Industry is digitalising

APPROVED WIKA released its PGW23 Industrial Internet of Things-ready burdon tube pressure gauge for the industry last year, with the product receiving Independent Communications Authority of South Africa approval this year

IN A JAM The barrels used to transport and store the jam need to be mobile to allow for easier transportation and offloading without compromising the preservatives

2nd September 2022

By: Sabrina Jardim

Creamer Media Writer


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The introduction of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has shifted the focus towards enabling better monitoring of some critical and noncritical processes in the food and beverage industry, with companies aiming for better fault finding to allow for greater efficiency in production processes.

Measuring instruments supplier WIKA aims to supply customers in the industry with relevant technological solutions, as they enable connectivity for more efficient processing and management.

“We aim to become a one-stop shop to provide not only measuring devices for customers but also the added benefit of connectivity, data provision and front-end platform,” says WIKA senior consultant Lloyd Townsend.

WIKA released its PGW23 Industrial Internet of Things-ready burdon tube pressure gauge for the industry last year, with the product receiving Independent Communications Authority of South Africa approval this year.

This gauge transforms traditional mechanical pressure measurement into a smart data enabler with wireless connectivity.

“The PGW23 can be a gateway to better enablement, meaning that the customer does not have to sacrifice local measurement capability, but simply has the addition of a digital interface,” Townsend explains.

The device enables users to collect and process data in a unique way to create efficiency opportunities or supervise their processes.

Townsend cites a client that produces thousands of litres of jam at a time, with the jam requiring adequate preservation to prevent it from crystalising or going stale.

The barrels used to transport and store the jam need to be mobile to allow for easier transportation and offloading without compromising the preservatives.

Hence, solutions, such as the PGW23, save time by allowing all relevant data to be collected and supervised online without manual intervention.

However, the adoption of new technologies in the industry remains stagnant, owing to hesitation within industry to adopt them.

“One of the primary challenges we face is that these new solutions are perceived as concepts and as such the market or end-user does not want to be the proverbial guinea pig to test this new technology and further questions the reliability to achieve the anticipated outcomes,” explains Townsend.

Safety Standards

The food and beverage industry is driven by the consumer, whereby cleanliness is important to enable quality assurance and to avoid mistakes around health and cleanliness in the production process.

Townsend explains that the 2017/18 Listeriosis outbreak illustrates the impact of poor hygiene in production processes.

Meeting these standards is necessary to ensure that the finished food and beverage products are fresh.

Townsend explains, for example, that if the correct cleaning protocols are not followed, or the equipment in use is not compliant to the prescribed hygienic design criteria, the consumable product’s integrity could be compromised creating consequences to the consumer and the producer’s brand.

To assist in the cleaning process, measuring instruments are designed with separation elements, where said element complies with certain surface finishes and materials to assure the separation from the process media and enable limited risk of environment contact to the food media.

With pressure measurement, the diaphragm seal typically uses a transmission liquid to enable the pressure measurement; the liquid should, therefore, be nontoxic and consumable should it so happen that this element is damaged, all to avoid consumers falling ill and manufacturers potentially losing a lot of revenue.

These safety standards are important to the original equipment manufacturers as the food producers could impose legal repercussions if the statutory requirements were overlooked.

“If an investigation is launched and findings point to illnesses borne from the contamination of a toxic liquid and the liquid originated from a design flaw in the measuring device, we could be held liable. With health and safety measures being more stringent globally, it becomes important for us to adhere to these requirements,” adds Townsend.

To avoid these risks, WIKA has regulations in place to ensure that testing protocols are implemented to support the unique requirements for the food and beverage industry.

The company is seeking to get involved in logistics-related applications to enable efficiency with monetary savings, owing to heightened fuel prices. It is also conducting research on how to use the technology to create surveillance of foodstuffs through monitoring solutions.

“We want to show the market that there is value in data and digitised measurement technology. We don’t just make gauges, we create added value from measured value,” concludes Townsend.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features



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