Campbell Technical Services Inc. has provided project consulting, instrumentation, controls and client project management services for 15 years. Within the last five years, the company has increasingly begun using infrared sensors for food freezing applications.



Campbell Technical Services Inc. (CTS), an industrial consulting and technology firm based in Kimberly, Idaho, has provided project consulting, instrumentation, controls and client project management services for 15 years. Within the last five years, the company has increasingly begun using infrared sensors for food freezing applications. According to Stace Campbell, president of CTS, the accuracy provided by infrared temperature measurement can help plants eliminate waste, reduce their refrigeration load and optimize product quality.

For example, a manufacturer that is returning to production from a freezer defrost will typically draw down the freezer for an estimated amount of time before sending product through the system. The standard practice is to divert the product until manual temperature checks indicate that the product is frozen and ready for packaging; however, this process can produce a substantial amount of waste due to the lag time between temperature measurement and packaging, as well as errors associated with manually entered data.

“Infrared temperature sensors can allow manufacturers to determine precisely when the freezer bed has reached the correct temperature and to assess in real time whether the product being discharged from the freezer is frozen and ready for packaging,” Campbell says. “The real-time data also help ensure that the product remains at the desired temperature after it is packaged, which can improve overall quality assurance and food safety.”

Table 1. Infrared temperature measurement used in conjunction with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) integration produced significant energy savings at one food production plant by allowing the company to optimize its fan horsepower, compressor use and defrost cycles.

Infrared temperature sensors can also assist in determining the need for defrosts and temperature adjustments that can reduce downtime and overall energy demand in the product freezing cycle. Campbell notes that one company was able to use infrared temperature monitoring to reduce energy costs in its freezing process by nearly $3,500 per month. This savings allowed the company to pay for the infrared device and SCADA integration in just 5.5 months (table 1).

“There is no doubt infrared is underutilized in food and beverage processing operations worldwide,” Campbell says.

For more information, e-mail stace.campbell@gmail.com or visit www.campbelltechnicalservices.com.

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