DOSIC – compact stainless steel sensor for flexible flow measurement

SICK’s intelligent solutions for level, temperature, flow, and pressure
measurement in its comprehensive product and technology portfolio have proven
to meet the stringent requirements for safety and hygiene in the beverage and
food industry. The portfolio contains a new flow sensor that uses ultrasonic
technology to determine the flow volume of conductive and non-conductive
liquids in hygienic and highly demanding environments.

Selecting the right method and appropriate device for flow measurement
involves a time-consuming and resource-intensive consideration of the
advantages and disadvantages of the different systems and measuring methods.
Particularly in the food and beverage industry, which relies on high process
reliability and perfect hygiene standards. This means that there are often a
large number of different measuring devices for the respective production
areas. Therefore, the industry requires instruments that consistently monitor
the flow of drinking chocolate, beer, olive oil, demineralised water, or milk,
which are also just as effective in measuring the flow of cleaning agents in
CIP and SIP plants or cooling water in cooling circuits. These applications
vary in both complexity and productivity. This variety of applications is
possible thanks to the capabilities of ultrasonic technology.

The DOSIC ultrasonic sensor operates according to the concept of
time-of-flight difference: If the ultrasonic signal is sent against the flow
direction, it requires a longer transit time than the signal sent in the
direction of the flow. The transit-time difference between the two ultrasonic
signals is directly proportional to the mean flow velocity. The flow volume per
unit of time is the result of the mean flow velocity multiplied by the pipe
cross-section. Regarding reliability and precision in transit-time difference
measurement, the DOSIC sensor provides an alternative to Coriolis mass
flowmeters, which usually entail high investment costs. The sensor can detect a
wide range of challenging liquids and matter for beverage and food production,
irrespective of their properties.

Durable and reliable in hygienic
conditions

The rugged and compact model combined with a hygienic design ensures
highly reliable measurement results. The absence of moving parts in the sensor
eliminates potential contamination risks in the demanding hygienic environments
of the food industry. Also, the sensor has a straight, seal-free, and self-emptying
measuring tube made of high-quality stainless steel (316L with Ra ≤ 0.8).
The high-quality stainless steel housing also provides the necessary ruggedness
and resistance. It, therefore, goes without saying that the sensor has EHEDG
certification and demonstrates FDA compliance. Since there is no contact
between the sensor and the flowing matter, the flow volume is determined in a
non-contact manner. Aggressive cleaning agents in CIP and SIP operations are
not a problem either. The sensor can easily withstand temperatures up to 143
degrees Celsius in SIP processes for up to one hour. The rugged design ensures
a long service life and reduces the need for maintenance.

Compared to similar flow sensors that take up a lot of space when
installed in compact plants, the DOSIC has a modest design and can be used in
the most confined spaces. Two configurable digital inputs and outputs, and up
to two analogue outputs, as well as an IO-Link interface to an adaptive control
unit, ensure that the system monitors and implements effectively. The IO-Link
reduces cabling and also enables complete control and monitoring of the sensor
in Industry 4.0 machine environments.

It is not necessary to set specific parameters before the measuring
process. If the medium is changed, the sensor automatically adjusts its
parameters accordingly. This ‘Plug & Measure’ solution eliminates the need
for initial medium calibration and reduces installation and operating costs.

The DOSIC is an impressively flexible measurement system that is
available in two sizes (DN15 and DN25). In addition to the DOSIC flow sensor,
the extensive SICK portfolio contains other sensors that are ideal for hygienic
application conditions. For example, the PHT pressure transmitter ensures
constant liquid pressure in buffer tanks when bottling carbonated beverages.
The PHT controls the pressure precisely at high throughput rates, even when
pressure is applied to bottles and cans to prevent foaming. The PBS hygienic
pressure switch is also designed for hygienic pressure measurement and
monitoring. It is used in bottling machines, particularly for the hydrostatic
level measurement of liquids in tanks. The LFP Inox, which has been developed
especially for the high demands of the beverage and food industry, measures the
fill levels as well as the limit levels in a buffer or machine tanks. Thanks to
its high-end design and variant diversity, it provides the ideal conditions for
a number of application possibilities. Thanks to the foam mode, the LFP can
easily be used even in difficult applications such as bottling foaming liquids
like milk.

With DOSIC, the product family of SICK fluid sensors is now even more
comprehensive, thereby ensuring reliable quality and productivity assurance in
the demanding hygienic environments of food and beverage production.

Written by Michele Savino, Product Manager for Fluid
Sensors, SICK AG, Waldkirch; Alexander Schumacher, Product Manager for Level
Sensors, SICK AG, Waldkirch; and Ralf Kühnemund, Product Manager for Pressure
and Temperature Measurement Technology, SICK AG, Waldkirch

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