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Non-random alcohol testing

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article image Promass 83F measuring alcohol strength and flowrate at DIWISA distillery in Switzerland.

ENDRESS+Hauser's new Promass 83 Coriolis flowmeter offers a unique set of advantages to alcohol producers.

Firstly, the Promass 83 measures all the required measuring values - flowrate, density and temperature - with a single instrument whose integrated software also calculates the alcohol strength compensated to any standard or temperature.

The instrument displays any of the measured or calculated values, up to three of which can be allocated to analogue output. Either the mass or volume of the water-alcohol mixture can be totalised for custody transfer requirements.

Promass 83 also provides superior accuracy to alternative technologies, with completely tamper-proof results and drastic reductions in handling errors.

Finally, the Promass 83 compensates for the influences of temperature and changing strength both in-line and instantaneously - enabling process engineers to collect accurate data regarding temperature and strength on-line.

Liquid 'volume' measurement becomes unclear when the temperature varies or is uncertain, since it is always related to a defined temperature.

In contrast, direct mass flow measurement does not require any compensation, and the strength of alcohol mixtures in mass-% can be directly derived from the measured process density - delivering more accurate and transparent measurement results.

Modern Coriolis mass flowmeters like the Promass 83 enable users to export the measured value into any data processing system.

This opens up new opportunities for analysing the yield and profitability of a single process, a line of processes or the plant as a whole - enabling highly accurate cost analysis of any stage of the production and/or of the product itself.

The alcohol tax collected from producers of alcoholic products in Australia is based on the pure alcohol content in alcoholic products sold.

Alcoholic strength is measured either from a sample or in the storage tank, using either a density hydrometer or a laboratory density meter. The strength in Vol % is then based on fluid property tables according to a defined standard such as OIML R22.

The volume of the mixture is usually measured with volumetric flowmeters or a calibrated tank, and then compensated to a reference temperature (typically 10°C).

By combining the Promass 83 with other state-of-the-art Endress+Hauser products such as FieldGate or the Memograph S data recorder, users can readily transmit the process data via modem or Internet with increased control and security.

This potentially enables the Taxation Office to authorise producers who electronically submit their Promass 83 generated process data to continue processing the unfinished product without waiting for an on-site inspection.

Exceptionally accurate and reliable automatic control of the distillation process can be obtained by installing the Promass 83 immediately after the distillation column.

Uniquely, the Promass 83 can be delivered with two relay outputs that can be programmed as maximum or minimum limit switches on the alcohol strength. Previous devices available for this application can only be used as density switches, and are often delicate glass structures.

Promass 83 can also be used to simultaneously measure the amount of distillate produced, thus allowing close monitoring of the performance of the distillation column and allocation of the produced alcohol to the different levels of strength.

Strength, temperature and flowrate can be continuously monitored and used to analyse and optimise production. The yield of the products being distilled can also be calculated by comparing the mass of the processed mash with the distillate produced for any column.

From March to April 2003, the performance of an Endress+Hauser Promass 83 F in measuring alcohol strength and quantities was tested at the DIWISA distillery in Willisau, Switzerland under the supervision of the Federal Alcohol Administration Organisation of Switzerland.

The results showed that all deviations were within the limits defined in OIML R117; that no systematic deviations were found; that the measuring uncertainty of the flowmeter was approximately 0.2% of alcohol strength; and that its uncertainty was approximately 0.4% of totalised pure alcohol at 20°C.

Endress+Hauser's user-friendly Applicator Selection software tool at www.endress.com.au can help customers explore their alcohol strength measurement options and determine exactly which Promass 83 model they need.

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