Water is the number one ingredient in the beverage industry and is one of the most important ingredients in the production of liquid food. So it is only natural that the topics of water and water management have a major role on the agenda of this year’s drinktec, which takes place from 12 to 16 September 2022 in Munich.

This begins with the responsible use of water as a water product; its use as process water as sparingly as possible is also important. For both water sources, the full potential for savings has long remained untapped in the production of beverages and liquid foods. The water footprint could still be significantly smaller – industry leaders say savings of 60 percent are definitely achievable.

Lots of starting points for saving water

Where can beverage manufacturers find an opportunity to save water? Here are some examples provided by drinktec: Regular product changes require planning a rinsing or cleaning step between production orders. A second example is the question of how dirty the containers or production lines are. Manufacturers of beverages or liquid foods often base their cleaning processes on a maximum level of contamination that is not usually found in manufacturing. And for a third example: possible recirculation is often not done enough. The available process water is then disposed of instead of being cascaded in other process areas.

Visitors to drinktec 2022, who want to optimize the use and consumption of water, can choose from a variety of solutions. The software products allow to record the consumption of water in the measuring stations in the production systems in real time and to estimate it around the clock every day of the year. This makes consumption peaks transparent and can be accurately analyzed. For production managers and their teams, this means that realistic sustainability targets for water consumption in beverage operations are possible. In addition, full cost transparency contributes to improving the profitability of production.

Wastewater treatment systems, which integrate recirculation and circulation concepts depending on the quality and purpose of the water, offer a holistic approach with a complete circulation system. Purification associated with the recycling of water in the beverage and liquid food industry is well known: Biological, biophysical and membrane processes form the building blocks used for organic residues, sludge, microorganisms or non-degradable substances.

Robots as smart helpers

Adaptive solutions for future targeted activities are also being developed, such as the cleaning phase of beverage production. High-sensitivity sensors detect how dirty the containers are and then calculate the appropriate cleaning time. This precise cleaning concept is based on machine learning, as the included computer program calculates the required method and time required for cleaning based on previously learned pollution images and performs the currently required cleaning process, performing continuous self-optimization. The trick is three: the sensors consist of high-precision UV-LED elements, energy-efficient mini cameras and robust, temperature-resistant 360 ° guides that can control any position in the tank. The cleaning efficiency of this solution, presented by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute IVV under the name “Adaptive tank cleaning”, is significantly faster than the traditional orbital cleaning curve.

Supporting program with talks with exhibitors

Software optimization of existing data on water consumption, physical recycling and comprehensive recycling systems – in some cases even with the added benefits of generating energy in a biogas plant – and self-learning cleaning concepts: These are just a few examples of how exhibitors of drinktec 2022 stimulate high water efficiency in the production of beverages and liquid foods. However, in the drinktec TALK on water and water management, held online last December, experts also stressed that the use of recycled water must be accepted by society even more. The relationship between the price and value of water must also be anchored in people’s minds. The drinktec 2022 support program deliberately puts this focus on water and water management: In their specialized presentations, exhibitors will present countless new ideas on where water can still be saved – when using this resource in the beverage and liquid food industry.

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