Sensors & Transducers

Flexible sensors for individual beer

August 2020 Sensors & Transducers

A variety of individual beers characterise the regional brewery Skanderborg Bryghus in the Danish town of Skanderborg. Unlike large commercial breweries, this brewery is largely promoted and operated by beer lovers on a voluntary basis. The beer proved so popular that three years after its foundation the brewery had to be expanded. On this occasion, modern sensors from ifm were implemented to monitor the numerous tanks.

Allan Pedersen, technical manager of Skanderborg Bryghus explains: “In 2015 our company started with a brewing capacity of 125 000 litres of beer per year. In 2018 and 2019 we significantly expanded the brewery, which now has a capacity of 4 million litres per year.”

The expansion was carried out by the company GEA, Kåre Hjortkjær, an international engineering company. Pedersen adds: “GEA installed more than 300 ifm sensors that we can remotely set, calibrate and monitor via IO-Link. We are happy that we can use the complete solution of a supplier instead of having to buy components from different manufacturers.”

Resistant pressure sensor ensures a smooth process

An ifm pressure sensor, type PI2795, is mounted at the bottom of the tank. The level is determined via the hydrostatic pressure the beer in the tank exerts on the sensor’s measuring cell. The measuring range of the sensor is -1 to 4 bar. It is resolved in steps of 0,005 bar. The measured value is transmitted to the plant controller via an analogue signal or IO-Link. Since the tank geometry is known the controller calculates the exact contents in litres from the measured pressure.

The measuring cell is mounted flush in the process connection, especially for use in food applications. This prevents build-up at the measuring point and allows residue-free cleaning, for example, during CIP cleaning. The sensor is designed for medium temperatures up to 80°C. The housing is made of stainless steel and with protection rating IP 68/69K, which is resistant to high-pressure cleaning with aggressive cleaning agents.

Level sensor LMT from ifm provides overflow prevention

The LMT102 is an electronic point level sensor for hygienic applications. When installed at the lower end of the tank, it signals empty state, when installed in the upper part it is used for overflow prevention. A second function of the sensor is that it can differentiate different media. For the brewery this means that the sensor detects if beer or CIP liquid is in the tank. In addition to point level detection, this information adds to the process reliability because a mixture of product and cleaning agents can reliably be excluded.

Especially in the food industry build-up and foam often make reliable level detection difficult. As opposed to the vibration forks often used, the electronic point level sensor LMT from ifm ignores build-up. In the brewing process this ensures that foam does not affect level detection.

Precise temperature sensor for demanding applications

The temperature of the beer is monitored in the upper, middle and lower part of the tank using ifm temperature transmitters of the series TA22, which have a high accuracy over the whole temperature range. Thanks to the good dynamic response they quickly react to temperature changes. These sensors also feature a hygienic design to meet the high requirements in the food and beverage industry.

IO-Link - the perfect basis for intelligent control

Thanks to IO-Link, measured values are reliably monitored at the control desk. Parameter setting and diagnostics of each sensor are also centralised. IO-Link allows extensive and easy parameter setting. Thus, the level sensor LMT can be adjusted to different media via IO-Link. For the pressure sensors it is, for example, possible to adjust switch points via the controller. This offers maximum flexibility, for example, when formulas are changed.

Moreover, IO-Link transfers the diagnostic data of the sensors to the controller. The LMT level sensor, for example, signals heavy build-up that prevents a reliable detection or differentiation of media.


ifm offers a wide range of powerful sensors to monitor the processes in a brewery. IO-Link sensors not only offer maximum automation and safety, but also optimum product quality. Both OEMs and customers appreciate the particularly close contact with customers according to the slogan “ifm – close to you!”


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