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Conductivity meter for CIP systems

05 January 2018

In order to help guarantee food safety, production and filling facilities must be cleaned regularly. This is usually carried out using an automated CIP (Clean-in-Place) system which eliminates the need to dismantle the process system and is often part of a fully automated production process. 

In the food industry, the correct settings for a CIP process are very comprehensive, since the final CIP processes can often only be defined after the systems have been set-up and meaningful tests have been carried out. Furthermore, there are as many requirements as there are cleaning programs. For example, some systems are cleaned with water only, while chemical cleaning agents like acidic or caustic solutions are used on others. Some recover the water from the last rinsing cycle and use it for the first rinsing cycle of the next CIP sequence in order to help keep overall running costs lower.

Optimising the Interaction of physical parameters

For all cleaning processes, however, the optimum interaction of different physical parameters is critical. The exact concentration of cleaning agents, while taking into account flow rate, pressure, temperature and time, defines a reproducible process which demands systems and components which have the technical properties and flexibility to support CIP safely and cost-effectively. A good example of this is conductivity meters, such as The CombiLyz conductivity meter from BAUMER has proven its worth in numerous CIP systems and meets the highest standards and demands of the food and pharmaceutical industry sectors.

With an accuracy of ±1% and a measuring range of 500 µS/cm to 1000 mS/cm together with fast and accurate temperature compensation, the innovative CombiLyz conductivity meter offers CIP system operators the important features and benefits for optimum process control.

Where CIP systems require acids or alkalis, accurate measurement of concentration levels is essential. While the concentration of the acid or alkali is increasing the conductivity meter controls the specified concentration of the relevant cleaning media. Thanks to precise measurements it ensures that no more chemicals are used than necessary helping to minimise waste and protect the environment.

During the phase separation in the CIP return flow, the CombiLyz quickly recognises different media, even when temperatures fluctuate significantly helping to reduce the loss of stored cleaning agents. After one cleaning cycle, the CombiLyz accurately measures the concentration of the remaining chemicals in the rinse water. With this information, the PLC can control the predefined media circuits exactly and reliably using valve nodes and this reduces the risk of the food being contaminated by residual chemicals.

Robust hygienic design & user-friendly

The robust sensing element of the meter is made entirely of PEEK and in order to meet the demands of different installations, it is available in lengths of 37mm, 60mm and 83mm. Its compact design reduces flow resistance in the process line and since the pipe cross-section is only minimally influenced, deposits and impurities can be more easily flushed out of the system. The hygienically designed sensing element can also be cleaned very easily which is confirmed by the EHEDG certification and conformity with 3-A standards.

The CombiLyz conductivity meter is available with or without CombiView. This large illuminated display can be rotated 360º to enable easy viewing from all directions even from a greater distance. It allows for different view options, for example, the simultaneous display of conductivity and concentration values as well as fully customisable text (water, alkali or acid etc.) Alarms and configurations can be visualised on the device and can also be transmitted to the higher level controller.

Thanks to its integrated relay it can carry out simple control tasks, for example in micro-breweries with low degree of automation where food safety is critical and where values need to be addressed directly without a sophisticated process control system. The same applies to retrofitting of systems being upgraded from manually controlled to partially automated process.

It is available as a compact integral option or as a separate unit with the latter supplied with cable lengths of 2.5m, 5m or 10m. Furthermore, the display and the sensing element can be installed separately if required to ensure maximum flexibility for different mounting positions. Also, a wide range of adapters allows for hygienic installation in most standard process connections making the CombiLyz the ideal solution for many CIP systems.