New Process Development: Juice Drinks
New test methods developed, enabling raw material giveaway losses to be reduced by >£1m in 6 months
Food and Beverage – Juice Drinks
To improve process understanding and control in the measurement of sugars in solution in fresh juice drinks, in order to reduce false rejects and raw material giveaway.
6 months, 1 consultant
- Raw material savings of over £1 million per annum
- New test method developed with test equipment manufacturer
What inspired this manufacturer to pursue this project?
During a Chartwell-led problem solving training session, a client participant asserted that the industry standard refractive test for measuring sugars in solution was neither accurate or repeatable. The participant used Fault Tree Modelling to establish a set of controlled conditions and proved that the inherent uncertainty lead to false product rejects, along with more than £1 million of material giveaway. This loss had been entirely hidden to the business.
Results of the 6 month project
- Raw material giveaway losses reduced by more than £1 million per annum
- The manufacturer of the test equipment released a game-changing test method
Test Method Understanding:
- The main technical challenge was to understand the science of refractometry and the difference between theory and real-world observation at a microscopic level.
- The team started out by understanding how the test was supposed to work:
- Sugars in the juice cause the refractive index of the liquid to change by a specific amount.
- Next, the team analysed the problems that could cause inaccuracy:
- Temperature - The temperature of the equipment and the sample caused micro convection which affects the refraction of the light.
- Sediment - Any solids in the juice would settle on the prism, affecting the level of refraction.
Test Method Improvement
- The team worked with the test equipment manufacturer to develop a working method that was robust for factory operations.
- The new equipment filtered the sample and stabilised the temperature, prior to pumping the sample over a lens, taking continuous readings, to produce a repeatable and accurate result more than an order of magnitude better than the previous model.
- More accurate readings enabled the juice-maker to better understand the composition of their product, ultimately allowing them to create a more consistent product that cost less to manufacture