Finna Sensors, through its acquisition of AquaMeasure and Moisture Register Products, has been working with starch producers for 30+ years, as the process requires careful control of moisture content. In particular, plants must monitor the moisture of starch in process silos as well as in de-watered cakes coming out of the centrifuges (before they go into flash dryers). Starch is a building block for many of the products we use throughout our world. Common end products that use starch are: animal feed, food thickeners, sweeteners, packaging, biofuel, bio-polymers, syrups as well as jellies and candies. More recently, starch for hand sanitizers and single-use plastics has surged in demand as the world battles COVID-19.
Failure to control moisture results in a series of process upsets. The most notable is plant down-time, which results from moisture levels rising too high in silos and pipes. The starch will cake to surrounding material. This must then be cleaned to ensure proper flow and that there is no build-up of bacteria/mold.
Starch in silos that is too dry is a potential explosion hazard. If the starch dries out, it can turn to dust, which will build up in the silos. Further downstream in the process, starch cakes that go into the flash dryers should be measured to confirm the incoming moisture. If the moisture is out of control, the final product will be rejected as it exits the dryer.
Finna Sensors developed the RF Probe to monitor and report on moisture in the production process. Using radio frequency to measure moisture, the RF probe is inserted into the process in a silo and/or in chutes between production stages. Typical moisture target ranges are between 5% and 12%. The sensor can be set up to send data to a PLC for real-time monitoring and alarming. It is a rugged and proven technology that can withstand the harsh production environments. There are 100s of installations world-wide in a variety of industries. Today, multiple starch manufacturers are successfully using the RF probe in their production facilities to drive greater throughput, quality and energy efficiency.
Contact us to learn more about how we can assist in your starch manufacturing process.