Demand for the IO-Link communication standard has grown strongly, especially in the food industry. The fieldbus-independent technology for point-to-point communication impresses with its ease of use and enables the cost-effective digitization of plants. As a leading equipment supplier in the industry, Endress+Hauser provides a broad IO-Link offering for a wide range of process parameters.
IO-Link is regarded as an established standard for measuring devices with basic functionality, thereby offering advantages such as data transparency and additional control through digital technology. Suppliers of machines or entire process units (skids) for the food industry in particular tend to integrate IO-Link-capable sensors and actuators. Especially for auxiliary circuits, measuring devices with basic functionality are well suited; devices with additional functions would unnecessarily increase complexity and costs.
Broad range for the food industry
The group is considered one of the market leaders in process measurement technology for the food industry. “No other manufacturer offers this breadth and depth of products and services. Endress+Hauser’s comprehensive IO-Link portfolio illustrates this position. We support customers as a strong partner for process automation with IO-Link sensors in numerous applications and fields of use,” says Rob Sips, strategic account manager for the group’s international business.
Analog signals and digital communication
A majority of IO-Link sensors can optionally be operated in analog mode (4…20 mA) by simply changing the device configuration. This means that workflows in production can initially remain in place. If additional information such as diagnostic and service data is required in addition to the actual process parameter, an installed IO-Link-capable device can then simply be converted to a digital signal.
Easy entry into Industry 4.0
“IO-Link is not the most powerful communication standard for process engineering. But the technology is cost-effective and holds great potential for digitizing process plants.”
– Oliver Hansert
The devices with IO-Link interface support acyclic transmission of helpful metadata for stable and efficient production. In addition, the Smart Sensor Profile is implemented for easy engineering. This reduces the effort for plant operators when integrating sensors into the system.
Portfolio further expanded
The company offers an extensive product portfolio of IO-Link-enabled devices for all relevant process parameters. Just recently, the company introduced the compact Smartec CLD18 conductivity sensor, IO-Link versions of the PMP51, PMP55 and PMC51 pressure gauges, and the level gauge. With these new additions to the product range, customers can take advantage of digitization in a cost-efficient way.
Presentation of innovative platform at Vitafoods Europe in Geneva
International nutritional solutions provider Glanbia Nutritionals is introducing its TechVantage platform at this year’s Vitafoods Europe, the world’s leading nutritional supplements trade show. It offers functionally optimized nutritional technologies that provide increased stability, the ability to mask flavors and colors, and improved solubility and flowability.
Today, more than ever, there is a need for product formulations that meet the demands of increasingly sophisticated dietary supplements, beverages and foods. Functionally optimized nutrient technologies are based on more than 30 years of industry experience and cover a wide range of challenges and requirements, such as optimizing product color, clarity, taste, stability, dispersibility and bioavailability. The in-house technologies within the platform are NutraShield microencapsulations, UniTrit triturations and GranulPlex granulations, each with their own merits:
NutraShield microencapsulated nutrients provide a protective structure around each nutrient. This enhances efficacy and function in a variety of ways – including masking odors and flavors, improving stability, controlling color intensity, converting oils to powder, and delaying the release of nutrients.
UniTrit triturated nutrients are standardized on a carrier for homogeneous nutrient release, allowing easier distribution of nutrients in the final blend and easy scaling with less excess.
GranulPlex granulated nutrients are formed by forming individual particles from multiple small and large particles, allowing for better instantization, dispersibility and a more powerful compressible powder.
The nutrient portfolio of covers a wide range of categories, including vitamins, minerals, botanicals, amino acids, sweeteners, carbohydrates, fats (oils), botanicals, fiber and acids. It enables manufacturers to make significant improvements in the production of tablets, chewable tablets, effervescent products, gummy bears, powdered drink mixes, beverages and more.
“Decades of knowledge and experience in microencapsulation, granulation and trituration have gone into the development and creation of our TechVantage™ platform. This has been done with the expectations and requirements of many of our customers in mind. TechVantage will provide our partners with increased end-product functionality while reducing formulation issues and manufacturing difficulties.”
– Josh Stewart, Senior Product Manager Premix Solutions
Investment of 50 million euros for new plant
The functional ingredients manufacturer Beneo is investing 50 million euros in the construction of a new plant for processing pulses. The new plant is being built at the Offstein site and will produce protein-rich ingredients for the food and animal feed industries. Initially, the focus will be on the production of protein concentrate, starch-rich flour and pods from field beans. In the future, other pulses may also be processed on site. The new production facility strengthens the portfolio of vegetable proteins. The company will thus be able to meet the growing demand for plant-based food and animal feed products even better.
The trend towards vegetable proteins is unbroken. According to forecasts by market research company Mintel, plant-based proteins will account for 75 percent of total protein demand by 2027. Manufacturers of plant-based protein products can expect a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than ten percent between 2020 and 2027. Legumes are also growing in popularity. Peas and field beans are on track to become the top new ingredients in global new product introductions, with a CAGR of 20 percent over the past five years.
Along the entire supply chain, the company places great emphasis on sustainability. Pulses help reduce greenhouse gas emissions right from the agricultural production stage. For example, field beans fix nitrogen from the air, covering their own nitrogen requirements and those for subsequent crops, so there is no need for appropriate fertilization. The field beans come from farmers in the region who are certified by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) and comply with appropriate standards for sustainable agriculture. Beneo fully utilizes the field beans to produce protein concentrate, starch-rich flour and pods as functional ingredients. In addition, the production process selected is characterized by comparatively low energy consumption. As a result, it makes an overall contribution to climate neutrality and sustainability targets.
Planning work has already begun and construction of the plant is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2024. This will create up to 25 jobs at the Offstein site. To ensure that food and animal feed customers can benefit from the ingredients from the field bean as quickly as possible, the company will process the raw materials on existing production facilities until the new plant is fully operational. Initial product volumes will thus be available as early as the beginning of June 2022.
The protein concentrate and starchy flour from field bean are used to enrich protein and improve the texture of meat and dairy substitutes as well as (gluten-free) baked goods and cereals. The pods, as well as the starch-rich flour, are used as a vegetable protein or fiber source for sustainable pet, aqua and livestock feed.
“The recent investment in a new legume production facility is just the beginning. As we strongly believe in plant-based ingredients, we see the new facility as an important first step in expanding our protein offering. This will allow us to produce a greater variety of sustainable plant-based protein ingredients in the years to come.”
– Christoph Boettger, Member of the Executive Board
Innovative pressure sensors of the PI series
The sensors used in the food industry have very high requirements. Hygienic design, high protection class and robustness are just some of them. The new pressure sensors of the PI1xxx series meet these requirements just like the predecessor models, but offer many more advantages.
The new PI1xxx pressure sensors are mainly used in the food industry and therefore meet all common hygiene requirements. Among other things, they are certified according to EHEDG and FDA and meet protection class IP69k, so that daily cleaning with a high-pressure cleaner is no problem. The sensors use a capacitive ceramic measuring element and are therefore extremely robust. Neither abrasive or corrosive media nor vacuum or pressure peaks can harm the sensor element. In addition, the sensor permanently withstands 150°C media temperatures and is thus suitable for many high-temperature applications in the food industry. The media temperature can also be read out via IO-Link. The PTFE seal, which is permanently maintenance-free, also contributes to the robustness.
Higher resolution improved design
The new pressure sensors, which are available with various measuring ranges from vacuum to 100 bar, now communicate via IO-Link 1.1 and have a resolution of 32 bits. This is especially important for applications where differential pressures are measured and thus only a small part of the measuring range can be used. Temperature compensation has also been improved in the new series. In food industry plants, the CIP process, in which the equipment is cleaned with hot liquids, is the standard. If production is then to be resumed at low temperatures, it is important that the sensor functions reliably again as quickly as possible. This has been significantly improved in the new PI1xxx, so that production can restart much faster after cleaning – in many applications, this leads to a significant gain in efficiency.
The pressure sensors of the new series are ideally suited for applications in the food sector – for example in dairies, breweries and many other cases where liquids are used. Pressure measurements in these applications are made in tanks as well as in pipelines. The numerous improvements to the sensors offer users important advantages in this regard.