Ensuring product quality, efficiency, consistency, and safety through advanced process analytics

Analytical Session
John C Morgan, Mettler Toledo, Bedford, MA USA
Co-author(s): Brian Vaillancourt, Mettler Toledo, Bedford, MA, USA; Stefan Bardeck, Mettler Toledo, Urdorf, Switzerland

ABSTRACT: Implementing proper in-line measurement of DO, CO2, pH, haze, and conductivity methodologies at specific points in the brewing and packaging process creates opportunities to save money, improve product quality, reduce maintenance time and cost, and improve safety. For example, measuring conductivity in the filling tank and lines has been demonstrated to be an effective method for determining when the water used to clean and rinse the tanks and pipes has been drained away. This measurement technique replaces manual processes that rely either on visual inspection of the flow through a sight glass or simple timing to ensure the water has been flushed away. Being able to detect the true phase separation between water and beer saves labor time and minimizes product waste. Product quality can be enhanced in several ways, such as measuring pH during mashing and wort boiling to maximize yield and consistency. Measuring dissolved oxygen prior to bottling ensures a long shelf life and prevents spoilage. A new technique for monitoring and stabilizing ppb oxygen measurements using optical sensors increases operational uptime with minimal maintenance, improves measurement accuracy, and enhances speed of response. Product safety and cost savings can be achieved through the use of pH sensors to monitor caustic cleaning cycles. When cleaning piping with caustic, it is imperative to ensure that all the cleaning solution is rinsed away before filling the lines with beer. The use of in-line pH measurement can determine precisely when all the caustic has been rinsed away, saving time, reducing operational costs, and assuring product safety. Having sensors in-line creates a need to maintain them to ensure accurate and reliable measurements. With ever-decreasing operating budgets, it is imperative that sensor installation be simple and that maintenance be predictive. New intelligent “plug and measure” sensors minimize calibration and setup time and offer sensor wear information and alarms to alert maintenance crews to the need to change or maintain sensors before they break down, thus preventing disruption in the production flow.

John C. Morgan is a product manager for Mettler Toledo North America and is responsible for its family of process analytical instruments used to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, turbidity, and carbon dioxide. John received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY.