Keeping the Juice Flowing

The Serious Food Co., a British supplier of fruit juices and smoothies, unified its process monitoring applications during a recent production upgrade in its South Wales factory. All instrumentation devices for pressure, temperature, level, and conductivity measurements were supplied by one company using a specific universal process connection system to ensure high mounting flexibility for the ...


The Serious Food Co., a British supplier of fruit juices and smoothies, unified its process monitoring applications during a recent production upgrade in its South Wales factory. All instrumentation devices for pressure, temperature, level, and conductivity measurements were supplied by one company using a specific universal process connection system to ensure high mounting flexibility for the whole site.

Founded in 1986 in Mid Glamorgan, The Serious Food Company started business by producing freshly squeezed fruit juices under the name of its original label, Sunjuice. Today, the company is one of the U.K.'s leading juice and smoothies producers, consuming more than 40,000 tons of citrus fruits each year for its brands Sunjuice and Frobisher.

The core business has been expanded in the last decade with manufacturing companies producing Serious Soup chilled soup and Serious Desserts. Overall, the company has six production units and employs more than 600 people. Prior to the expansion program, the company employed around 550 people.

In 2006, Serious Food also started producing products for another company. This resulted in the decision to double the size of the existing factory for juice in South Wales. To increase production capacity in line with customer demand, the project had to be completed within nine months.

Fulfilling this aggressive timetable required much creative thinking, including finding a way to provide simple connectivity for the variety of process sensors and instruments required for manufacturing and product quality control. The result was a standardized, single process connection design that could be used throughout the plant and still meet regulatory requirements for food production equipment. Swiss-based Baumer Group was chosen to be the sole instrumentation supplier, creating and using the new special device inlet connection.

“What we wanted was not only a single instrument manufacturer delivering all measuring devices, but also a single size and type of hygienic process connection allowing complete flexibility in moving sensors around in the process,” says process systems engineer Jon Gilbert-Rolfe, who not only designed the plant but also supervised the installation.

Based on earlier positive experiences with Baumer when he was a site engineer with Tetra Pak, Gilbert-Rolfe decided to approach the company again, to work together on this new project. He recommended using Baumer devices for standardized pressure, temperature, level, and conductivity measurement. The sensors had to be suitable for all phases of the process, including tanker off load, small component pallecon pre-blend, in the CIP (clean in place) hall, the sterilizing and process hall, and the filling, packing, and storage hall.

For pressure and tank level measurement, Serious Food chose the configurable pressure transmitter FlexBar HRT, some of them equipped with FlexView LC-display, and accuracy of better than

Serious Food also uses the electro-magnetic wave level switch LSM for level measurements. This device has 3A approval and can be used in applications where foam and product build-up can cause false readings with other sensor types.

The technology permits multiple mounting positions, which simplifies installation. All wetted parts are acid-resistant stainless steel or PEEK thermoplastic, and since there are no moving parts, the LSM is essentially maintenance-free. The LSM's process temperature ranges from -20 to 85 °C (-4 to 185 °F) but can withstand CIP temperatures up to 140 °C (285 °F) for a maximum of one hour.

For conductivity measurement of product and CIP cycles, Baumer's inductive conductivity sensor system ISL050 with temperature compensation and isolated temperature output is used. It can measure a process temperature from -20 up to 130 °C (-4 to 265 °F), which allows installation in SIP (sterilize in place) systems.

The process temperature is measured with sensor systems TE1 and TE2, which are individually programmable and equipped with a stainless steel field housing.

Standard adaptor used

The universal connection for use throughout the plant is designed around a standard adaptor, a sanitary connection called a PM050 that has an internal thread of 1 in. BSP (British standard pipe). This fitting was welded onto all process pipes and tanks where an instrument would be needed. Some of the devices with large inlets could be mounted directly via this weld-on connection, such as the ISL conductivity transmitters.

“Since all other sensors have a smaller process connection, typically onlysensors, whereas the shorter version makes the connection to the FlexBar transmitter.

Only a few months passed between the order placement and product implementation. The Danish Baumer branch office was able to deliver the adaptors as well as all the sensors within one month, allowing Serious Food to start implementation in April, 2006.

In September, the new production plant was finished and started operating. Not only did the project go according to time plan, but also to the customer's complete satisfaction. “Since the first production run, the process monitoring has been extremely reliable, making it the site standard for all future upgrades,” says Gilbert-Rolfe.

Author Information
Mark Richards is technical & marketing director at Baumer U.K. Reach him at .

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