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A guide to temperature sensors for hygienic applications

Temperature sensors are used in the processing industry as part of a process control and monitoring system. They ensure that any process required to take place within a set temperature range does not stray outside of that specified temperature bracket – and will trigger an alarm if the temperature does not stay at a controlled rate. They also provide data which is fed back into a computer-based system to monitor temperature over time. In this article, we speak with Baumer UK and take a look at what hygienic temperature sensors are, and how they differ from standard temperature sensors.

What are hygienic temperature sensors?

Hygienic temperature sensors are what provide data analysts with the information they need to monitor a temperature-specific process where hygiene is paramount. They are extremely accurate digital thermometers, designed for integrating into control systems. Hygienic temperature sensors are built of high grade (usually medical) stainless steel to ensure no contamination to the medium that they are monitoring.

They are used primarily in the food, drink, pharmaceutical and medical industries where hygiene is a critical factor and where safety standards are extremely high due to the potential impact on the end-user if those hygiene levels are not met.

How do hygienic temperature sensors differ from standard temperature sensors?

They differ in that they are constructed to extremely rigorous hygiene standards. Not only the sensor interface that engages with the product but the entire assembly itself must be inert and meet the required industry standards.

What are hygienic temperature sensors used for?

Production processes: Hygienic temperature sensors are used in process control and monitoring systems where the process medium would be susceptible to contamination. Hygienic temperature sensors are what the production teams will install into pipes, tanks, clean rooms or in areas of hygienic storage, such as cold rooms, to provide them with the data and feedback they need to ensure a consistent and safe process. One example of where several hygienic temperature sensors are required is in a pressure container used in the pasteurisation of milk. In this case, the temperature of the heat exchanger in the dairy processing plant must be measured alongside the pressure and flow, to ensure that the critical pasteurisation process takes place in a controlled manner. The temperature of the milk during the cooling process is also critical to avoid the growth of microorganisms.

Cleaning processes: As well as in the manufacturing processes associated with the production of the goods, hygienic temperature sensors are also a critical part of the cleaning process. Hygienic temperature sensors are designed to withstand the media and temperatures used in both CIP (clean in place) and SIP (sterilise in place) processes, used to clean down equipment in food and pharmaceutical industries between cycles. The cleaning process must be rigorous and extremely thorough, so the temperature sensors must be cleaned along with all other parts of the equipment whilst withstanding the harsh processes, and are still used to feedback data to monitor the temperatures used during the cleaning process itself and ensure that they meet the required levels.

What are the risks of not using hygienic temperature sensors?

A temperature sensor ensures that the final product has been produced within safe parameters where temperature is a key variable that must be controlled during the manufacturing process. The demand on the device is taken a step further when you consider that the temperature sensor itself must be placed into the media to produce accurate measurements, and therefore a foreign object, potentially one that could harbour bacteria or other damaging media, is in contact with the food or medication.

When we consider the risk associated with not using a hygienic temperature sensor, it is one of potentially contaminating the product and putting the customers or patients at risk of consuming a dangerous medicine or food. Ultimately, the risk is both to the health of customers, and also to the reputation of the processing business.

When we consider what hygienic temperature sensors are to the world of food and pharma, they are critical to ensuring the safety of the final product and the health of the consumer. Not only are they a part of the monitoring and control system for the processing stage, they are also a key component in the cleaning cycle as well.

Baumer, global leaders in instrumentation sensors, offer a range of hygienic temperature sensors. Their products meet 3-A sanitary standards, are FDA compliant and are EHEDG certified. They are fully SIP capable and are resistant to all conventional CIP cleaning media. For further guidance, contact the experts in hygienic temperature sensors on 01793 783839 or [email protected].

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Find out how Baumer IO-Link solutions are driving OEE efficiencies

The Baumer Group is leading at international level in the development and production of sensors, shaft encoders, measuring instruments as well as components for automatic image processing.

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