Pharmaceutical supplier opts for innovative hygienic flowmeter
Specialist machinery manufacturer L.B. Bohle has developed a cleaning system for the pharmaceutical industry using Bürkert’s innovative FLOWave flowmeter to ensure a compact, hygienic and very accurate process.
Incorporating the latest in flow measurement technology has minimised the equipment’s footprint and reduced both operating costs and maintenance time.
Rigorous hygiene standards, such as those required in pharmaceutical production, are needed to avoid contamination and ensure optimum conditions for the manufacturing process. Using either clean-in-place (CIP) or sterilisation-in-place (SIP) protocols, production machinery and vessels must undergo thorough cleaning in accordance with precisely regulated procedures at regular intervals after each product change, sometimes involving very complex processes.
In the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, flowmeters need to deliver high precision feedback while also meeting these strict hygiene standards. Bürkert’s FLOWave flowmeter uses patented surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology to deliver precision measurements from a very compact unit with no inline flow restrictions … even in turbulent or contaminated flow environments.
L.B. Bohle Maschinen + Verfahren GmbH is a recognised specialist in this field and has established itself around the world with its machinery and equipment for the pharmaceutical industry, ranging from scales, granulators, sieves and mixers to tablet film coaters and the corresponding cleaning equipment. These include the compact pharmaceutical universal cleaning system, PUR, which is designed specifically to clean containers of a variety of sizes.
The recipes for the various cleaning processes contain the proportions of water relative to the alkaline or acidic cleaning agents. Normally, the mixing proportions range from 1–3%, with cleaning solutions of all pH levels being used.
Flowrates are measured using the FLOWave flowmeter, which works with an uninterrupted tube that exactly matches the diameter of the inlet and outlet pipes. Bürkert’s innovative designers have created a perfect flowmeter for CIP such that none of the sensor components are in direct contact with the fluid and there’s no restriction to flow.
The compact size and low weight also enable easy installation in the control cabinet. With an orifice of 50 mm, FLOWave only weighs approximately 3.5 kg, for example, and can easily be fitted or replaced by one person. It can be installed in any orientation, enabling the display to be adjusted to ensure its readability and providing easy access to the flowmeter during start-up for configuration.
Compared with a Coriolis equivalent, the compact size, lightweight construction and ease of installation benefits are quite clear. Furthermore, the process for calibrating the FLOWave and commissioning it can be achieved in less than 60 seconds using an intuitive menu process.
By making these processes easier, Bürkert aims to maximise productivity. In addition, the onboard software can be used to adjust the K-factor of the FLOWave and take account of shorter pipe lengths upstream of the flowmeter, making it ideal for skid applications and locations with limited space.
Having installed the new flowmeter, L.B. Bohle has since been impressed with the numerous benefits offered by its practical use. The FLOWave is ideally suited to hygienic applications with the measuring tube manufactured to the same surface finish as the rest of the pipeline, meaning that, in terms of hygiene, cleaning and flow conditions, there is no difference to any other piece of straight pipe.
The measurement is performed without any contact between the sensor elements and the media. The sensors are not affected by fluids and the medium is not contaminated by these either.
This constitutes hygienic design and makes cleaning easier. There is also no pressure drop in the system because the measuring tube is no different than any other straight pipe piece for flow purposes. The measurement works regardless of whether the fluids are immobile, flowing quickly or alternating.
During operation, the flowmeter consumes much less energy than a Coriolis flowmeter, for instance, which is also a much larger construction. There is also no maintenance work necessary, which significantly reduces the operating costs among users of PUR systems. The flowmeter is completely made of stainless steel and measures volume flow rates with a precision of 0.4%. Depending on the orifice size, the nominal pressure can be up to 40 bar.
The measurement device is offered with nominal pipe sizes of DN15, DN25, DN40 and DN50, and pipe and clamp fixtures that comply with ASME, ISO and, in principle, SMS. The design uses CANopen with extensions, allowing it to establish complete network topologies that allows Bürkert to offer customers ready made solutions that are completely flexible and customised to their exact requirements.
Bürkert has looked to address all of these issues in the creation of a new flowmeter technology and design that has the potential to transform the market in terms of liquid flow measurement. Through the development of existing technology and the use of advanced electronics, Bürkert has delivered a revolutionary method of liquid flow measurement that can be employed in a wide range of applications.
NB: This article will appear in the March 2019 issue of Manufacturing Chemist. A recent digital edition is available online.