A unit that was originally designed to help ensure the batch consistency of bakery products has found a new home within a wide range of manufacturing industries.
Every baker knows that to produce batch consistency you need an identical amount of ingredient each and every time. You also need an identical volume of water – and that’s not easy to achieve.
Bakers simply cannot afford to indulge in guesswork when working with volumes of water; delivery to the mixing bowl by way of buckets of water or hosepipe is messy and open to operator error. However, many bakeries use a water dosing meter – called The Aquameter - which achieves incredible accuracy.
Hoddesdon-based John Morton, who designs and manufacturers the units explains that it is a digital micro-controlled device that delivers exact, pre-selected quantities of water from a single pipe straight into the mixing vessel. John says: “The precise metering of the water means that the operator can exactly recreate batch consistency every time.
“We also produce a temperature control version which utilises the latest technology, which means that the unit does not require calibration… there are no potentiometers and no resistors, no settings that can alter over time or with use. The result is that the meter is always spot-on,” says Morton.
The Aquameter is now finding a home in other manufacturing processes, including
healthcare and medical along with the chemical, cosmetic, and paint industries. It is perfectly suited to any process in which water is added to any other ingredients – such as powders, granules or pastes - that are used in the manufacturing process.
Derek Baxter, International Projects Director with Filtrona International in Jarrow, says of the system: “We use the unit for metering water into a carbon-powder mix. Were it not for these units we would be using buckets of water, a line of hose, or a constantly changing mark on the tank - not that convenient.” He goes on: “With this thing we just dial new numbers in, and away we go... it’s obviously more accurate; using the meter than relying on staff to put it in by pail.”
Most recently, Micro Metalsmiths, Kirkby Moorside, have taken the unit on board. The company produce non-ferrous metal castings; precision components for the aerospace and microwave industries.
At the heart of the operation is a “lost wax” process. This involves producing a wax image of the casting, which is then encased in a mould. This mould is a plaster-silica blend, which uses exact quantities of water with which to blend the components. This mix is then poured around the wax and allowed to harden. That done, the wax is burned out at high temperature, the molten metal poured in, and the mould broken away to reveal the finished casting.
Steven Tomkinson, Foundry Development manager with Micro Metalsmiths, says: “Originally, we used a balance beam system for measuring out the water. It had a central pivot which was weighted at one end. The water flowed in and balanced out… archaic and not particularly accurate.”
He explains that, the other alternatives would have involved the company investing heavily in load cell weighing or some form of volumetric measuring device. He says: “The Aquameter is relatively inexpensive and reliable. It is also highly accurate.” Says Tomkinson, “It takes minutes to install and is of negligible cost to run.”
Little wonder that the unit is catching on in manufacturing processes outside the industry for which it was originally conceived.
For further information and pix: John Morton, Telephone 01 992 442 861
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