Alfa Laval Exhibition bus tour

The Alfa Laval UK and Ireland Roadshow, its European exhibition vehicle, started out on the latest tour from their Camberley base last week, and is now in Cork. It returns to the UK with the first stop in Scotland, on 1st September. Main activity in the Camberley factory is the cleaning, refurbishment and repair of the various designs of Alfa Laval plate heat exchangers, plus production and refurbishment of their decanter centrifuges and other separation systems. Heat exchangers now represent 57% of their business, with separators and decanter centrifuges another 22% – but both are large and heavy equipment, so the exhibition vehicle showed smaller units and models, with the main displays concentrating on the fluid handling part of their business. This division represents 11% of sales, and is currently focused on hygienic fluid handling equipment, used in the production of beverages, dairy products, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and personal care products.

Supplying equipment to the dairy industry since the 1930s, Alfa Laval fluid handling covers pumps, valves, tank cleaning and mixing equipment and installation fittings to move fluids cleanly, efficiently and gently: many dairies, breweries and pharma plants totally rely on their products, as the range has been expanded to service all the requirements of these customers. The stories on Processingtalk give a good sample across the range: the Optilobe sanitary pump, and their sanitary valve range fitted with the ThinkTop control and monitoring system were well displayed on the Exhibition vehicle, with samples of their tank fittings and cleaning heads.

On a technical note, many of the valve position sensors, such as those used by the ThinkTop, appear to use Hall effect magnetic field sensors. These are typically used in pairs, to allow measurement of the relative strength of the field in two orthogonal directions. This avoids the problems inherent with the large temperature variation of the sensor output, and avoids any aging of the magnet strength in the moving element, by measurement of the ratio of the two fields, effectively monitoring the angle of the magnetic field. The magnets used in the valve stem, or even in a PTFE float in a variable area flowmeter are very small, often constructed from a ceramic material, and potted in place within the sensor itself.

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