Pressure Transducers Keep Food Safe

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High-pressure sterilizers are widely used as an alternative to heat sterilization in food and beverage products. Several of WIKA’s pressure transmitters are specifically designed for sanitary food and beverage applications for high-pressure sterilizers.

Heat sterilizers use steam to destroy pathogens that cause disease or food-borne illnesses without affecting the taste or nutrition of food products. On the other hand, high-pressure sterilizers use high-pressure hydraulic fluids, typically water, at moderate temperatures to sterilize food and beverage products. High-pressure sterilization is particularly effective with higher-acid-content foods such as juices and precooked meats. Low-acid foods like vegetables and milk cannot be fully sterilized using the high-pressure sterilization process.

Sanitary Pressure Transmitter Sterilization Cycle

High-pressure sterilization uses a pressure transducer in a sanitary pressure transmitter to monitor processes that ensure proper sterilization. The following WIKA pressure transmitters are designed for such applications:

  • General Purpose Pressure Transmitter Type S-10
  • Industrial Pressure Transmitter with Non-Clogging Flat Diaphragm Type S-11
  • WIKA S-10-3A Pressure Transmitter 3A Sanitary Compliant Type S-10-3A
  • Sanitary Pressure Transmitter with Integral Cooling Extension Type SA-11
  • Sanitary Pressure Transmitter NEMA 4X with Integral Junction Box Type F-20-3

A typical cycle of a sanitary pressure transmitter in a sterilization phase includes four steps 

  • Air is removed from the sterilization chamber.
  • Water at high pressure and low temperature is pumped into the chamber.
  • Food is sterilized between 32°F and 72°F at 30 to 40 kpsi for 2 to 5 minutes.
  • The chamber is evacuated, and the products are handled in the usual manner for conventional storage and distribution.

Temperature and pressure transducers are used to monitor the environmental conditions in the sterilization chamber. Pressure transducers monitor hydraulic fluid pressure inside the sterilization chamber along with the pressure output and control of the high-pressure water pump.

They are also used to monitor and control sterilization chamber pressure, in addition to monitoring and controlling water pump pressure.

The figure above is an example of a typical horizontal high-pressure sterilizer for food and beverage sanitation.

High-pressure sterilizers in sanitary applications call for pressure transducers that are compatible with high-pressure water and lower temperature ranges. Components used in high-pressure sterilization machinery typically meet FDA and USDA regulations for traditional high-temperature pasteurization and sterilization.

When selecting a sanitary pressure transmitter, it’s best to consider:

  • Its moisture ingress resistance
  • If it is CIP and/or SIP approved
  • If it meets 3A criteria, if necessary
  • Its low temperature effects.

Learn more about WIKA products in sterilization applications by contacting a WIKA representative.

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