Stream Sensing offers in-line, real-time rheology measurement in processing industry first
Manchester-based Stream Sensing Limited (Streaming Sensing), a spin-out of Industrial Tomography Systems (ITS) – a world leader in tomography-based analytical process instrumentation – has launched a unique technology that enables automated, in-line rheology measurement for fluid process optimisation. Suitable for complex fluids, the Stream Line Rheometer™ and accompanying software will help improve process efficiency in the personal care, household cleaning, food, pharma, speciality chemical and oil and gas sectors.
Measuring rheology, or the flow characteristics of a liquid, is crucial when products undergo multiphase mixing. This is especially important for personal care products, such as liquid soap, shampoo and toothpaste, where maintaining appropriate ratios is critical to product quality and safety.
The patented instrument was developed by experts at ITS based on the latest electrical resistance sensing technology and provides a continuous measurement that does not interfere with the process and eliminates the need for sampling or time-consuming lab-based testing. The technology has been proven to provide an accuracy of 98% compared with offline rheology measurements[i].
Ken Primrose, Stream Sensing’s CEO commented: “The ability to accurately measure the flow profile of liquid in a pipe, in real time, is a game-changer for FMCG manufacturers and other process companies. Until now, they have used sampling solutions that measure flow properties during the manufacturing process, resulting in the loss of millions of pounds each year because of time and materials wasted while waiting for test results.
“Our technology provides accurate measurements of a key functional product quality in the production line in real time, and could result in huge savings, shorter lead times and better quality control. Ensuring the rheology is right is key to product quality and effectiveness. We’re already in the advanced stages of trialling the technology at processing plants of leading blue-chip manufacturers and are excited to be offering this unique digital technology to global processing markets as part of the Industry 4.0 revolution.”
Earlier this year, Stream Sensing secured a six-figure investment from NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, managed by Maven Capital Partners and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, allowing the business to fully commercialise the technology and support its planned growth.
About Stream Sensing
Stream Sensing is the result of over five years of research and development by ITS, which is a world leader in electrical tomography, a technique used in mining, oil and other industries to monitor the flow of liquids and gases in pipelines.
Stream Sensing’s innovative technology was patented in 2015 (granted in 2020) and developed by ITS. It was then further developed and proven through UK-government funded research involving Unilever, Johnson Matthey and UK universities.
Stream Sensing spun out of ITS in 2020, which in turn was spun out of the University of Manchester more than 20 years ago.
Industrial Tomography Systems (ITS) is the world leader in measurement solutions using process tomography, a technique that works by taking volumetric, in-line electrical measurements to give real-time 3D images and data on what is going on inside pipes and vessels. Based in Manchester, UK, ITS supports customers in over 30 countries.
ITS technology is widely used within all processing industries – providing data to enable customers to improve efficiency, monitor and improve quality, shorten cycle times, improve yields, investigate multi component flow rate and develop new and improved mixing technologies.
[i] Machin, T.D., et al. 2018. In-pipe rheology and mixing characterisation using electrical resistance sensing, Chemical Engineering Science