Controlling food additives level in a process tank case study


Courtesy of Solid Applied Technologies Ltd. (SolidAT)

SmartScan50 provides real time level measurement results of food additives during production for a major chemical supplier.

The customer is a prominent supplier of ingredients and fine chemicals for the food, cosmetic, detergent, and pharmaceutical industries, and also specializing in the manufacture and development of Citric Acid, Citrates and Phosphates. The company invests greatly in its production infrastructure to assure high quality products to its customers around the world.

The problems

The manufacturer sought a gauging solution to measure the level of Sodium Citrate (Na3C6H5O7) in a process tank. The production process of Sodium Citrate involves mixing of several ingredients such as lemon acid and other acids.

There are several problems that may emerge when using ultrasonic level measurement device in such an environment. The tank incorporates an agitator that blends the needed ingredients into a homogeneous mixture. The agitator's rotors movement cause acoustic obstructions that may affect the accuracy of the measurement results.

In addition, the temperature inside the tank is around 80°C (176°F) resulting in a very humid and hot environment which may create water droops on the surface of the sensor. Moreover, to keep the Sodium Citrate mixture in a liquid state, steamed air is constantly being streamed into the tank. The inlet of steamed air causes a dusty and vapory environment inside the tank.

Finally, the processing cycle demand frequent inlet and outlet of the mixture ingredients (acids, powders, etc.) which results in a very noisy and corrosive environment in the tank.

The solution

The manufacturer decided to install SmartScan50 L above the Sodium Citrate tank. Due to the harsh environment inside the tank the SmartScan50's sensor was located on a specially designed tripod approximately 30cm (11.8in) above the tank. Since the SmartScan50 is a two-part system, locating the sensor on the tripod was fast and simple. Designed as a high power device the SmartScan50 guarantees immunity to vapors and water condensation created during the mixing process and the hot temperature created by the steamed air. Moreover, the SmartScan50 sophisticated software algorithm overcomes the acoustic interferences generated by the agitator and other obstacles inside the tank. To obtain accurate and real time measurement results, SmartScan50 was connected to the plant control desk using 4-20mA current output. This procedure assured constant control over the level of the mixture inside tank.


Installing SmartScan50 in the Sodium Citrate mixture was successful and guaranteed a long term ultrasonic, non contact solution in a problematic environment that is usually very hard for ultrasonic gauging instruments to cope with. SmartScan50 is based on Solid AT's patented technology designed specifically to provide ultrasonic level measurement solutions in a wide range of applications. The SmartScan50 offers a measuring range of up to 12m (39.4ft) and a variety of features that include connectivity to five SPDT relays to control alarm or any other control device that is part of the process procedure.

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