Various Applications of Flow Meters in the Food and Beverage Industry

Food and Beverage Industry

The food and beverage industry maintains highly controlled facilities to maintain quality and production efficiency. Hence, automation is an essential element for most of the processes involved in manufacturing products. Apart from sophisticated machines, there is also a need to use flow meters of various capacities for monitoring and measurement. Flow meters are essential components of equipment used in measuring the volume, pressure, and flow of different kinds of fluid such as water.

Flow meters used in breweries

If you’ve ever been to a brewery, one of the things you will notice are the assortment of tanks containing fluids, ingredients, and other mixtures needed for every stage of the brewing process. Water flow meters measure the flow rate and amount of water required to facilitate beer production. In different stages of the process, flow meters are needed to regulate temperature or control the separation of grain from the fermented barley mixture.

Flow meters used in producing soft drinks and other carbonated beverages

One of the challenges with soft drink production is accurate CO2 measurement. One of the most common, and old, technologies applied in this situation is to install differential flow meters which engineers control so that the right amount of CO2 gets used in producing carbonated beverages. But although this is an effective method of flow measurement, differential flow meters are susceptible to the effects of pressure and temperature change. Many manufacturers today use thermal flow meters as an alternative to differential flow meters because this instrument can quickly measure volume but does not have the same vulnerability to pressure and temperature.

Flow meters used in bakery goods

Factories that manufacture baked goods make the dough in large batches. Flow meters are used to measure and control the amount of water and other ingredients used. If these ingredients are not adequately controlled and regulated, it may result in a bad batch of dough which will end up as waste. In many baked goods manufacturing facilities, they use liquid sugar which needs to be stored at a certain temperature to maintain the right viscosity. When seasons change, flow meters help in keeping liquid sugar and other ingredients viable for production.

Flow meters used in food fermentation

Some food and beverage manufacturing processes produce carbon dioxide and heat. The carbon dioxide produced from fermentation, like in breweries, is turned into liquid and sold to other industries that need it. For example, food grade CO2 is essential in soft drink production, while industrial quality CO2 is then converted into coolant or dry ice. Controlling the production and storage of CO2 by-products requires flow meters for maintaining pressure and temperature.

Flow meters used in beverage production

Beverage production poses a few unique challenges for engineers as well. For example, orange juice extract is a highly viscous substance which contains a significant amount of solid particles like pulp. Selecting the right flow meter to facilitate the movement of viscous fluid through assembly lines is crucial. The most straightforward flow meter design is designed to allow particles to pass through pipes and not cause any obstruction.