Thanks to thermal imaging, "Erdinger Weissbräu" ensures that kegs contain wheat beer and nothing else!
A FLIR Systems infrared camera watches over the bottling of the world-famous Erdinger wheat beer.
Erdinger Weissbräu is one of Germany’s largest and most
successful private breweries. The Munich-based brewery exports its
specialty beers to more than 70 countries. And this figure keeps
growing. Erdinger brews its beers only in its plant in Erding, six days a
week around the clock, and without ever deviating from its high quality
Erdinger is known for its strict quality policy and
its consistent brand awareness.Its production processes, from selection
and acceptance of raw materials to filling and maturing, are strictly
monitored. Consequently, Erdinger Weissbräu maintains a permanent chain
of security controls for the its keg filling and packing process.
Keg filled with beer
Keg filled with lye
The infrared image clearly shows that a keg filled with beer is cooler than a keg filled with lye.
Simulation and risk analysis have shown that however
careful the production, it was conceivable that customers could take
delivery of a keg filled with lye instead of beer. In order to prevent
accidents of this kind, HACCP, a quality assurance program for the food
industry, stipulates the installation of critical control points.
Perfect quality control
However, cases of this kind are not unknown in the
industry. Drawing on its exceptional quality and brand awareness,
Erdinger Weissbräu decided to ensure a 100% protection of its keg
cleaning and filling process. Risk analysis demonstrated the need to set
up an additional control point to ensure that a keg filled with lye
could not slip through the conventional control points.
As a keg containing lye has a considerably higher
temperature than a keg filled with beer, continuous monitoring of
temperatures proved to be the optimum solution. In this way, it was easy
to identify wrongly filled kegs by measuring their temperature.
The infrared camera (top left in the image), checks each passing keg.
Non-contact temperature measurement using spot
pyrometer thermometers proved to be not sufficiently reliable for this
application. Accordingly, an infrared camera was the chosen option. When
correctly adjusted and interpreted, the camera’s images enable a
virtually error-free measurement.
Infrared sees the difference
A FLIR Systems ThermoVision™ A20-M camera now
measures the temperature of every keg before it leaves the conveyor belt
of the filling installation. If the infrared camera identifies a keg
with a different temperature, it sets off an alarm and the conveyor belt
is automatically halted. The keg is then manually removed.
The monitoring system with the infrared camera has
been in use for six months at the Erdinger brewery and it has proven to
be extremely successful. The system is regularly inspected, but even in
error simulations the A20-M FireWire camera has proven itself
particularly reliable – any deviation has been identified immediately,
triggering the appropriate alarm stage. “Not one keg filled with lye has
left the filling shed. The infrared camera solution is now an
established part of our plant”, says a spokesman for Erdinger Weissbräu.
Infrared image of a keg filled with beer.
FLIR’s range for breweries
The FLIR Systems ThermoVison A20, installed in a
protective housing, plays a crucial role in this solution. Through
FireWire, the camera is connected to a touch screen monitor that shows
which size and type of keg is currently going through the cleaning and
filling process. A thermal image of the keg going through is
simultaneously shown on the monitor screen in real time. The system is
not incorporated into the washing and filling machinery, which means
that it can be used on all, new or existing, filling installations.
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