Brix Metering Made Simple: New Inline Refractometer from Anderson-Negele

In many applications in the food industry, precise adherence to the concentration of dissolved substances such as sugar, salts or lactose is essential for consistent product quality. The optical measurement method of the refractive index by means of a refractometer is a suitable method to monitor these values.

In liquid media, the density and thus the refractive index vary when the proportion of dissolved particles in the liquid changes. The IRM-11 constantly measures this concentration using inline analysis methods – quickly, precisely and fully automatically. 

This enables the permanent high-precision determination of the alcohol content, the mixing ratio of juices, mixed drinks and soft drinks or the dry mass in dairy products, as only a few examples.

Less working time and less product loss = more efficiency and more profit

Analysis by determining the °Brix, Plato or nD index value offers enormous potential for increasing efficiency and quality. To avoid process deviations, in many applications manual measurements must be taken at very short intervals, often every 20 minutes. Measurement with the IRM-11, on the other hand, takes place fully automatically at the desired time interval (adjustable from 2 s).  This saves approx. 1 man-hour of working time per shift and the employees can devote themselves to other tasks without interruption. In addition, with manual measurement the entire product output between two measurements can be defective. IRM-11 can avoid these product losses by the permanent measuring procedure. The simple installation guarantees precise measurement already during mixing in the tank or exact adjustment during the running process. IRM-11 is fully temperature compensated and always delivers precise results even with rapid changes, temperature fluctuations do not lead to any deviations in the measured values.

Advantages for many food applications

Typical applications can be found in all areas of the liquid food industry. In breweries, for example, the measurement of mash concentration and wort as well as the determination of alcohol content can be automated with the IRM-11. In the production of juices and mixed beverages, the applications are particularly in the continuous measurement of concentrate and control of the end product dosage for a constant product quality, in the continuous mixing quality control and in the product transition control. The continuous determination of the sugar or alcohol content in the running process plays an important role in wine production and in distilleries. And even dairies can benefit from the IRM-11 application in the determination of dry matter in milk and whey.

Inline measuring principle

Whether your application is to quality check your final product or to accurately maintain a blend concentration, the IRM can meet your application needs.

The IRM-11 sensor is very compact and can be easily installed directly in a production line. Due to its front-flush design, mounting in a pipeline is very easy. An LED source directs light via a sapphire optic into the process media passing the sensor. The density of the liquid has a direct effect on the light radiation and changes the refractive index.  A receiver array that measures the refractive index transmits a temperature-compensated value in the scale selected by the customer. Units are output in °Brix, Plato, nD refractive index or other individually selected units depending on scale selection.

More efficient processes through inline analysis sensor technology 

Permanent inline analysis of the media allows processes to be controlled actively and without delay. For many companies this holds an enormous savings potential through: 

  • Avoidance of product waste (e.g. a phase separation in production or CIP processes can be controlled to the second and thus with less loss of resources)
  • Savings in staff working hours (sampling and laboratory analyses can be omitted)
  • Quality assurance by avoiding incorrect media introduction (e.g. cleaning agents in product tanks)
  • Avoidance of accidental damage (e.g. introduction of wrong media into coolant circuits).
Compact design and simple installation without bypass ensure problem-free integration even in existing systems

In recent years, Anderson-Negele has significantly expanded its product portfolio in this area and upgraded its measuring technologies for turbidity, conductivity and concentration. As a result, almost all process-relevant measuring ranges can now be covered by a single supplier partner.

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Anderson-Negele, based in South Germany, is an international specialist for hygienic sensor technology in the food processing and pharmaceutical industries. The company philosophy "HYGIENIC BY DESIGN" embodies the fulfilment of customer requirements for process sensor and measuring technology in hygienic production environments. Product range: At ...