A monoblock light-scattering sensor, which is capable of measuring the fat content of milk and indicating the excess by which the somatic cell count (SCC) is over the permissible level, has been developed for installation in dairy systems. In order for the sensor to perform measurements when the milking machine is working in the "milk plug" mode, a flow-through unit is designed in the form of a pipe with a lateral cylindrical branch, in which milk accumulates so as to eliminate large bubbles and achieve continuity of the milk flow. The operation of the sensor is based on the registration of the angular intensity distribution of light scattered in the transparent cylindrical segment of the tube branch. A semiconductor laser with a wavelength of 650 nm is used as a light source for determining scattering in milk. The angular distribution of the scattered light intensity (scattering indicatrix) is recorded using an axial photodiode array. The fat content is determined by the average slope of the measured scattering indicatrix in the range of scattering angles 72-162°. The SCC level is estimated from the relative deviation of the forward scatter intensity normalized to the backscatter intensity with respect to uninfected milk. The sensor has been tested on a Yolochka-type milking machine.
Keywords: laser light scattering; milk quality control; milking systems; optical sensors.