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Process Manufacturing

Analyzing energy consumption using flow sensors

Arla Foods has achieved transparency over the energy consumed during cottage cheese production at a factory in Sweden using flow sensors.

By Control Engineering Europe July 26, 2020
Endress+Hauser’s booth at WEFTEC had several sensors and tools designed to gather quick and accurate readings that could be sent to a display for the user so they know when something is wrong. Courtesy: Chris Vavra, CFE Media

At its Falkenberg factory in Sweden, dairy cooperative Arla Foods produces 20,000 tonnes of cottage cheese every year. Production volumes of this magnitude call for a resource-efficient manufacturing process, and Arla Foods is working towards  making its products completely CO2-neutral by 2050.

A key element of this journey is energy efficiency. Mattias Abrahamsson, production system manager at Arla Falkenberg, explains further: “In recent years, we have placed an increasingly strong focus on monitoring the energy consumption of our plants. In certain areas, however, we simply didn’t know where exactly the energy was being used.” The calorimetric flow sensor from Baumer helped the company achieve a breakthrough. Arla installed these sensors at the neuralgic points in the cooling and heating system and used the measurement results to obtain a clear image of energy consumption which allows the company to put in place measures for reducing energy consumption.

Clear solutions

The food manufacturer had already made a great effort to reduce the energy balance when the plant was designed. For example, it uses the low external temperatures of the Swedish climate to achieve a cooling temperature of 0.5°C for the cooling circuit, which cools the produced cheese from 60 to 30°C. Yet energy losses which Arla had been unable to localize for some time occurred here as well. The sensors solved the problem of monitoring energy consumption because they could be integrated into the existing plant and are able to measure flow and temperature.

Arla has already installed around 15 of the flow sensors in the cooling circuit and heating system. The plan is now to also integrate these sensors into the CIP return line to monitor and optimize the energy consumption there as well.

Abrahamsson said about the project, “This has proven to be a cost-efficient solution. And because the sensors installed so far are reliably returning the results we need, we will now install more and more of them.”

This article originally appeared on Control Engineering Europe’s website.

Control Engineering Europe