Showing posts with label inline process refractometer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inline process refractometer. Show all posts

Industrial Applications for Inline Refractometers

Industrial Applications for Inline Refractometers

The applications for inline industrial refractometers are many. Outlined below are several of the more common applications and processes.

Spray Dryers: Spray drying is a way to produce a dry powder from a liquid or slurry by drying quickly with a warm gas, a preferred drying technique for many thermally sensitive products like foods and pharmaceuticals. Consistent distribution of particle size is the goal for spray drying. Process refractometer monitors the feed line's concentration to the spray dryer, ensuring correct particle size after drying and improving product shelf life.

Evaporation: An evaporator is a tool used to transform the liquid form of a chemical substance such as water into its gaseous / vapor form. During that phase, the liquid is evaporated or vaporized into a gas. Inline refractometers provide real-time data of concentration changes in the process media.

Crystallizers: In industry, crystallizers create liquid-solid separation. They are an essential component of chemical processing equipment as they can generate high-purity products from a relatively low energy input. The refractometer controls the liquor concentration to determine the right seeding point (evaporative crystallizer) or to detect when crystals start to form (cooling crystallizer).

Dissolving Tanks: Dissolving tanks dissolve solids into a liquid, thereby changing the concentration of the solution. Refractometers provide continuous measurement of the concentration components in solution as the solute dissolves into water or solvent, with real-time information for dissolving rate. 

Solid / Liquid Extraction - Solid / Liquid extraction method is a prevalent method in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries to acquire natural ingredients such as natural raw material flavors and fragrances. Inline refractometers measure the amount of extracted substance (dissolved solids) in the liquid after the extraction process. The measurement is not affected by undissolved solids, only by the dissolved matter, making it ideal to follow extraction efficiency. 

Reverse Osmosis: Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification method that removes ions, unwanted molecules, and bigger particles from drinking water using a partially permeable membrane. Inline refractometers provide real-time data of concentration changes in the process media.

Reactors: Process reactors are typical in commercial production applications in adhesives processing, agriculture, chemical processing, cosmetics, food and beverage production, paints and coating production, paper and pulp processing, pharmaceutical and medical production, plastics, and thermoplastics processing. The real-time progress can be followed using inline refractometers, either through the leveling out of process key process variables or reaching a single component's targeted refractive index value.

Cooking Processes: The art, technology, science, and craftsmanship of preparing food for consumption are cooking. The large-scale production of juices, jams, jellies, dairy, and fruits in modern production facilities requires automation and control instrumentation for quality and efficiency. Sugar is a critical component in many foods. The inline refractometer measures the refractive index to determine the cooking process's end and boost the cooking effectiveness.

Other areas where you'll find the use of industrial process refractometers are; adhesives processing, agriculture, chemical processing, cosmetics, food and beverage production, paints and coating production, paper and pulp processing, pharmaceutical, plastics, and thermoplastics processing.

For more information about applying the refractive index to industrial process applications, contact Electron Machine by calling 352-669-3101 or by visiting

Demonstration of Measuring °Brix in Soft Drinks (Soda) with an Inline Process Refractometer

Are you a soda manufacturer that wants better quality control while reducing cost? Stay tuned to see how the inline process refractometer can help you out.

Welcome to Electron Machine Corporation, manufacturer of the world's most rugged refractometer, found in various industries across the globe. 

The next series of videos will highlight some of the most common applications for Electron Machine refractometers. 

Typically installed in a pipeline, the MPR E-Scan is set up here as a demonstration equipment piece. In this demo, a static cup measures a variety of popular sodas. The refractometer s commonly installed either on a bottling line to determine what soda you're running or on the blending line mixing the syrup with the carbonated water to ensure that it stays at the correct consistency from bottle to bottle. 

Hopefully, you'll enjoy this quick little look into what the refractometer actually can do and how it measures orange juice. Stay tuned for the next series of videos. We'll highlight another product for the refractometer to measure. 

Electron Machine Corporation​
+1 352-669-3101

Improve Your Food Production Process with Continuous, Inline Process Refractometers

Improve Food Production Process

Adherence to the concentration of dissolved substances in food production is crucial for consistent product quality. Using a refractive index measuring instrument called a refractometer is an excellent method to monitor these concentrations. 

Refractometers measure the magnitude of redirection light when immersed in a fluid, referred to as the angle of refraction. The refractometer takes these measurements and correlates them to the refractive index (nD) - a long-established calculation of known values. These values determine the concentrations of the solutions.

Measuring the dissolved solids in food production offers enormous potential for increased efficiency and quality. In many applications, the process is manual, whereby measurements are done by hand repetitively and at short intervals. This is disruptive to the process and slow. A much more efficient and time-saving way is by taking process measurements with a pipe mounted (inline) continuous refractometer, such as the Electron Machine MPR E-Scan

The density of the liquid varies as the number of dissolved particles increases or decreases. The MPR E-Scan continuously monitors the concentration using an inline sensor, enabling accurate measuring of the devolved solids, enabling repeatable management of the process. Typical applications run the gamut in all aspects of the food industry.  Examples in food production include control of sugar concentration of juices, soft drinks, jams, jellies; measuring the milk fat solids in dairy products; and  mash measurements, wort concentration, and alcohol level. By taking measurements continually and in real-time, production run time are shortened and efficiency is dramatically increased. 

Electron Machine Corporation
+1 352-669-3101

Check out our latest Ad in PI Process Instrumentation Magazine!

Electron Machine

Electron Machine is pleased to be advertising in PI Process Instrumentation Magazine. P.I. Process Instrumentation (formerly named Flow Control).

P.I. Process Instrumentation (formerly named Flow Control) serves professionals who design, operate, automate and maintain the systems that measure and control liquids and gases in industrial processes.

Inline Process Refractometers from Electron Machine

Inline Process Refractometer

As the pioneer in developing the industrial use of refractive index, Electron Machine’s instruments provide safe, reliable, and accurate process measurement for the pulp and paper industry, the food and beverage industry, and the chemical industry. With thousands of refractometers installed around the world, Electron Machine sells and supports it products through its Umatilla, Florida headquarters and a global network of technical distributors.

Electron Machine Corporation
+1 352-669-3101

Inline Process Refractometers Used in Industry

Inline process refractometers are used in a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications including the measurement of the sugar content of food and beverages, monitoring the purity and concentration of ingredients in pharmaceuticals, analyzing the constituents in chemical used in pulp and paper processing, and purity control and concentration measurement of raw materials in the chemical industry.

Inline process refractometers provide a very reliable and accurate real time measurement, which is ideal for process loop optimization and control. With In-line process refractometers, product quality and batch times are more closely controlled, reducing costs as a result.

The Electron Machine Corporation has been designing and manufacturing in-line process refractometers since the early 1960s, with a focus on providing simple, rugged, and reliable instruments that provide value over time, with accurate measurement, minimal maintenance, and long service life. They are the pioneer in developing the industrial use of refractive index for safe, reliable, and accurate process measurement and control.

Electron Machine Corporation

Inline Process Refractometers for Food & Beverage

Inline process refractometers are used in many food and beverage applications. Some examples are beer, wine, gelatin & gummy candies, soy milk & tofu, tomato purée, ketchup, brine, canned coffee, jams, jellies, and honey.

The  process refractometer is used to assist in controlling sweetness and dissolved solids. The sensor is mounted in the sanitary process piping, while the control electronics are remotely mounted and provide outputs and communications to larger supervisory control systems.

For more information about inline process refractometers used in food and beverage applications, contact Electron Machine Corporation by calling 352-669-3101 or visiting

Inline Process Refractometer Application Engineering Data: Heavy Black Liquor

Heavy Black Liquor RI vs. Concentration

Refractometers are used in the recovery boiler area to measure heavy black liquor solids in the range of 50-80%. When used to monitor liquor solids to the spray nozzles they become so critical that the recovery boiler will not be operated without them.

As quoted from the Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee, “Refractometers have proven to be effective for black liquor recovery boiler service.” Refractometers are a critical component of the black liquor safe firing system.

Monitoring the recovery boiler firing liquor concentration requires two refractometers in a redundant and specially supervised system. A “Monitor Divert System” employs supervisory circuitry to oversee the correct operation of the refractometer and perform certain logic functions if it detects a failure. The most important of these is the automatic
diversion of the liquor from the furnace into a recirculation loop until the problems can be resolved.

Refractometers used elsewhere in this area include measuring the concentration of the heavy black liquor from storage as it enters the recovery area. They are also used extensively around the cascade or cyclone evaporators to monitor the performance of the direct contact evaporation system. When refractometers are used in the recovery area, the process can be tuned to operate efficiently and most importantly, more safely.

Inline process refractometer on black liquor service
Inline process refractometer on black liquor service.

What Is An Inline Process Refractometer?

Inline sensing head
Inline sensing head
Inline process refractometers are used in the food processing, beverage, pulp and paper processing, chemical, power, and primary metal industries. Inline process refractometers save labor costs, streamline the manufacturing process, and improve quality by detecting inconsistencies in a product early in the production phase. They continuously monitor, control and report the on Degrees Brix, Percent Solids, Dissolved Solids, SGU, and refractive index of a brand variety of solutions.

Inline process refractometers are made up of three main components:
Control console
Control console
  1. The inline sensing head, which is inserted to a pipe and is exposed the the product for direct measurement. The sensor is connected by a cable to the second main component, the control console.
  2. The control console, which houses the display, electronics, power supply and output connections. Both the sensor and the control module are designed for high accuracy and precise control. Their housing and cabling are often specialized for use in varying extreme conditions and very demanding environments.
  3. The process adapter, which connects the sensor mechanically to the process piping. Adapters are configured for the pipe size and application they are used on and are available in many configurations. Some of the more common adapter options are:
    • Lined - For extremely corrosive applications.
      Mounting adapters
      Mounting adapters
    • Inline - For most applications with pipeline sizes less than 2”.
    • Isolation - For critical process lines that cannot normally be shut down.
    • Sanitary - For applications on a sanitary pipeline.
    • Spool - For most applications with pipeline sizes greater than 2”.
    • Vessel - For applications where the sensing head is to be mounted directly onto a vessel or vacuum pan.
    • Weld-in - For economical mounting.

Technical Sales Representatives: The Often Underutilized Asset

Work with your technical sales rep
Work with your technical sales rep.
It will pay off in ways you haven't imagined.
Process refractometers are sold with the support of sales engineers working for the local distributor or representative. By realizing what these specialists have to contribute, and taking advantage of their knowledge and talent, you will save time and money and experience a better project outcome.

Consider these contributions:

Product Knowledge:
Sales engineers, by the nature of their job, are current on new products, their capabilities and their proper application. Unlike information available on the Web, sales engineers get advanced notice of product obsolescence and replacement. Also, because they are exposed to so many different types of applications and situations, sales engineers are a wealth of tacit knowledge that they readily share with their customers.

As a project engineer or leader, you may be treading on fresh ground with a refractometry requirement for your current assignment. You may not have a full grasp on how to handle a particular challenge presented by a project. If this is the case, call in the local technical sales representative - there can be real benefit in connecting to a source with past exposure to your current requirement.

Of course, sales engineers will be biased. Any solutions proposed are likely to be based upon the products sold by the representative. But the best sales people will share the virtues of their products openly and honestly, and even admit when they don’t have the right product. This is where the discussion, consideration and evaluation of several solutions become part of achieving the best project outcome.

Whatever your stake in an upcoming or ongoing project, it's highly recommended you develop a professional, mutually beneficial relationship with a technical sales expert, a problem solver. Look at a relationship with the local sales engineer as symbiotic. Their success, and your success, go hand-in-hand.

PID Control: The Basics

PID diagram
PID diagram (courtesy of Wikipedia)
PID is short for "proportional plus integral and derivative control", the three actions used in managing a control loop. Process loop controllers use one, two or all three of these to optimally control the process system. PID control is used in a wide variety of applications in industrial control and process system management.

Many types of PID controllers exist on the market and are used for controlling temperature, pressure, level and flow. PID control is also used in industrial, inline refractometers to control process variables such as Brix, Percent Solids, Dissolved Solids, Specific Gravity Units, and Refractive Index

Here is a brief explanation of the three actions that make up PID control.

Proportional Control Action (P): The controller output responds in proportion to error signal. The characteristic equation for this action is:
  • Where, Kp is called proportional gain, e is the error magnitude and B is the output from controller when there is no error. It is also called bias. 
  • In a proportional controller, the value of gain is set as required by the process and can be varied from 0 to ∞. 
Integral Control Action (I): The control system will respond if the error is present over a period of time. This type of control action is called Integral Control Action. The integral action is defined mathematically as:
  • Where, e= error, Ti= Time interval of integral action.
  • Purpose of integral action is to provide adequate control action on varying demands of process. In this type of action, output varies as per the time integral of error. This action does not exist independently and always associated with proportional control. 
Derivative Control Action (D): To achieve a stable process, wide proportional band and low integral action are set. Due to these settings, the control system can be too slow. If large system disturbances occur over a wide interval, PI controllers are inadequate. These large system disturbances can be managed if the controller output responds not only to the magnitude of deviation, but also to the rate of change of deviation. Derivative control action is that control action. 

Today's process controllers are much easier to set the PID, thanks to auto-tuning algorithms. What used to be a very time consuming and tedious job can now be done with the push of a button and allowing the controller to "learn" the process dynamics. PID controllers minimize error and optimize the accuracy of any process.

For more information on the use of closed loop control with industrial inline process refractometers. contact Electron Machine Corporation by visiting or calling 352-669-3101.