Thermal imaging cameras are helping one of Germany’s largest and most successful private breweries to ensure their kegs contain only beer.
A FLIR Systems infrared camera watches over the bottling of the world-famous Erdinger wheat beer produced at ErdingerWeissbräu. The Munich-based brewery exports its speciality beers to more than 70 countries worldwide. Erdinger brews its beers only at its plant in Erding, six days a week around the clock, and without ever deviating from its high quality standard.
All production processes from selection and acceptance of raw materials to filling and maturing are strictly monitored at Erdinger. Consequently, ErdingerWeissbräu maintains a permanent chain of security controls for its keg filling and packing process.
Simulation and risk analysis have shown that it is possible for customers to take delivery of a keg filled with the highly corrosive and poisonous lye – a caustic chemical used in the cleaning process – instead of beer, however careful the production. In order to prevent accidents of this kind, HACCP, a quality assurance program for the food industry stipulates the installation of critical control points.
ErdingerWeissbräu decided to ensure 100% protection for its keg cleaning and filling process. Risk analysis demonstrated the need to set up an additional control point to ensure that a keg filled with lye could not slip through the conventional control points. As a keg containing lye has a considerably higher temperature than a keg filled with beer, continuous monitoring of temperatures proved to be the optimum solution.
An infrared camera from FLIR was chosen for the non-contact temperature measurement. When correctly adjusted and interpreted, the camera’s images enable a virtually error-free measurement.
The FLIR A-Series thermal imaging camera now measures the temperature of every keg before it leaves the conveyor belt of the filling installation. If the infrared camera identifies a keg with a different temperature, it sets off an alarm and the conveyor belt is automatically halted for the keg to be removed manually.
Erdinger’s camera is connected to a touch screen monitor that shows the size and type of keg currently going through the cleaning and filling process. A thermal image of each keg as it goes through the process is simultaneously shown on the monitor screen in real time.
The monitoring system with the infrared camera at the Erdinger brewery has proven to be extremely successful. A spokesman for ErdingerWeissbräu said that not one keg filled with lye has left the filling shed. The FLIR Systems A-Series camera plays a crucial role in this solution and in many other process control monitoring applications around the world.
FLIR thermal imaging cameras are available in Australia through FLIR Systems Australia .