The European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) has just published a comprehensive hygienic design guideline (EHEDG Guideline Document 37 – Part 1) dedicated to the hygienic design of sensors.
Chair of the Working Group Sensors, Holger Schmidt (Baumer): ‘Sensor technology is emerging to become the single most important driving innovation in optimizing food safety.’
This new guideline covers all food contact processes, including wet, dry and powder, focusing on the product contact area of the sensor. Aside from the certified sensor itself, it is just as important to ensure hygienic integration into the process. This document will help define those hygienic requirements and provide guidance on how to use them.
Schmidt said, “There is a trend over the last several years towards more automation, which in turn requires more information out of the processes, so the sensors are gaining importance.’ Without the widespread use of sensors, food producers cannot expect to remain competitive. Sensors now allow for inline quality controls which enable adjustment during the ongoing process. Inline quality controls enable producers to maintain the corridor they’ve pre-defined for their production. Development is always a match of interests. Therefore, working in a group like this Working Group 37 helps not only sensor suppliers, but also enables the end-users to get an insight of what is to come and to ensure that what is developed matches their requirements.”
A primary aim of Working Group 37 was to support automation in a way that the process itself does not suffer and that end users are encouraged to utilize the equipment, while still getting the signals they need for quality improvement and sustainability. This process requires a sensor that is installed the right way and supplies a high-quality signal whenever needed. Therefore, a strong focus was placed on a customer and user-centric set-up of the guideline that gets into the nitty-gritty of dealing with the different technologies in process automation sensors.
This new document provides a practical guideline to choose and install sensors according to the hygienic requirement of the application. EHEDG Guideline Document 37 – Part 1 also helps define the hygienic requirements for the sensors and advises on how to use them. 3D drawings display critical or interesting hotspots in the sensor design requiring access.
A subsequent guideline is in process for the designers and developers, as well as for sensor base plant and machine builders. The combined know-how of the three groups allows for the development of another valuable new guideline to supply the best usability and assist the industry. Schmidt: ‘Both guidelines serve the basic aim of EHEDG: to improve the industry.’