Digital Measuring Devices and IFT 2019 – Thermometers and More for Food Industry Needs
GENEVA, OH, June 17, 2019
By Dan Jackson, TEGAM Thermometry Product Manager
I’m just back from the IFT (International Food Technology) Show 2019 in New Orleans this June.
There were over 17,000 attendees present to see the latest innovations from global food industry suppliers, ranging from the most efficient mixers to plant-based proteins that replace animal-based proteins. The new technologies to produce food ingredients is amazing. There was also a lot of new technology about making usable products from what used to be considered waste. (Usable proteins from lobster shells for example.) The food industry is definitely driving technology currently! I did not see it at the exhibition this year, but I would not be surprised if they started 3D-printing food to order soon!
Among all the chemistry and flavorings that are involved in food manufacturing these days, it is amazing how many applications exist where temperature monitoring and maintenance play a critical role in the food and ingredient production and storage processes. You cannot prepare commercial food products today without precision temperature measurement. ‘Everybody’ knows that for most meats, the magic temperature is 165°F, not 164.5°F that a low-cost digital thermometer would register and read as 165°F! TEGAM has developed special algorithms that assure that the temperature display does not read 165°F until the temperature is actually 165.0°F. If you’re a food manufacturer dealing with frozen foods, we also have an algorithm that works in that frigid direction to assure that your product is at -4.0°F, not -3.5°F, when the display reads as -4°F.
Many companies are instituting on-line process monitoring – having their quality test readings go directly into their QMS system to document compliance without the opportunity for human error. The difficult part is to get the reading from the process floor to a computer. Pen & clipboard and later, data entry, are prone to errors.
TEGAM has developed our 930 Series Datalogging Thermometers with wireless Bluetooth communications to make such data logging and entry very efficient. There are multiple ways to get the data from the handheld meter into your data system. The units can store up to 1000 points internally (each one date-and-time stamped), the wireless communications can go through a cell phone to virtually limitless cloud storage, and all files are spread-sheet compatible. There’s also a TEGAM software development kit for dataloggers that offers a CSV file to a laptop or the source code for full system integration. With all the digital data being collected, one of these paths should solve most individual or plant-wide needs.
In Today’s regulated world, data is often required to prove compliance and accuracies are often specified as tight as ±1°F. Plants need a method to verify and record the accuracies of their measuring instruments. I was talking to a commercial mushroom grower and learned that even small differences in soil temperature can make a big difference in yield. Morel Mushrooms prefer a temperature range of 50° to 60°F but fruit best when the soil temperature is a constant 53°F. If the soil temperature reaches 60°F or above, fruiting stops. This just shows how broad is the need for precision temperature measurement within the food industry!
Another important application in food manufacturing is the documenting of temperatures in flash-freeze processes and the long-term storage temperatures of frozen foods.
To verify the accuracy of a thermometry instrument, a company needs to either send each instrument out to a metrology lab for calibration (which can interfere with production timetables ) or have a temperature calibrator in your facility.
The generally accepted accuracy of a calibrator is at least 4 time the accuracy of the instrument being calibrated. TEGAM digital thermometers are 0.04% accuracy – which means a calibrator must be 4 times that, 0.01% or better, to be used to calibrate the thermometers. The new TEGAM 940 series thermocouple calibrators meet that requirement. We try to make it easy for our customers – you can equip your plant with our TEGAM digital thermometers, and have one calibrator on-hand and available to verify all the units in the plant.
If you are in the Food or Ingredients industries and need precision temperature measurement devices for your applications, please consider TEGAM – we understand what it takes to meet all the quality requirements necessary for your QA and food hygiene processes and have devised digital measuring devices for those very needs. Thanks for reading!