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Production Process Insights

Maximize Recipe Control with Automatic Sampling

Posted by Tod Myers on 11/1/21 8:00 AM


A repeatable, representative sampling of bulk-solid products is essential in today’s production environments. From food production to plastics, automatic samplers are becoming standard practice to provide the needed insights on product quality and safety for profitable production. 

Production of bulk solid materials is dependent on expensive capital equipment, often optimized to produce multiple products on the same line. These systems can make numerous products, including varying particle sizes, dimensions, and other characteristics. An excellent example of this is pet food production, in which one line produces dry kibble of various sizes.

Ideally, an automatic sampler is designed to be optimized for one or a narrow range of product types to limit sampler bias and provide the most statistically significant data possible.  However, this design becomes complicated for lines that produce a range of products and often require different samplers for each product line.

A well-designed sampler with a range of capacity integrated with a control capable of multiple “recipes” can rectify this issue. Recipies are associated with each product’s mass flow rate and size geometry.

Recipe requirements consist of settings specific to the sample and dwell and purge times associated with the sampler. A recipe control system coupled with the correct automatic sampler can produce repeatable, representative samples for the various products run on one line.

Automatic Samplers meet recipe control challenges

Adapting automatic sampling to allow switching between products is a crucial part of this new era of sampling management. Automated sampling supports producers in easily updating or switching recipes while ensuring they’re cost-effectively maximizing profits and meet changing consumer demands.

Automatic sampling can help companies manage recipes by:

  • Determining product properties and composition
  • Ensuring quality control
  • Improving return on investment
  • Reducing operating costs
  • Improving loss control

Standard recipe management protocols can be utilized through a controller, which can be customized to meet the needs of each manufacturer. This customized approach allows producers to maximize their quality and maintain consistent products every time.

For example, the Sentry SBC controller is a dedicated logic control system capable of controlling any automatic sampler in the Sentry product line, including liquid, slurry, and bulk solids samplers. The controller was recently updated to accommodate multiple recipes. This allows users to quickly and easily select a group of parameters based on predetermined input by the end-user.

In this instance, the controller supplies ten recipes and all the associated parameters for each sample type. Users calculate the correct parameter settings for their products. The number of recipes is limited only by how many product types pass through the sampler and how well those recipes can be tracked.

Any modification to recipes, either through the SBC or different methods, should be easy and secure. Secure measures ensure product lines, recipe combinations, and end-users are protected from tampering, accidental modifications, and security threats.

The best practice is to name each recipe to their specific product lines so all operators can understand. This ensures it is easy to make manual adjustments to individual parameters without changing the entire recipe.

By using controllers as key recipe management in automatic sampling, food and beverage producers are empowered with a tool to ensure the highest quality, maximum production, and meet the changing dietary landscape.

Sentry Equipment offers a range of food and beverage samplers customized to meet your processes while ensuring you meet standards and regulations. Contact us at +1-262-567-7256, or complete our online contact form for more information.

Learn More About Automatic Bulk Solids Sampling

Topics: Food & Beverage, Solids & Powder

Written by Tod Myers