BUCHI and CEMSI: Partners in Integration

A rapidly rising consumer food company needed NIR technology to quickly test final product quality in their pilot plant R&D facility. The R&D team wanted an NIR to provide non-contact, process control measurements of food products passing rapidly by on a conveyor belt.  However, being a pilot facility, they desired adjustable and temporary mounting approaches to optimize measurements and accommodate relocations within the plant.

The BUCHI NIR-Online X-Beam, designed to be used with conveyor systems, was a clear fit for the job, and the BUCHI NIR specialists were able to precisely and automatically trigger measurements as products were passing under the sensor. However, installing the sensor at the conveyor while allowing for future relocation or adjustments was an immediate challenge.

Enter Brad Young, a Technical Sales Specialist for CEM Specialties, Inc. (CEMSI), who called a local engineering part shop and manufactured a mobile platform on the spot to start a month-long trial period ending with incredible results. The customer is now looking to implement BUCHI NIR-Online technology at production facilities worldwide. Additional projects in development for this customer include sampling incoming materials and in-process measurements at the extruders.

Brad Young, a Technical Sales Specialist for CEMSI, executes his engineering expertise at a customer site, building a customized solution for a feasibility study at a pilot plant. The platform he devised supported an NIR-Onlinen X-Beam sensor over a conveyor belt transporting finished food products.

While BUCHI has a team of service engineers and product specialists available to facilitate NIR method development, installation and implementation, certain scenarios arise where additional and rapid engineering expertise is needed. For that reason, BUCHI Corporation has formally teamed up with CEMSI to offer superior support to customers who need a customized engineering solution to successfully implement NIR-Online sensors into their process.

In this blog, we will explore: who CEMSI is, how this partnership works, and the benefits of the enhanced engineering capacity offers in combination with the robust NIR-Online Solutions portfolio offered by BUCHI.  To find out more, we interviewed Steve Di Muzio, Technical Sales Supervisor, and Gary Saunders, Vice President, Operations of CEMSI.

Who is CEMSI?

For over 25 years, CEMSI has been providing process and emission monitoring solutions throughout North America and internationally to various industries including cement, mining, power, as well as chemical and petrochemical. Our support services include system design, integration, service (including preventive maintenance and troubleshooting).

What kind of projects does CEMSI work on?

We have global experience ranging from large-scale projects like gasoline blending analysis in the petrochemical industry and full-scale process and emission monitoring solutions in the cement industry to small CO-O2 boiler applications for emission monitoring.  We can design very simple cost-effective solutions to more complex custom systems for the most demanding applications.

As an example, in the chemical and petrochemical industry, analysis of incoming raw material and final product have traditionally been done using gas chromatographs.  This technology is becoming dated, often requiring complex sample systems and shelters to house this equipment, not to mention the lengthy delay for analysis.

How much do the innovations of BUCHI NIR being introduced by CEMSI to some of these older methodologies typically save the customer? 

In addition to the cost of the Gas Chromatograph (GC), you would require the sample system, shelter, integration of equipment into the shelter, crane to install shelter into place to name a few. There are additional on-going costs like heating and cooling the shelter housing the GC system.  The BUCHI spectrometer mounts directly on the process, circumventing these costly additions.  Based on hardware cost alone, we could easily estimate an $800,000 savings per installation.

Moreover, the process GC cost of ownership can approach 1,500 man hours and about $50,000 in preventative maintenance and emergency repair parts per year per unit. In comparison, the BUCH NIR consumes about 16 hours and $2,000 in preventative maintenance parts per year per unit.

What other markets do you think could benefit from these new NIR approaches?

  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Petrochemical refining
  • Cement
  • Food & beverage
  • Natural gas
  • Biofuels

How does the BUCHI-CEMSI partnership benefit the customer?

CEMSI is always looking for innovative ways to help improve our customers’ processes. We strive to help them save money through process optimization, reduction of maintenance time and cost. Our team has had opportunities to help our customers realize savings by reducing their product giveaway through improved analysis.  

The BUCHI NIR-Online system gives CEMSI the opportunity to achieve our goal of helping our customer save money, increase sampling frequency and measurement accuracy. Many industries continue to use old measurement techniques that often take several minutes rather than seconds to get a data point.  With the BUCHI NIR-Online technology, the customer will have the ability to get a lot more data points in the same amount of time that they were getting a single data point. This can be very useful to see trends and make necessary process adjustments on the fly. With this, the customer can minimize product giveaway, and ensure their final product meets the specification tolerances.

The NIR-Online X-Beam is one of several NIR-Online product configurations available. Each unit is ingress protected (IP65, IP66k) with optional Class 1 Div 1, ATEX, and CSA certification (gas and dust). Shown here in an “up-view” configuration, this versatile sensor can be adapted to accommodate many installation scenarios or requirements, including the addition of VIS and camera options to expand analytical capabilities.

Leveraging CEMSI experiences with integration, installation, troubleshooting and repair in tough applications with the BUCHI NIR-Online analyzer provides a simplified installation for the customer, directly in the field or on the production line.

BUCHI Application Specialist, Mark Sullivan, works alongside CEMSI Technical Sales Specialist to optimize data collection frequency and measurements of finished food product parameters including fat, protein and moisture.

BUCHI has a solid product and most installation will be straight-forward. However, there are some applications that will require out-of-the-box thinking to allow the NIR analyzer to maintain its intended purpose of being an easy to install, easy to use, easy to maintain, real-time data generating analyzer.

Partnering with BUCHI allows us to use our wealth of industry knowledge, combined with a high-quality product, to provide turnkey solutions to our customers. It is exciting to be able to offer customers a system that offers real-time analysis of their incoming raw material and their final product and be able to adjust processes to improve their product quality.

Fall is Doughnut Season (add an NIR for the perfect Baker’s Dozen)

In the northeast, fall ushers in crisp, cool air, vibrantly colored leaves… and doughnut season.

Perfectly glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Whether you’re getting your round, deep-fried cake from roadside from the Pennsylvania Amish or from a commercial bakery, quality is key. Krispy Kreme has been serving up delicious doughnuts for generations in the USA and even across the globe, so you may have heard of them. Their mission statement says in no uncertain terms: To make the most awesome doughnuts on the planet every single day.

Most doughnut aficionados believe that Krispy Kreme does make the most awesome doughnuts on the plant. So, the question becomes: how do they execute that mission statement with such incredible consistency? The BUCHI Studios team took a little road trip to their plant in Winston Salem, NC to find out.

The Winston Salem plant prepares the powder blends that will ultimately be used to create “sweet fluffy clouds of deliciousness” in Krispy Kreme bakeries throughout the USA, as well as the concentrates, or key powder ingredients, used in bakeries around the globe. The Quality team is focused on providing consistency in their mixes to ensure that sweet taste experience from Nibley, Utah to England or even Thailand. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has become an important measurement tool to that end.

“Anything coming in… we want to be able to test it as quickly as we can as soon as we can, so that we know all the way through the process it’s already been tested, it’s been approved, it’s okay and we can continue.

Rob Paxton, Krispy Kreme Donuts

The use of NIR to provide quantitative or qualitative measurements on flours or even proprietary mixes is not new, and its prevalence in the industry is a consequence of the technique’s very fast measurement times (from fractions of a seconds to seconds) that simultaneously deliver critical sample properties like moisture, protein, fat and ash, to name a few.

NIR is used at Krispy Kreme to ensure that incoming ingredients meet specifications before entering the process, to monitor critical parameters (like moisture, protein and fat) during blending, and to ensure that the concentrates meet stringent quantitative criteria before being shipped to bakeries worldwide.

Krispy Kreme plant worker empties bag of flour to be used to for proprietary powder mix.

BUCHI offers three NIR products to meet the needs of flour millers and bakeries. Of those, Krispy Kreme has implemented the NIRMaster and NIR-Online. The NIRMaster is a rugged, at-line NIR product with hygienic design well-suited for the food industry. This Fourier-transform (FT) NIR product is designed to provide the ultimate in spectroscopic performance, enabling exceptionally accurate and consistent sample measurements. The NIR-Online is an NIR product of extreme ruggedness that can be directly attached to process equipment like hoppers or blenders, or suspended over conveyors, and provide real-time process monitoring feedback. The difference between the dispersive NIR technology of the online sensor and FT-NIR was drawn out in a prior blog, however, both technologies have an important role to play in food processing and testing.

krispy kreme testimonial

Dollars to donuts, NIR can provide reliable measurements that can support quality control and production… but don’t take our word for it! Watch the Krispy Kreme customer testimonial.

More on: the use of NIR in milling and bakery

Quality control of raw materials and ingredients

At uploading bulk flour or at bakery sites, NIR can be used to prevent unsatisfactory loads of raw materials, check that shipments conform to specifications, determine the quality of whole and ground grains, and quantify important factors of raw materials for better quality of finished products.

Quality control of bakery mixtures and dough

At a production site, NIR can be used to predict flour yield, water absorption and dough development time, quantify baking mixture ingredients or composition (e.g. %-moisture, %-protein), determine ash content affecting baking performance, and determine starch damage and water absorption during the milling process.

Quality control of finished products

At a production site or packing area, NIR can be used to control the quality of finished products (e.g. bread, biscuits, flour, confectionery, pasta and breakfast cereal), ensure compliance with any statutory composition requirements (e.g. moisture content of bread), or provide data for nutritional labeling.

Learn more: webinar

To learn even more about how NIR is used in flour milling (the backbone ingredient for bakery applications), you can check out the streaming webinar below.

Do-nut Fear: NIR Quick-Start is Here

For those flour or bakery producers who are interested in following in the sweet footsteps of the Krispy Kreme NIR program, BUCHI offers a broad portfolio of quick-start pre-calibrations to start collecting measurements of common ingredients right away. For the more customized blends, we have NIRWare software and Auto-cal to support the NIRMaster and NIR-Online method development, respectively. We have Application Specialists to support training for in-house calibration development using NIRWare. For online applications, AutoCal is a simple push or click button allowing to directly time stamp a sample. The sample is manually collected up- or downstream (with the optional by-pass sampler a time stamped sample is even automatically collected!) at a sampling point and subjected to internal or external reference analytics. Afterwards resulting values (e.g. protein, moisture and fat mass percentage) are directly entered into the software and the calibration is automatically updated.

Auto-cal is also integrated into the operating software of the BUCHI at-line NIR product ProxiMate which is a great fit for the food industry due to the ease of use, ruggedness and hygienic design.

Measuring a flour sample on the new BUCHI ProxiMate at-line NIR system.

Visit our NIR Applications Finder to configure your solution based on the ingredients or products that are important to you, download the NIR Milling and Bakery Applications brochure, or contact us to discuss your applications.

Evolution of BUCHI NIR

February 12 was Darwin Day. Darwin, of course, was known for his theories of evolution. While his theories continue to be hotly debated 137 years after his passing, none could argue that products and companies must evolve in some capacity to keep pace with, and meet the demands of customers-at-large.

Charles-Darwin-1880-631

Borrowing the words of Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique, “Evolution is all about looking forward.” The BUCHI NIR portfolio shows evidence of evolution in that sense. 

The BUCHI NIR “big bang” occurred in 1999 with the acquisition of Buhler NIR, with incremental steps leading up to the dramatic upgrade to the NIRFlex series, and so far culminating with the N-500 FT-NIR product.

N-500_Solids_left_312093-1104

The NIRFlex bench-top instrumentation was designed to meet consumer demands in both R&D and routine testing labs for true flexibility and high performance. Hot-swap modules accommodate nearly any sample type (i.e. solid, liquid, semi-solid or slurry), while the Fourier-transform (FT) technology provides exceptional precision. A novel single-beam FT design further propels instrument performance, stability and robustness, while hardware and software components continue to meet even the demands of the  pharmaceutical regulatory agencies.

NIRMaster_NIRMaster_ProNext, the NIRMaster was added to the portfolio specifically to serve the demands of the food and feed industries, bringing with it IP-54 and IP-65 ingress protection and features designed to ensure food safety. This revolutionary design was the first to marry the accuracy of FT-NIR with a robust and hygienic standalone at-line design suited for the production floor.

NIR-Online

In 2005, the BUCHI portfolio expanded with the acquisition of German on-line sensor manufacturer NIR-Online, just a modest train ride away from company headquarters in Flawil, Switzerland. With this acquisition, BUCHI was finally able to offer a true in- and on-line NIR solution for process control. Since its introduction, the NIR-Online product has further evolved, expanding capabilities to include multiplexing, and continuing to meet requirements for workplace safety, including explosion-proof options for hazardous environments.

In late 2018, the BUCHI NIR portfolio saw its next evolution: the ProxiMate. This at-line workhorse took the speed and agility of the NIR-Online solution at-line, creating an affordable option for the typical food and feed industry customer without compromise in quality or performance.

ProxiMate_masterProxiMate offers 3 main benefits for food and feed industry users: applicative fit, extreme robustness and simple operation.

  • BUCHI application chemists have developed many ready-to-use pre-calibrations typically required by the food and feed industries, enabling accurate results with minimal effort and by users of any ability level

Of course, the idea of the “survival of the fittest” comes to mind on Darwin Day. It seems that the more recent of our evolutionary steps in the NIR product portfolio has been hyper-focused on robustness–survival in the dirtiest, harshest, or most hazardous environments. Learn more about ProxiMate and join us on this Extreme Journey along the NIR evolutionary path!

Next at bat: BUCHI @ PROCESS EXPO

Summer might be coming to a close, but our PROCESS EXPO pre-game is just heating up!

HOF Weekend 1957 Game_action_no acc #_CSU

The global food equipment and technology show PROCESS EXPO is being held in Chicago, home of the defending World Series Champions. You can catch us there September 19-22. In the spirit of the game and in anticipation for the Fall Pennant Races, the BUCHI Booth will be hosting a Wii Sports Home Run Derby competition! Be sure to stop by and take a swing for a chance to win some swag.

While you wait to step up to the plate, check out the NIR-Online, our in-line near-infrared sensor that will help you hit a Grand Slam in process control!

Not into baseball? BUCHI has something for you industry, including classical Kjeldahl reference methods and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for food analysis, in addition to spray-drying, encapsulation and freeze-drying.

Looking for a way around those long QC queues? Check out our NIRSolutions for the PROCESS EXPO industry sectors: 

Confectionery, Baking and Snack

We already blogged about some of the sweet stuff BUCHI can do in the chocolate industry, but our products can provide quantitative measurements for much more:

  • Whole & ground cereals (e.g. wheat, semolina, barley, rice, corn/maize)
  • Hulls & bran
  • Oil seed meals
  • Fats & oils (e.g. vegetable oils and animal fats)
  • Egg &  milk derivatives (e.g. egg powder, liquid egg, milk powder)
  • Dry pasta & noodles
  • Ready-meals (e.g. lasagna, frozen pizza)
  • Confectionary (e.g. chocolate, cocoa & derivatives)

Meat, Poultry and Seafood

Protein builds muscle, and BUCHI has flexed some muscles in the QC of many meats and meat products, including:

  • Animal meat (e.g. beef, pork, turkey, wild animals)
  • Fish meat
  • Sausage
  • Animal flour
  • Fish meal
  • Pig adipose tissue

Dairy

Our BUCHI NIR products are used to make sure that the stuff that goes into milk and milk products are in-spec, including:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt and fresh cheese
  • Hard, semi-hard and soft cheese
  • Processed cheese
  • Butter
  • Milk creams
  • Milk powders

Frozen and Prepared Foods

When you don’t have time to cook or time for long lab turn-around times, BUCHI NIR has methods developed for:

  • Dry pasta/noodles
  • Ready-meals (e.g. lasagna, meat pie, meat & fish ready noodles, frozen pizza)

Beverage

Drink up! BUCHI NIR can be used for quality control of beverages:

  • Distillers grains
  • Milk powders
  • Chocolate (e.g. cocoa & derivatives)

Getting hungry for more information?

Check out our Application Finder on the BUCHI website or Contact us to talk about your specific application needs.