An automatic on-line system for collecting samples of wort, beer, etc., for quality control analysis is described. At each collecting point, a sampling loop is installed through which the contents of the pipe or vessel flow continuously. Samples are drawn off through a pneumatically controlled valve opening off a chamber at the midpoint of the loop, which is automatically actuated by the central sampling control system at preprogrammed intervals, then transferred to a sterile bottle fitted to the outlet connector of the sampler. A typical sampling schedule would be two 2 ml samples per minute over an 8 hour shift, giving 960 samples with a total volume of 1920 ml. In a beer pipe with a flowrate of 500 hl/hour, this means that a sample would have been taken for every 4.2 hl passing the sampling point, whereas a manual system typically achieves only 4 samples per hour, so that each sample would then represent 125 hl passing the sampling point. The automatic sampler thus provides a set of samples more representative of the whole production batch, as well as reducing the risk of contaminating the sample and/or the product during collection.
Keywords : automatic equipment on-line sampling