To trial the concept of in-plant real-time manufacturing water content characterisation, a commercial optical system for measuring light absoprtion and backscatter intensity was used with samples of food industry wastewater, and the results compared with conventional laboratory based water analysis. It is shown that the instrumentation is capable of coping with the range of turbidities presented by the wastewater and that there is some correlation between the absoprtion and backscatter measurements with the conventional parameters COD and TSS. It is suggested that combining backscatter and absoprtion data may provide an optical fingerprint of effluent that can be used as a management parameter, for example to identify unexpected contamination events. Potential uses of the instrumentation are discussed, including to provide rapid feedback on effects of system changes of effluent production, and in a feedback control loop to allow reuse ot water without compromising product safety.
This work investigates the use of a commercial optical product monitor to achieve in-line real-time water content analysis. Test fluids were used and optical measurements of attenuation of light intensity at four colours were made. These measurements were used to identify any relationships between these and the water quality parameters of turbidity and colour. Variation in light attenuation for turbidities up to 1700 NTU was successfully resolved by the instrument, with optical data for turbidities> or = 20 NTU fitting well the Beer-Lambert model. The sensor was also able to clearly identify the effect of filtering out suspended solids with unfiltered samples (apparent colour) exhibiting significantly higher attenuation coefficients than filtered sample (true colour). Futher studies will concentrate on whether the instrument can analyse samples with turbidities higher than 1700 NTU, together with further investigating the variation in the attenuation coefficient seen with turbidity and colour of light.
One of the most prominent challenges commonly acknowledged by modern manufacturing industries is ‘how to produce more with fewer resources?’ Nowhere is this more true than in the food sector due to the recent concerns regarding the long-term availability and security of food products. The unique attributes of food products such as the need for fresh perishable ingredients, health risks associated with inappropriate production environment, stringent storage and distributions requirements together with relatively short post-production shelf-life makes their preparation, production and supply considerably different to other manufactured goods. Furthermore, the impacts of climate change on our ability to produce food, the rapidly increasing global population, as well as changes in demand and dietary behaviours both within developed and developing countries urgently demands a need to change the way we grow, manufacture and consume our food products. This paper discusses a number of key research challenges facing modern food manufacturers, including improved productivity using fewer resources, valorisation of food waste, improving the resilience of food supply chains, localisation of food production, and utilisation of new sustainable sources of nutrition for provision of customised food products.
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Increasing pressures on freshwater supplies, continuity of supply uncertainties, and costs linked to legislative compliance, such as for wastewater treatment, are driving water use reduction up the agenda of manufacturing businesses. A survey is presented of current analysis methods and tools generally available to industry to analyze environmental impact of, and to manage, water use. These include life cycle analysis, water footprinting, strategic planning, water auditing, and process integration. It is identified that the methods surveyed do not provide insight into the operational requirements from individual process steps for water, instead taking such requirements as a given. We argue that such understanding is required for a proactive approach to long-term water usage reduction, in which sustainability is taken into account at the design stage for both process and product. As a first step to achieving this, we propose a concept of water usage efficiency which can be used to evaluate current and proposed processes and products. Three measures of efficiency are defined, supported by a framework of a detailed categorization and representation of water flows within a production system. The calculation of the efficiency measures is illustrated using the example of a tomato sauce production line. Finally, the elements required to create a useable tool based on the efficiency measures are discussed