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Rapid and Precise Moisture Analysis for Powdered Dairy and Food Ingredients

February 5, 2019
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Introduction

 

The production of spray-dried powders is a relatively simple process, where liquid product is heated under low pressure to drive off moisture, creating a dry product that flows freely and will not spoil. As straightforward as the process is, the moisture content in the finished product is critical to control. Too much moisture will cause the final product to agglomerate and spoil. On the other hand, manufacturers must balance the removal of moisture with energy usage. Spray drying is an energyintensive process; over-drying powdered products increases energy usage and reduces overall profitability. Moisture levels can be monitored by in-line detectors located within the drying equipment. However, these sensors must be calibrated and final product must still be qualified by a direct method before release. Traditional infrared moisture balances are a relatively rapid approach to verifying moisture content, but can take 20 minutes or more to complete. Extended testing times, along with the inability to directly measure sample temperature, can result in scorched samples and inaccurate results.

 


The SMART Q moisture analyzer is uniquely designed to accurately and rapidly measure low moisture levels, common in powdered ingredients. By combining active cavity ventilation with direct sample temperature feedback, the SMART Q analyzes samples up to 3-times faster than traditional infrared moisture balances with no risk of burning. With a highly accurate 4-place analytical balance and 3-digit moisture readout, the SMART Q provides reliable, repeatable results in approximately 5 minutes. For even faster test times, the SMART Q can be upgraded to the SMART 6, which incorporates microwave and infrared technology for the fastest direct moisture analysis on the market.

 


This study demonstrates that the SMART Q can rapidly analyze a wide range of powdered ingredients for moisture with an average difference of 0.007% compared to vacuum oven reference results.