FAQ: How to measure 50,000L of beer

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

When we discuss tank measurement, we’re discussing the measurement of storage of a viscous fluid in an industrial context. This could be anything from a 100L tank holding hot glue to a 50,000L tank of cool beer.  

Each application will have its own challenges, for instance, hot glue presents challenges with its heat and viscosity as well as future maintenance. Beer also has specific issues to consider such as foam level because an industrial producer needs to know how much liquid is available for bottling. Each of these applications is approached in a slightly different way using very different technologies.

In both instances, Pacific Automation can assist in specifying and supplying the relevant sensor. We range sensors from the world’s leading suppliers such as Balluff, Delavan, Rechner Sensors and Lumel. This article will consider measuring beer because the festive season is around the corner and because it makes for an interesting case study.

When beer is poured or fermented, it foams. To an industrial producer, this means that using optics alone to measure tank levels can be challenging as the true level of the liquid rests below the foam. To meet this challenge a capacitance sensor can be used. This works by measuring the voltage difference between two objects with a space between them. In the case of a sensor measuring beer, the voltage will be different when the sensor is immersed in the liquid as opposed to immersed in foam or air. This input signal is then translated and calibrated to know when it is indeed immersed in beer. Watch the video below to see beer measurement in action.