In a nutshell: Holger Schmidt, Endress+Hauser

Posted: 30 April 2012 | Helen Difford, Editor, New Food | No comments yet

Helen Difford, Editor, speaks exclusively to Holger Schmidt, Global Industry Manager Food & Beverage, Endress+Hauser…

Helen Difford, Editor, speaks exclusively to Holger Schmidt, Global Industry Manager Food & Beverage, Endress+Hauser Messtechnik GmbH+Co. KG

Holger Schmidt, Global Industry Manager Food & Beverage, Endress+Hauser Messtechnik GmbH+Co. KG

Holger Schmidt, Global Industry Manager Food & Beverage, Endress+Hauser Messtechnik GmbH+Co. KG

Endress + Hauser, founded in 1953, provides sensors, instruments, systems and services for level, flow, pressure and temperature measurement as well as liquid analysis and data acquisition. With a large customer base in the food and beverage industry, the company is firm in its resolve to supply the industry with hygienic materials, designs and process connections to meet the stringent requirements of the food and beverage market.

“As a partner of the food industry, it is important for every supplier to know about the elementary needs of food production,” Schmidt says. “The EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group) is a neutral entity that helps suppliers. EHEDG certification was developed by participants from across the industry. Experts from academia, consultants, global players in the food market, machine and plant manufacturers and suppliers are involved in EHEDG subgroups to ensure a stable foundation for guidelines issued by the EHEDG. It’s a successful exchange platform.”

With such a variety of industry members, all with their own agendas and needs, it would be natural to assume that there are some barriers to working together as a cohesive group. “In general, it’s a matter of trust,” Schmidt agrees. “It’s a win-win situation to work in the subgroups, as we can together gain a solution that is accepted by the food and beverage market. Standardisation helps hygienic design to become commercially successful and strong guidelines help development and design departments to match the needs of the market faster and more efficiently. Most participants are willing to share their expertise with the group, which helps us to perhaps see things from a different angle. Working in the subgroups creates opportunities to actively influence the future of hygienic design.”

Schmidt believes that recognition of hygienic requirements is slowly rising. “Both the EHEDG and 3-A in the US follow similar requirements. By acquiring their certification for products, suppliers find it easier to discuss the major values and benefits of their products to clients without needing to discuss the intricacies of hygienic design. By simply having the EHEDG logo, there is a level of trust and confidence that the product is already cleanable and satisfies EHEDG guidelines.”

Endress+Hauser’s latest invention to use EHEDG guidelines is the Liquipoint FTW 33. Designed to detect upper and lower limits in vessels and avoid damage caused by empty pipes, the Liquipoint FTW 33 sensor has a lower ingressing depth than any other sensor currently on the market. “There are several products that are very viscose and conductive, like yoghurt, for example,” Schmidt explains. “In such situations, the tuning fork design isn’t always reliable because due to the vibrations digging into the product, the sensor might think it’s free, when it’s not. Our new sensor has a different mix of conductive and capacitive technology to others, which is why it can stay flush, and together with a smart system of process integration adapter, the hygienic design is better. We see this sensor as an addition to the tuning fork, which still solves 80 – 90 per cent of applications perfectly. The Liquipoint FTW 33 is a specialist product, which has an advantage of being hygienically designed and certified by the EHEDG.”

Balancing hygienic design with efficiency and cost-effectiveness is important for suppliers. “Using the guidelines from the start of the development process saves us costs later on,” Schmidt says. “If the design is good, the costs of the sensor will be around market level. Most customers recognise the cost improvement they will receive over the lifetime of a sensor. A welldesigned and integrated sensor will support the user in faster phase shifts, product-to-product, to water, to cleaning agents. Saving time means more up-time for the plant. A shorter mixing phase means lower raw material costs as well as less wastewater treatment. Taking into account the time, energy and money saved, a slightly higher investment for hygienically designed sensors seems worthwhile.”