Foam measurement technology from Hycontrol has resulted in cost savings of approximately £30,000 in the effluent treatment plant of one of Europe’s largest cereal manufacturing sites


ater and waste treatment are often carried out at large food

manufacturing sites, and cereal is no different. Foaming in effluent tanks, in particular, can become a major problem if left unchecked. Foamy, dirty overspills are a very messy occurrence, and clean-ups of such events cost both time and money. Liquid overspills create health and safety risks by putting employees in danger of injury from slips and falls. Additionally, serious pollution can result if foam escapes into the environment. The most common method of reducing

and removing foam, and the risks that it generates, is to dose the effluent or process with antifoaming chemicals, breaking up the foam as it forms and preventing it from rising to a troublesome level. This is usually done by dosing the chemical into the foaming process automatically, often on a timer basis. Chemicals are usually added in quantities based on the maximum expected demand. Although this does result in existing foam subsiding and being kept down, the method is inefficient and can

also create additional concerns. The first problem arising from automatic

dosing is that of cost. Antifoam is an expensive commodity and costs can rapidly balloon. In some cases, overuse of antifoam can also have a negative effect on the process, and consideration must also be given to the long-term detrimental effect that the disposal and dispersal of these chemicals can have on our health and the environment. With all of these considerations in mind,

engineers at the cereal manufacturer recognised that more could be done to increase efficiency and control costs at the on-site effluent treatment plant. The company agreed to trial Hycontrol’s SureSense foam control system. A controller and 2m long probe were set up on one effluent tank, linked to control an antifoam dosing pump.

Managers at the site, which produces

thousands of tonnes of breakfast cereal every year for distribution across the continent, are now considering expanding their use of the patented foam technology

Hycontrol’s high-sensitivity foam

sensors have been designed specifically to measure foam, and are not simply modified or adapted liquid level sensors. This level of sensitivity means that the system will dose antifoam only when foam is present at a pre-determined level. The use of a reactive system that doses antifoam only when it is required brings both financial and environmental benefits.


SureSense foam control system and probe


A German manufacturer of a new type of vegetable protein has achieved a fivefold increase in output following the installation of a multihead weighing solution from Ishida Europe. Midori from the AMIDORI Food Company offers an alternative to meat

substitutes by being based purely on vegetable protein. It is supplied frozen, either as a basic ingredient, or further processed in the form of ready meals. With several major new orders for its vegetarian convenience food,

AMIDORI needed to make its packaging process more efficient, which led to the replacement of its volumetric filling system with an Ishida CCW-RV 14 head multihead weigher. The CCW-RV-214 has been integrated to feed an existing

thermoforming machine. Products are fed to the weigher by a mobile elevator with a hopper for manual loading. The weigher can be fitted with two differently inclined dispersion tables depending on the product. From there, radial feeder troughs transfer product to double opening pool hoppers, which supply a second layer of double opening weigh hoppers. A microprocessor then takes just a fraction of a second to calculate the combination of weigh hoppers that comes closest to the target weight. The CCW-214 is handling weights of between 180g and 2kg. The tray filling system features a servo-

driven transfer chute that feeds a set of discharge chutes below. This enables six thermoformed trays to be filled simultaneously, delivering a speed of 60 trays per minute and exploiting the full capacity of the thermoforming machine. By comparison, the volumetric filling system could manage only 12 trays/ minute. The multihead weigher at AMIDORI is installed on a mobile platform that can be moved to one side on

rails and then lowered for cleaning whilst protecting the thermoformer from water ingress. The tray filling system can also be removed from the packing line with minimal effort. The weigher regularly undergoes full foam-washdown, so its IP69K protection rating and sloped design

prevents build-up of product residue. Ishida Europe

AVOIDING FALSE READINGS In this type of application, it is also vital to avoid false readings caused by the build- up of foam and other substances on the probe. Hycontrol’s IMA (Intelligent Multi- Action) sensing allows for the reliable measurement of foam even when a sensor is covered with a thick, sticky layer of fouling. It enables the sensor to discriminate between the residual deposits of foam/product build-up on the sensor itself, and therefore ignore it, and the foam being created in the process. In spite of heavy coatings of dense, sticky residue, the foam probe will keep measuring foam throughout the process cycle. In the two years that the foam system

has been in place it has proven reliable and accurate. Antifoam usage on the tank has been reduced by approximately 92%, with a saving of around £30,000 per year. The customer is now considering utilising the upgraded SureSense foam control system to oversee the antifoam pumps on their two remaining on-site effluent tanks. A representative said: “Having initially

been sceptical as to just how effective Hycontrol’s foam control technology could really be, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the accuracy and reliability of the system. We’ve had to make a few minor adjustments due to changes in the foam density, but otherwise, it has proven to be very successful. The budget savings on antifoam expenditure have already covered the equipment costs several times over!”


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