Based out of USA, New Belgium Brewing Company needed an efficient solution for beer thermometer calibration. With almost 100 resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) installed at the North Carolina facility, the manual calibration process had become time-consuming, inefficient and hazardous.
Always looking for cutting-edge methods to improve product quality and operational excellence, the brewery gave the green light to a Endress+Hauser Instrumentation Specialist to explore alternatives. He had to find a safer, faster, and more efficient way to calibrate the beer thermometers. He chose the iTHERM TrustSens self-calibrating thermometer.
To know about RTDs, you can read the Visaya Article here
Calibrating a beer thermometer
The brewery at that point used portable oil calibrators and other RTD calibrators. The oil calibrations use hot oil and an ITS-90 traceable reference thermometer. Each time the oil calibrator moved to a location, the operator had to heat and stabilize the oil at the proper temperature before performing that calibration.
The process took around 45 minutes on an average to calibrate each thermometer. With close to 100 in the facility, these calibrations took approximately 75 man-hours per year.
Calibrating with portable oil calibrators also creates safety concerns, as moving a oil calibrator containing hot oil from sensor to sensor can become a serious hazard if not done properly.
Measuring beer temperature with the TrustSens self-calibrating thermometer
The brewers needed a more efficient solution to calibrate the RTDs, as the current process was time consuming and hazardous. The Instrumentation Specialist decided to purchase an Endress+Hauser iTHERM TrustSens hygienic thermometer to save time and reduce risk and cost.
Typically, TrustSens works as a method of in-situ calibration for processes that undergo sterilize-in-place treatments (SIP) on a regular basis. As steam enters the process, the temperature passes through the 118°C threshold that triggers the TrustSens calibration.
Since the brewery’s processes do not employ SIP, the brewers took a different approach. They used a simple portable ceramic block heater in conjunction with TrustSens technology to perform the calibration.
The Instrumentation Specialist removed the TrustSens temperature probe from the thermowell and placed it in the ceramic block heater. Once the temperature at the RTD exceeded 118°C, TrustSens began to cool and automatically initiated the calibration cycle.
If the RTD fell within the brewery’s self-defined accuracy tolerance, a green light would appear. The probe would then return to the thermowell to proceed to the next RTD.
TrustSens thermometer benefits for beer temperature measurement
Endress+Hauser’s iTHERM TrustSens thermometer maximizes product safety, plant availability, and process efficiency. The TrustSens has a high-precision reference built into the sensor which aids in the calibration process. Its automated and fully traceable inline self-calibrations reduce process downtime, helping to reduce risk and costs.
Employing the TrustSens transmitter with Heartbeat Technology™ captures the results after every successful self-calibration. When technicians need the calibration history, they connect to the transmitter with a laptop or download the data from the control system.
TrustSens’ DTM can also produce printable calibration certificates in preparation for audits. The TrustSens thermometer eliminates the risk of undetected nonconformance issues without affecting existing validated procedures or good manufacturing practices.
The brewery tested the TrustSens self-calibrating thermometer against one of the facility’s installed RTDs for comparison and were extremely pleased with the results.
Using the ceramic block heater, the calibration of the iTHERM TrustSens sensor takes no longer than 15 minutes, saving 30 minutes per RTD. Replacing the RTDs in the facility with TrustSens could potentially save 80+ hours in calibration time, considering some transmitters are calibrated once a year and others every six months. Using TrustSens as the new beer thermometer and calibration solution also greatly reduces the risk to the brewery’s technicians.
To know more about RTDs and Thermocouples, you can read the Visaya Article here
The iTHERM TrustSens sensor is among the best beer thermometers on the market. It enhances product quality and operational excellence. To make life easier at the brewery, it refined a manual calibration process that was time-consuming and hazardous.
To learn more about the iTHERM TrustSens sensor and beer thermometers, you can get in touch with our engineers!