Pharmaceutical supplier opts for innovative hygienic flowmeter

Published: 24-Apr-2019

L.B. Bohle has developed a cleaning system for the pharmaceutical industry using Bürkert’s innovative FLOWave flowmeter for a compact, hygienic and very accurate process

Specialist process machinery manufacturer, L.B. Bohle, has developed a cleaning system for the pharmaceutical industry using Bürkert’s innovative FLOWave flowmeter for a compact, hygienic and very accurate process. Incorporating the latest in flow measurement technology has minimised equipment footprint and reduced operating costs as well as maintenance time.

Rigorous hygiene standards, such as those required in pharmaceutical production, are required to avoid contamination and ensure optimum conditions for the manufacturing process. Using either clean-in-place (CIP) or sterilisation-in-place (SIP), 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 hygiene standards. Bürkert’s FLOWave flowmeter uses patented surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology to deliver precision measurements from a very compact unit, with no in-line flow restrictions, even in turbulent or contaminated flow.

L.B. Bohle 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 for cleaning containers of a variety of sizes.

Compact control

All the components for transporting and treating the cleaning water in the PUR system are stored within a stainless-steel cabinet. This enables the compact unit to be easily stored in the washing area, where the processes are run according to a specific recipe and documented automatically. A touch panel mounted on the cabinet enables convenient local operation.

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 between 1 and 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 where none of the sensor components are in direct contact with the fluid and which causes no restriction to flow.

Lightweight design

The compact size and low weight also enable easy installation in the control cabinet. With an orifice of 50 mm, FLOWave only weighs around 3.5 kilograms for example, and can be easily 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.

One of the first observations centred on the compact size, lightweight construction and ease of installation, compared to a Coriolis equivalent. Furthermore, the process for calibrating the FLOWave and commissioning it can be achieved in under 60 seconds using an intuitive menu process.

By making these processes easier, Bürkert aims to maximise productivity. In addition, the on-board 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.

Innovative technology

Having installed the new flowmeter, L.B. Bohle has since been impressed with numerous benefits offered by these flowmeters in 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.

Precise and future-proof

The compact pharmaceutical universal cleaning system PUR is designed specifically for cleaning containers of a variety of sizes

The compact pharmaceutical universal cleaning system PUR is designed specifically for cleaning containers of a variety of sizes

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% of the measured value. 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 with pipe and clamp fixtures in accordance with ASME, ISO and SMS and can in principle also be used without a display. The design uses CAN open with extensions, allowing it to establish complete network topologies which allows Bürkert to offer customers ready-made solutions with complete flexibility 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 which 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.

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