
Another area of focus for Bronkhorst calibration and instrumentation revolves around fluid control.
“They are quick to change,” said Kuiper.
“And they have a wide variety of digital outputs to help log the results which creates added traceability in the batching process.
“You can go access your electronic database months, weeks, years down the track and see if there are issues or if quality was down or up.”
This is considered a great minimiser of cost because the accuracy of the flow device, Kuiper added, batching is much more accurate which in turn improves the quality and reproducibility of your product.
Bronkhorst also have a range of solutions which limits the risks of contamination during the production process.
“In low volume measurements, the advantage of thermal over alternative technologies is they can work with gas or liquid to get measurements and do so with very good accuracy and repeatability, at relatively low cost,” Kuiper added.
“When it comes to packaging, we can use nitrogen or CO2 and carbon monoxide for atmospheric packaging,” he said.
“In the case of packaging meat, you might want to blanket the oxygen or air content in the packaging and replace it with CO2.
“This helps it retain its colour and look better on the shelf for longer. Any sealed packaging with nitrogen to remove oxygen and air also mitigates the risk of contaminants growing in the package.”
There is also the created advantage of reducing waste, which in turn helps profitability grow and the quality of the product also sees an increase at the point of sale.
“Anything you can do to improve the customer experience with your product is a good thing in the long run,” said Kuiper.
A big decision around upscaling or purchasing new equipment is always around the return on investment and how quickly a company can expect to see the machinery, or other solution, begin to strengthen the bottom line after a heavy investment.
“If you talk payback times with some of these technologies, some are quick, the initial layout cost might seem expensive, but you must consider the gains to be made afterwards in the manufacturing process,” said Kuiper.
“This is through less downtime and increased flexibility, which can be a lot quicker than the initial impression might indicate.
“Any time you sell something to any industry you need to justify the expense is worth it in the long run and the benefit is there for the customer.”
Kuiper said AMS can, on most occasions, provide calculations and other data to demonstrate this payback.
AMS is also an exclusive distributor for Beamex calibration system technology.
“If you are going to monitor and maintain quality and efficiency of your plant, then you need to calibrate your instrumentation to ensure that it is up to specifications and is telling you what is happening in the process,” he said.
“That way users can document calibrations and in the event the plant is audited down the track they can supply evidence that they’ve been diligent in calibration.”
Some food applications include adding oil to pizza dough, aeration, and packaging.
“You can do aeration for control of yeast growth in the brewing process and carbonation in soft drinks. Aeration into whipped cream and ice cream helps with the texture, taste, and mouth feel,” said Kuiper.
“Essentially there are solutions right from the mixing to packaging on offer, it really depends on what the customer is looking for in any given situation that informs what we would offer.”
Creating added flexibility is also very important in terms of keeping up with changing consumer trends and tastes.
“An example of that is going from artificial additives to natural additives,” said Kuiper.
“When you are in the confectionary industry it looks good that you are using natural additives but often these natural components are more expensive, so you want to tighter control over the usage.
“Bronkhorst helps with that accuracy to. Making sure you get that trade-off between quality and expense in terms of delivering for your business.”
The growth of ready meals is another sector which highlights the importance of the technologies provided by AMS, Bronkhorst, and Beamex, because consistency and strong packaging techniques are critical factors to the product’s success.
“The ability to reproduce consistently has helped ready meals, they do seem to be a growing trend and you see products in the supermarket more and more,” said Kuiper.
“There is the convenience factor which I think consumers look for in an increasingly busy world.”
This is just a sampling of what AMS provides the food and beverage industry in terms of calibration and instrumentation solutions, all of which can help future proof producers and manufacturers.