Pentair Haffmans – Alcohol meter
Pentair is a ‘multinational diversified industrial company’ with over 27,000 employees worldwide. As part of an acquisition, the company took over Hoffman’s, renowned for its ‘content meter’, a CO2 measuring solution for breweries. In fact, every brewery in the world uses Haffmans’ products. This segment of the company focuses on breweries, whilst other parts provide components for mobile water filter installations. These may be used to provide a small city with clean drinking water in case of natural disaster, for example.
Pentair develops and manufactures a variety of products for the soft drink and beer industries in-house. Design, calculation models, mechanical engineering and production support and software development come together in the company’s R&D department combines. Fourtress is working on several products, such as the Keg Monitor, a control system for the cleaning of beer barrels. When a barrel returns to the brewery after being used in catering, it is cleaned and checks are carried out to determine whether the closure is still working properly. For this purpose, a barrel is equipped with various sensors (temperature, pressure, etc.) as well as an embedded system for storing data. This ‘measurement barrel’ is placed on the cleaning conveyor belt to collect data.
Another project carried out with Fourtress is the inline alcohol meter. ‘Inline’ indicated that the sensor is placed in a beer tube, unlike lab equipment that sits on a worktop. The sensor measures the alcohol percentage as a meter of beer runs through the line every second. This measurement is based on a laser shining through the beer onto a spectrometer. The spectrum is influenced by the different components in the beer, and the presence of alcohol causes a slight deviation in the signal.
Finally, Fourtress and Pentair jointly developed the turbidity meter: a checking system that can calculate the turbidity of liquids. Although these projects involve different instruments, they have a great deal in common: they are all embedded systems with a so-called ‘ARM Cortex core’. Each runs on freeRTOS with its own library of hardware drivers and application modules, all written in C. One of the things Fourtress was involved in is the generation of generic blocks for a hardware-specific driver with a common interface. As a result, we have a greater choice of hardware, testing is easier, and we promote code re-use.