A fantastic view of the Swiss mountains complimented an exciting glimpse of the future at the Rotronic International Sales Meeting 2014 in the Swiss mountain village of Grindelwald.
The biennial Rotronic ISM brings together distributors and subsidiaries from the global Rotronic network (or family as it feels when we are all together!).
The week long meeting provides an invaluable opportunity to share experiences, projects, new ideas and product updates along with the showing off latest developments and future trends for the company. Aside from the formal workshops, training courses and meetings is the opportunity to informally explore new ventures and insights from around the world – as well as sharing a beer or two of course.
The growing range of new product launches from the Swiss HQ, combined with further developments from the UK’s R&D group based around the HygroGen technology highlights that the outlook for the next two years will be very interesting! (check out our new Hygrogen and AwTherm specific satellite sites www.hygrogen.com)
The last day of the meeting ensured everyone forgot about instruments for a while as we made our way out into the mountains. Mixed groups were pitched against each other in a fairly weird and wonderful mix of traditional team alpine games including Alphorn blowing and milk chair shuffling (best not to ask)!! Competition was tight but fun had by all.
It was all wrapped up with a fantastic outdoor bbq and the Rotronic awards – the UK team getting an award for the best CO2 product sales performance over the past two years!
The ISM are important to maintain open communication and share knowledge. Combined with a delicate mix of hard work, fun and fantastic enthusiasm from all the those attending ensures that once again the ISM was a great success!
Several important announcements were made about new products and future developments including…
New ATEX Range (launches very soon!)
Heated HygroMet Probe (now available!)
Two new videos coming soon (CO2 measurement and humidity overview)!
In addition we were given a glimpse of the future… Rotronic UK unveiled the latest HygroGen2 features and the HG2’s bigger brother, the HygroGen2-XL.
Rotronic AG introduced a new ASIC for the Hygroclip probe range improving reliability and quality without affecting compatibility.
Beyond this there were several very exciting new product ranges on the horizon but these are still under wraps for now… watch this space 🙂
There is no exact date, as to when the first beer was brewed but already at the beginning of the fifth millennium BC, people in southern Mesopotamia, in a region known as Sumer (modern Iraq), were brewing beer.
Beer, like other commodities such as wheat and other grains, was used as a currency. A clay tablet, dating from 6’000 BC contains one of the oldest known beer recipes.
The basic ingredients of beer are: water; a starch source: which is able to be fermented; yeast: to produce the fermentation; a flavouring such as hops. Yeast is the microorganism that is responsible for fermentation. Specifically Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the species of yeast that is used for brewing.
Facts & figures: Beer is the third most popular beverage in the world, coming in directly behind tea and water. American beer is made mostly from rice. This was invented to give American beer a lighter taste and tap into the market of women buyers. In the UK 28 million pints of beer are consumed every day, which equates to 100 litres per head each year. Belgium has over 400 different beer brands. Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty glass.
There are several steps in the brewing process, which include malting, milling, mashing, lautering, boiling, whirl-pooling, fermenting, conditioning, and filtering.
Step by step brewing:
Malting: germination of cereal grains. The sprouted cereal is then kiln dried at around 55°C. Milling: grinding of the malted cereal.
Mashing: the cereals are mixed with water and then heated.
Lautering: separation of the mash: the liquid (wort) is separated
from the residual grains.
Boiling: the wort is boiled to ensure sterility and then hops are added for flavour!
Whirl-pooling: the wort is sent into a whirlpool, removing the dense particles using centrifugal force.
Fermenting: yeast is added to the wort: conversion of the carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide – the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol!
Conditioning: the tank is cooled and the yeast and proteins separate from the beer. This conditioning period is also a maturing period.
Filtering: the beer is filtered: stabilising the flavour.
Packaging: the beer is packed then to the customers
Why the need to measure the carbon dioxide?
Carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a naturally occurring chemical compound. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure.
We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide level in exhaled air is rather constant: around 3,8%. When carbon dioxide is exhaled it will quickly be mixed with the surrounding air even indoors and provided that the ventilation is good, the concentration will be reduced to harmless levels. Indoor carbon dioxide levels usually vary between 400 and 1’200 ppm (parts per million). Outdoor carbon dioxide levels are usually 350 – 450 ppm.
Beer brewing process: Heavily industrialised or contaminated areas may periodically have a higher concentration of CO2. Carbon dioxide is released during the beer brewing process and as you will see below, CO2 is toxic for living organisms. In brewery environments where process generated carbon dioxide is widely present, the maximum permitted carbon dioxide concentration according to most standards is as high as 5’000 ppm (5%) during an 8 hour working period.
Beer storage: Most beer leaves the brewery carbonated: beer and carbon dioxide are sealed in a container under pressure. It can be carbonated during fermentation but it can also be carbonated in the bottle. In this case the beer is allowed to ferment completely. It is left unfiltered which leaves active yeast suspended in it. A small amount of sugar is then added at bottling time. The yeast begins to act on the sugar: CO2 is released and absorbed by the beer.
Beer can also be force carbonated, in which case it is allowed to fully ferment. Then CO2 is pumped into a sealed container with the beer and absorbed by the liquid. In this case, a tank of carbon dioxide will also be required. Undetected leaks in a gas system is a costly waste and a safety risk to personnel. While small leaks are inherent in any gas system, those of significant size raise the level of economic and safety risk.
How does CO2 affect the human body?
Due to the health risks associated with carbon dioxide exposure, there are regulations and laws in place to avoid exposure! The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that carbon dioxide concentrations exceeding 4% are immediately dangerous to life and health.
In indoor spaces occupied by people: concentrations higher than 1’000 ppm will cause discomfort in more than 20% of occupants. At 2’000 ppm, the majority of occupants will feel a significant degree of discomfort and many will develop nausea and headaches.
Case study: The lake Nyos The lake Nyos is a crater lake situated in Cameroon. In 1986, a pocket of magma from under the lake, leaked a large amount of CO2 into the air. The result was suffocation of around 1’700 people and 3’500 livestock!
As we take beer brewing seriously we will be sure to test a number of varieties with our colleagues from the world over at the Rotronic 2014 International Sales meeting in Grindelwald next week!
Dr Jeremy Wingate
News, views and interesting things from the world of metrology