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Electricity free - Temperature control

Posted on January 31, 2008

Monitoring and controlling temperature is very important in a lot of process applications.  During the storage and transportation, knowing with confidence that the proper temperatures were maintained creates an additional level of importance.


Burns Engineering gets excited about these challenges, and we're obviously not the only ones...


Aaron Thermal, is a start-up company that is doing some very interesting work in the area of Phase Change materials.  They apply this technological concept to provide temperature control without electricity.  I thought this was a very interesting idea.  Designing, selecting and customizing phase change materials to achieve temperature control for various temperature ranges, used for transportation and storage and saves energy.  The materials are also non-toxic and non-polluting.  Seems like a win for the environment on several fronts.


I don't think the idea is going to replace the use of freezer and cryogenic RTD's during transportation and storage in the Biopharma or Food & Beverage industries as sometimes a record of the actual temperature is necessary for safety and verification.  BUT... these phase change materials could help reduce energy costs and simplify the control process.


I just thought it was interesting, and the Aaron Thermal site includes links to interesting info regarding best storage temps.  Check out the links for Wine and Fruit and Veggies...


Have you seen temperature related technologies that are unique and interesting?  Click on COMMENT above and share your discoveries...



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In the frozen tundra like climate that we are having up here in Minnesota (AGAIN!), Burns Engineering has created a multi-point PRT to monitor the frost line. Click here to see the application note on the product.




Today as the temperature dips into the -20C range, this sensor at 10 feet in length may not be long enough?!? We could build a longer PRT, but is that necessary?


In Minnesota, according to the local library, the Frost line is generally in the 4 to 5 feet range, so 10 feet should be good. Although a quick review of the climate extremes in MN and for the entire US indicates there are places that have been as cold as -80F! (~~-62C!)


Brrrrrr... It's not cryogenic, but it's feels like it!




Maybe we'll start drawing up the design for a 20-foot Multi-point PRT!


How cold has it been in your neck of the woods?



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3-A and BPE - BE in conversation?

Posted on January 16, 2008

ASME-BPE (BioProcess Equipment) committees meet Jan. 21 - 24 in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico.


The 3A organization, known as 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc., meets in May of each year.


These organizations are quite different, yet use much the same language to describe their objectives.


The question is:


What relationship between the organizations would best serve the industries?


It seems that both organizations are concerned about providing guidelines in the areas of sterility, sanitary, clean-ability, hygienic equipment, product safety and cross-product burden.   A review of the topics of interest from the 3A , 2007 Annul Meeting, indicates a few examples of the language and topics that are of interest to both BPE and 3A.


3A includes pharmaceutical products in the  3A mission statement and BPE addresses personal care products within it's mission, indicating broad and holistic areas of concern.


Burns Engineering designs Sanitary products to meet the guidelines of both organizations.  The Burns' Sanitary RTDs are designed to meet the 3A-74 specification for use in the Food and Beverage industry for milk and dairy processes.  The Sanitary products also incorporate the materials, surface finishes, sanitary flange designs as guided by the BPE-2005 standard.  The Burns Engineering Sanitary Wells  and Non-Intrusive RTDs, incorporate the same design criteria for use in both industries as well as the CIP and SIP processes, insuring a drainable design and NO flow restrictions.


The design expectations are similar and in many ways overlapping, such that the Burns' Sanitary RTDs are applicable across the industries of Biopharma, Food and Beverage, and Semiconductor.


If the product design is able to cross industries, can the conversation cross industries?


What do you think?  Should there be closer collaboration?


Click the comment button above and tell us what you think!



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Brilliance at ASTM Committee E20

Posted on December 27, 2007

John Zwak, Sr. Metrology Engineer and Jim Burns, President participated in the ASTM Committee sessions in November.  John is the Secretary for Committee E20 on Temperature Measurement, and Jim is the Chairman for Subcommittee E20.04.01 on Thermocouple testing where John is also the Secretary.


This is not only an opportunity to bring Burns' 47 years of experience to the conversation but to learn a lot from the many other brilliant folks in attendance.


Speaking of brilliant!  As part of the E20 meeting, Greg Strouse from NIST offered a presentation on an amazing technology as a potential replacement for a Standard Platinum Resistance Thermometer, SPRT.


The technology, "Sapphire Whispering Gallery", has been around for years.  Classic applications leverage the phenomenon of total internal reflection of energy waves, for the development of Oscillators to meet the demands for precision signal generation and processing.    In these applications, the device is generally temperature compensated to reduce temp effects.  This Review of SWG-mode Oscillators  gives a pretty technical, but interesting overview of the technology.


Mr. Strouse and his friends at NIST are exploring a concept that leverages the predictable temperature sensitivity of the Sapphire Whispering Gallery Thermometer, (SWGT) to accurately measure temperature with uncertainties of < 10mK.


Awesome stuff!  We here at Burns will be watch how this technology develops.   Check back with us to see what additional insights are revealed by the great work at NIST.


Post a comment!  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this interesting SWGT idea.



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Tangled & Confounded No More!

Posted on December 20, 2007

The Grinch isn't going to mess up this year's Holiday!  Burns Holiday email message on the left ... after giving the challenge some thought, our solution on the right:

holidaybeblast.png untangledlights1.png


It's simple and elegant ... just like a lot of the temperature-measurement solutions we come up with around here!


Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy Kwanzaa!

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Committed to your success! MWFPA 2007

Posted on November 21, 2007



I am sitting at the MWFPA 2007 event listening to Vince Lombardi, Jr. speaking about Teamwork!  A topic that transcends industries, businesses, projects and issues.


It got me thinking....


That is the key to what Burns wants to BE;  A team, with you.  To BE in a Teamwork relationship about the temperature related challenges that you have on your list of concerns.  To bridge our Temperature expertise and your process expertise to achieve the goal which can be best described as your success.


For a guy from Minnesota who happens to be a Minnesota Viking fan, I am humbled by the powerful message, in the presence of the son of Coach, Vince Lombardi.


His message:  "combining clear goals and dreams, with commitment and mental toughness, will enable success", is exciting and energizing.


Burns will BE committed and BE temperature experts on your team.


We would love to hear from you about how we can team-up for your success.



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Welcome to the BEblog!

Posted on November 21, 2007

To all the engineers, from a fellow Engineer; to those with challenging temperature measurements, from a guy (and an organization) that loves problem solving … Welcome to the BEblog!


Serial #16


With help from my friends at Burns, Richard, Judy, John, Tom, Bill and Jim we'll be sharing our ideas, our experiences and our creative thinking and problem solving through this blog.


We hope you'll share your thoughts, join in the conversation and help us build the Burns Engineering blog into an online community hub of discussion about all things temperature measurement. The BEblog will be a place to visit, to learn, to share, and offer questions. The more voices the better. So share your own blogs; we'll link to them. Share your experiences; we'll appreciate them. Share your passions for temperature and problem solving; we'll revel in them.


It’s also OK just to visit. If you see something interesting and want to share it with a friend or business colleague, please do! We'd love to hear from them as well.


And don't forget to scan through the other posts on the blog by scrolling down ...


We look forward to the conversation!


- Chuck

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Thinking about MWFPA.

Posted on November 21, 2007

How important is the requirement for No-Animal-Derived materials?


3A vs. the ASME-BPE? What’s your perspective?


Is irradiation effective as a method to insure safety?


International expansion: Your thoughts on maintaining food safety?


The role of temperature control on your CIP/SIP efforts?


Would better temperature-control improve your efficiency?


MWFPAWow. Lots of questions on our minds as we head to Milwaukee next week to participate in MWFPA 2007. The food & beverage manufacturing process is a challenging one. We've learned that by being trusted partners for clients in the food & beverage industry for more than 45 years. So we hope to see some old friends and meet some new ones next week.


But why wait? Let's start the conversation right here: What are the most pressing issues you face in the food & beverage manufacturing process?


Bet we've got a few ideas of how temperature measurement can help!


- Chuck

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Vacuum, Pressure, Steam… No Problem!

Posted on November 21, 2007

A harsh environment and a tough packaging challenge in the BioPharma and Food & Beverage industries, pretty much sums up the development task for our newest Autoclave Load Cell product: Burns Model 21090.


As you may know, the operating conditions of the autoclave process ranges from vacuum to positive pressure steam at temperatures up to 135C. Individually, these conditions are fairly easy to design around, but the combination presents a few interesting challenges in the RTD world – and sealing the device such that the insulation resistance performance is maintained after multiple cycles is the fun part.


Other features we designed into our new autoclave sensor include a .125 diameter stainless steel sharp-tipped sensor sheath to facilitate insertion through the rubber membrane of the load cell, and a dual Pt100 element that can support either a 3- or 4-wire operating connection. The cable features a silicone rubber jacket providing the durability necessary to meet the handling concerns that were shared with us from users of large chamber autoclave systems. We also designed a bulkhead/transition system to assist in providing a sealed penetration through the wall of the autoclave.


Now back to the sealing challenge!


Inside the transition housing (or handle which is laser marked for easy identification) is an elegant design which protects the 8-wire joints, simply yet effectively seals the sensor and involves very few complex parts. The design insures ease of manufacture and an epoxy fill method that results in an extremely stable final assembly.


New Autoclave Sensor


We're proud of the creativity of the approach and through our design verification testing, we're confident in the high reliability of the Model 21090 in the harsh environment of the Autoclave processing cycle.


Got another challenging application?  Comment on the blog or give us a call.


- John Zwak, Sr. Design & Metrology Engineer

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"There's an obstruction in the way of getting the sensor in the location....  Help!"


That's what our customer told us. So we took on this Sanitary temperature application challenge and had fun looking for creative solutions. In this case, the sensor needed to be broken in order to fit into the measurement location. This was the perfect application for a segmented sensor. For more information, see the Application Notes, "Sanitary RTD Probe for Tight Locations" on our Burns' site.


Challenging is the new exciting!


- Bill, Applications Engineer

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