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In-line viscosity measurements have numerous advantages

In many production processes in the food industry, viscosity plays a key role in controlling the production process. For example chocolate, the production of (aroma) pastas, sauces, creams, fondants or milk powder. Knowledge about the viscosity of food products makes it possible to optimize the production process of drying and/or filling and (also) ensures a consistently high quality of the end product.

In the (milk) powder production, controlling the viscosity in the liquid phase contributes to a more efficient spray-drying process. Although viscosity measurements are already widely used in the food industry, this does not apply to in-line viscosity measurements. Especially now, in this time of rising costs of ingredients and materials, the increasing number of competitors, the higher expectations of the customer and the desire to produce in a more environmentally conscious way, food producers can benifit from an in-line or online viscosity meter. The process can be controlled in real time with an in-line or online measurement; the measurement is no longer done manually. It ensures constant high-quality product quality and measurable savings (such as fewer scrap or recalls, reduced energy consumption and an accelerated time-to-market).

Different methods to measure viscosity in food

But how do you know what the right in-line viscosity analyzer is for your feeding process? After all, there are different analyzers on the market that use different measurement methods that can be used in-line in food processes. There are various methods for an in-line viscosity measurement suitable for the food industry, such as rotation, vibration and torsion. These methods are used for all types of liquids, pastes and slurries.

Vibration: A resonator is immersed in a liquid and the degree of damping from the liquid is measured to determine the viscosity. A bar is simply built into the process.

Torsion: in a torsional balance, the deflection is measured between two cylinders, the interior of which rotates at a fixed speed. The liquid to be measured is located in the annular space between the two cylinders

Rotation: A spindle (cylinder or disk) is immersed in the fluid to be examined and then the force that the spindle needs to overcome the inertia of the fluid is measured. The viscosity meter then determines the viscosity of the measuring liquid.

The advantages and disadvantages of the different techniques for measuring viscosity in food

Rotational techniques are more bothered by process fluctuations or vibrations and flow changes. In addition, the technology is less easy to integrate into the process. Often the entire process needs to be adjusted to make an in-line measurement possible.

The vibration technique is very accurate, can be easily integrated into the process (small, pin-shaped) and does not suffer from process vibrations or flow changes.

The most reliable viscosity meters for in-line measurement in food products

Sofraser is the inventor of vibration-viscosity meters at resonance frequency that has been providing reliable and flexible viscosity measurements in many different processes for 30 years. There are different types of vibration viscosity meters at resonance frequency in different price ranges; in-tank, online, in-line and at-line.

The updated MIVI sensor from Sofraser can be used in-line, for example in spray drying processes for making (milk) powder. Or in the production of (aroma) pastes, sauces, creams or fondants where knowledge about the viscosity optimizes the drying and filling process and (also) ensures a consistently high quality of the end product. Because the MIVI sensor is ATEX certified, performs under high pressure (up to 250 bar) and at high temperatures, the measurement is extremely suitable for feeding processes. The MIVI analyzer from Sofraser is available in various designs and additional options. And there are various mounting options such as wall mounting (in a reactor or vessel), in-line (bypass) and in a measuring chamber (for small and flexible pipes).

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Inventech is the specialist in (inline) viscosity meters for the food industry