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Baumer sensor technology helps Italian agro-industry leaders reduce dairy produce wastage and save costs

When leading Italian agro-industrial firm, Granarolo, made the decision to improve their process in order to reduce waste, there was only one company they had in mind. In this article, Process Industry Forum takes a look at how leading sensor and measurement device specialists, Baumer UK, were able to not only reduce the amount of wastage Granarolo were going through but also reduce operational costs.

Dairy production is one of the longest running and leading industries in the world today. Throughout the years, dairy products have been produced and processed through a range of techniques and it is now in the modern age that we can appreciate the importance of the part that technology and instrumentation has to play in running an efficient and cost-effective dairy plant.

Why did Granarolo choose Baumer?

Innovation is an essential part of business for Granarolo; who deliver Italy's only supply chain driven by an integrated production system. This ensures their entire process is controlled and managed in collaboration with the best local producers.

By working alongside these local producers, the Granarolo Group tracks and observes every stage of the process, from the production of the raw materials to the eventual distribution of the products in order to be sold on to the consumer. By following this tight process, Granarolo and their collaborators are able to guarantee the targeted, well-planned, and quality orientated production of dairy products. This collaborative nature of a milk supply chain was conceived 60 years ago and through a process of growth and acquisitions, the Granarolo Group was born.

As one of the leading agro-industrial companies in Italy, Granarolo is always looking for ways to improve their processes, and reduce waste, in order to remain competitive. This is why Granarolo chose Baumer.

The introduction of innovations

Baumer has over 50 years of innovation experience and has been designing and manufacturing sensors for the dairy industry for nearly 35 years. It was this combination that made them the natural choice for Granarolo, who were looking to create added value to their factory automation processes.

From milk production to packaging, Baumer has always placed emphasis on food safety, efficiency, and long term reliability when designing their products which range from conductivity, temperature, flow, pressure, and level sensors, to ultrasonic inductive, photoelectric sensors, encoders, and cameras.

For this particular project, they focused particularly on the processing of the raw materials. With this in mind, Baumer recommended the implementation of the AFI Conductivity Meter (a member of the CombiLyz family), that is frequently used in Clean in Place (CIP) systems in order to determine whether the cycle has been completed.

The essential instrument

To explain more about their washing processes, Granarolo’s Pasteurised Maintenance Manager, Bruno Landuzzi, explained how the washing process starts at the end of each production cycle.

“In this factory in Bologna we perform 25/30 washings every day involving tanks, pipes and heat treatment plants (pasteurisers, coolers, etc.). Basically all the parts that the milk passes through, from the discharge to the packaging, at the end of production are clean", stated Landuzzi.

Granarolo’s washing processes are performed using automated systems and it is here that Baumer’s conductivity meter is of considerable importance as it is used to make the distinction between the recovery of milk, water, or solutions based on their conductivity.

Mr Landuzzi went on to explain that Granarolo used the Baumer conductivity meter to distinguish between the conductivity of milk, water and washing detergents, praising the device for enabling them to guarantee maximum food safety.

With its compact design and one of a kind execution, the Baumer conductivity meter was proven to be effective in its installation within the return lines at Granarolo. The conductivity meter offers fast response times and temperature compensation that allows for rapid and precise communication with the PLC.

The end result of its implementation is that the cleaning process is now optimised to the highest capacity, saving not only chemicals, produce, and water, but also energy and time.

Cost saving solutions

Due to Granarolo’s washing cycles resulting in considerable temperature variations, they needed to be able to compensate for the temperature to ensure a correct reading. It was thanks to Baumer’s fast compensation that Granarolo were able to save over 100,000 litres on average per year for each workstation. This resulted in a significant amount of savings and allowed them to operate with the utmost respect for the environment.

Baumer also set up a calculation sheet in order for users to enter the number of washes each day per workstation and the parameters of the wash itself in order to receive immediate confirmation of the savings that could be obtained using their conductivity meter.

The implementation of Baumer’s products have allowed Granarolo to focus heavily on saving throughout the company. They are now able to work to avoid the loss of milk, as well as being able to focus on optimising productions from an energy saving perspective and as a byproduct, Granarolo are able to work towards reducing the concentration of chemicals used in order to reduce rinsing time and ultimately water savings.

Baumer’s portfolio being the right choice

With Granarolo’s main objectives being to guarantee the production and availability of milk for the end user at the lowest possible cost, Baumer was instantly the natural partner for them, thanks to their extensive hygienic and innovative product portfolio.

To learn more about Baumer and their range of innovative products and how they can be implemented in various CIP processes, speak to a team member at Baumer today.

Company Profile

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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