Soft drinks are produced and consumed in large amounts all over the world. The main ingredients of soft drinks are concentrate, water, and sugar or sweetener – and sometimes carbon dioxide. The concentrate is the ingredient which determines the specific flavor of the beverage. Mixing in the soft drink blending process takes place in two different phases: First, the soft drink concentrate is mixed with sugar solution (about 60 Brix). This premixture is blended with water into a final solution. Before the product is ready to be bottled, the blended soft drink solution is led to a container where carbonation takes place. There are two forms of blending: batch process and continuous blending. In batch process, water and concentrate are mixed in large tanks. The stirrers in the tank ensure a homogenous blend. A more advanced technique is continuous blending. The product is normally blended to a Brix level slightly higher than the one of the final product. The final concentration is reached by injecting a small amount of water. Afterwards, the solution passes a static or dynamic mixer and is ready for the final concentration measurement just before bottling.
Using the Schmidt + Haensch process refractometer in the blending process of softdrinks
The refractometer is used to measure and control the concentration of the blended product. A typical measurement range is 10-15 Brix at a temperature of 10 °C to 20 °C (50-68 °F). Depending on the blending process, the installation can vary. In batch process, the instrument can be installed directly in the tank or in a circulation line. In continuous blending, the concentration is measured after the final blender. Due to the accuracy of the process refractometer, great savings in expensive raw materials can be achieved.