PROCESSING AND PACKAGING 50 FOOD & BEVERAGE ASIA OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2018 A great number of sensors are necessary for the automation of processes in the food industry. The most important values to be detected are pressure, temperature, ̭ow and level. The requirements for these respective sensors are similar to those in the process industry. Moreover, hygienic design is often absolutely necessary. In some applications it must also be possible to use sensors in hazardous areas. Sensors with Added Value Sensor specialist, ifm electronic offers suitable sensors for many applications, and a large part of the product range is available in hygienic design for the food industry. All developments of the medium-sized company are focused on innovative technology to o ̫ er the customers even more added value. A current example for such innovations is the LR level sensor operating to the guidedwave radar principle. The sensor is installed vertically on the upper end of a tank and emits a microwave signal propagatingdownwards along the sensor probe. When the microwave hits the surface of the medium it is rḙected back towards the sensor. From the transit time of the signal, the sensor determines the distance to the surface and thus the level in the tank. Thismeasuring principle solves two di ̮ culties which may occur when level measurements are carried out with other sensor types. The sensor is insensitive to deposits on the tank wall or the probe, and even in the case of viscous media, the microwave propagates along the probe irrespective of the deposits. In addition, the type LR level sensor can even reliably detect the level in applications where liquids form foam on the surface. The level signal, which is iṋuenced by the foam, is correctly evaluated by the sensor and the distance to the surface of the liquid is reliably detected. Communication via IO-Link Communications in the age of Industry 4.0 is becoming increasingly important. The communication with the sensors is the ̬rst step taken to ensure continuous communication up to the company level. At ifm, the interface on the sensor level is IO-Link. All new sensors from ifm use this digital protocol in addition to the conventional analogue interfaces. As compared to the analogue transmission, the measured value cannot be distorted by interference on the cable. Moreover, different values from one single sensor can be transmitted simultaneously, adding even more value to the user. Also, for maintenance and repair tasks, the user can benefit from sensors with IO-Link interface. Since the sensors can be con̬gured via IO-Link, the con̬guration can be transferred directly to the new sensor in case of replacement, reducing downtime. Via IO-Link the user can also access the sensors’ self-diagnostic data to discover faults. This will also help increase plant productivity. Data Transmission to an ERP System Another important aspect of the digital sensor communication is the possibility of using sensor data additionally for higher-level ERP systems on the company level. For these tasks, ifm uses the Linerecorder. The Linerecorder Agent Smart Sensors in the Food Industry The food industry poses significant challenges to components – such as sensors – used in the process technology. For example, consistent hygienic design of parts in direct contact with the media is required. With higher expectations from sensor technology, the future belongs to smart sensors offering the user added value. By Mr. Jörg Lantzsch , IFM A large range of sensors from ifm electronic are suitable for the food industry and meet the corresponding requirements for a hygienic design.