We recently released our new and innovative Series 9 food gauge which offers adaptability for the changing demands of food processing environments. Our Market Manager, Dr Andy Grady, spoke with Dairy Industries International Magazine to discuss how this gauge evolved and the benefits it brings to the food industry. Check out the interview below.
Q. How long has it taken to develop the new food gauge?
NDC Technologies has been making process measurement gauges/sensors for just over 50 years. Each new product takes the experience learned from its previous generation and enhances it to the next level. The Series 9 gauge has taken nearly three years to develop and involved continuous voice of customer to ensure it encapsulated the features and functions that satisfy their current and future needs. In brief, the Series 9 is a flexible, future-proof platform that harnesses the full power of infrared spectroscopy. The for-mat requires no special operator skills or expert knowledge, yet it allows expert users to access the enhanced interaction capabilities as desired.
Q. What is the difference in the gauge and industrial versions?
All gauges are “industrial” and the process measurement requirements differ between industrial applications. The Series 9 gauge is configurable and adapt-able to meet the challenging demands of each factory environment. This not only includes measurement capability, such as for the dairy industry with simultaneous measurements of moisture, fat and protein, but also process safety and enter-prise-level intelligence and connectivity compatible with Industry 4.0. The Series 9 is robust, fit for purpose and designed to perform over the 10+ years life span.
Q. What is the difference between these and previous products?
The Series 9 delivers greater processing power to perform more advanced, required measurements. It is equipped with an intuitive graphical user interface that delivers process vision with historical trending and embedded measurement calibration adjustment tools. A cast 316L stainless-steel enclosure, sealed to IP67 as standard, makes the gauge more hygienic and robust. A visible “heartbeat” light pulse shows at-a-glance that all is well, and this indication is mirrored in our user interface, which we call the “Gauge Control Interface”. Innovative advanced diagnostic tools (ready for Industry 4.0) provide maximum productivity up-time and other leading features ensure a lower cost of ownership over the lifetime of operation.
Q. Where do you expect to see the greatest take-up?
Our near-infrared (NIR) gauges are used for process monitoring and control purposes in a broad scope of food processes. Any process where energy is expended, such as spray-drying, baking or frying, coupled with the demand for consistent product quality, will benefit from the Series 9.
Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge right now?
Operational expenditure is under great scrutiny today. Having a solution that you can rely on to optimise process equipment usage, by avoiding excessive energy expenditure and making each batch to optimal specification, is important.
Q. Where exactly would you install it on a line?
The gauge is no larger in size than a typical shoe box. For the dairy industry, it is especially suited for measurement of moisture, fat and protein at the final stages of the drying/cooling of powders (including whey protein). This enables the operator to control the processing operation to tighter specification tolerances. It is also used in various cheese processing operations.
Q. What other features do you have for customers?
In addition to a large group of process NIR scientists, we have an applications laboratory in Maldon, UK. This location is where we also manufacture the key optical components. If our customers need us to look at novel products that might not behave in the way their usual products behave, we can do this.
For on-going support, an applications technical support team and customer service engineers are on hand to provide support. We also have a cloud-based customer portal, myNDC. com, which offers a searchable knowledge base with FAQs, remote support, and assistance with calibration and product documentation, as well as our on-line chat feature.
Thanks to Dairy Industries International Magazine for allowing us to share this great story. Article published in the June 2020 issue.