Join us Tweeter Share on LinkedIn
Sign Up

KHS develops intelligent filling valve


2019-12-01

“To date, depending on the beverage and container around 20 different types of filling valve are used,” says Jochen Ohrem, expert of R&D Management at
KHS in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. “The beverage industry1 DnSPro – sensor-based subsystems with decentralized cooperation for Industry 4.0 production
systems is increasingly calling for versatile filling systems. Digitally networked line and machine systems are also in high demand.”
KHS would like to significantly push these changes which is why the Dortmund systems provider has taken part in the DnSPro research project alongside
six other partners. Their common goal is to develop a self-learning filling valve with which beverage producers can fill all liquids into all existing types of
container. This would do away with the need for manual conversions and the effort required for operation and maintenance would be greatly reduced, says
Ohrem.
“We developed cyber-physical systems for this purpose, with the help of which the valve can determine how to best fill a certain beverage into a certain
container as quickly as possible,” Ohrem continues. The filling process is analyzed with the assistance of a camera. This continuously monitors the inclusion
of bubbles and foaming to prevent excessive foaming and thus product loss. With the help of microcontrollers and the camera’s evaluation electronics,
the filling valve is opened to varying degrees by a stepper motor depending on the fill level. “The focus was on ‘learning’ a number of skills: self-configuration,
analysis, self-diagnosis and, ultimately, self-optimization,” explains Ohrem. The future objective behind all this is to increase flexibility and energy and resource
efficiency in production through the application of an autodidactic system of artificial intelligence, says KHS.