Researchers at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (Inra) claim the BiomosysTM-HW sensor allows plant managers to check pipes for evidence of fouling, either continuously or at defined intervals.
In processing industries the detection and quantification of fouling in flow lines is a major challenge when managing manufacturing and cleaning cycles.
"Improved management of cleaning cycles then enables reductions in energy consumption and waste emissions," Inra stated in a description of the device. "In addition, optimised monitoring of perturbations linked to deposits in manufacturing installations makes it possible to guarantee the quality and purity of the finished product, and notably optimum health safety in the food industry."
Fouling is defined as the deposit of unwanted materials or substances in equipment, such as pipes. For plant managers it is essential to obtain precise information about the level of fouling in installations, and notably in those sections that are not directly accessible, such as the inside of pipes.
Inra said the sensor, which can be positioned on a flow line, allows the detection, monitoring and prediction of perturbations and deteriorations to heat exchanges due to a deposit.
The BiomosysTM-HW can be positioned within the production line inside pipes, or on the line at the level of the internal wall of pipes as it is only a few millimetres in size. It
Based on hot wire technology, the sensor can be coupled to measurements of heat fluxes and fluid and wall temperatures in a controlled thermal and hydraulic environment, Inra stated.
The sensor is periodically heated to an imperceptible degree, generating heat. Temperature measurements on its surface provide data on the degree of fouling, Inra said.
The researchers have already tested the sensor in flash pasteurisation processes, and compared with the methods currently employed in this industry.
Inra has filed a patent for the BiomosysTM-HW sensor, and has granted an exclusive licensing agreement with NéoSens. The company develops, produces and markets the new generation of sensors based on EMMS electromechanical Microsystems.
BiomosysTM-HW is currently being introduced into several industrial sites in both France and other countries, Inra stated.