In two weeks, on 13 November 2018, the BrauBeviale opens its doors in Nuremberg, Germany. In hall 6, booth 120, we will present measurement technology for hygienic process areas and utilities. As People for Process Automation, we support food safety requirements with accredited calibration services and self-calibrating devices. Ola Wesstrom, who leads the Endress+Hauser US activities in the food & beverage industry, explains our customers’ needs and challenges.
Mr Wesstrom, what are the most pressing issues in the food & beverage industry?
There are a couple of challenges. Food safety is definitely the highest priority. This drives the need for education, process improvements and reporting in our industry. Additionally, in most parts of the world food is very inexpensive. This underlines the need for highly efficient operations. Balancing operational expenses while meeting the ever-changing consumer demand for new products is another issue. Above all, we must recognize the challenges that population growth will bring.
What does the food & beverage industry expect from measurement engineering?
Reliability of instrumentation and trust in measurements is of utmost importance. With fewer operators in plants, the measurement and control must work. Most plants run a very lean operation with minimal maintenance staff. This means repairs, replacements and calibrations need to be fast and easy.
What are the current industry trends with regards to process instrumentation and automation?
Most plants still rely on 4 to 20 milliampere signals. But forward-thinking market leaders utilize digital protocols such as Ethernet IP, Profinet or IO-Link to take advantage of state-of-the-art process and instrument diagnostics and multivariable capabilities. Instrumentation and systems designed to the highest hygienic standards allow for more efficient cleaning which saves water, chemicals, time and energy, all important for efficient operations. We also see a growing interest for in-line or at-line quality-related measurements as a supplement to lab measurements. This approach helps to speed up production and reduce off-spec products.
In what areas has process engineering chalked up the most progress in recent years?
Water conservation is a top initiative for many processors and a lot of progress has been made by measuring and controlling water usage. Measurement improvements for change-over and clean-in-place procedures are often the main contributors to successfully conserving water and reducing product loss while balancing food safety. Membrane filtration has also been one of the largest differentiators in the past decade. This technology is used for separating a variety of products into new value-driven ingredients. Both areas still have a lot of untapped potential. I also see continued growth in shelf-stable products.
Visit us in hall 6, booth 120, and experience all of the innovations first-hand. We look forward to many interesting discussions.
Our topics at the BrauBeviale at a glance: