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Rapid & Precise Moisture Analysis for Plastic Pellets

June 3, 2019
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Introduction

 

Plastic pellets are used in countless production processes, including but not limited to extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, and thermoforming. Moisture content has a direct impact on nearly all molding processes and must be tightly controlled. If moisture levels in pellets are too high, the final product can have visual or structural flaws, depending on the polymer type. Plastic part producers typically dry pellets before a manufacturing run, checking moisture content periodically until acceptable levels are reached. Long moisture test times can lead to unnecessary and costly time in the pellet dryer. Infrared moisture balances are a relatively rapid approach to measuring moisture, but can take 20 minutes or more to complete. Dedicated optical sensors can be fitted to pellet dryers, but are expensive, highly specialized, and require regular calibration.

 

The SMART Q moisture analyzer is uniquely designed to accurately measure low moisture levels common in plastic pellets. With a highly accurate 4-place analytical balance and 3-digit moisture readout, the SMART Q provides reliable, repeatable results in approximately 5 minutes. The SMART Q uses direct sample temperature feedback and active cavity ventilation to dry samples faster than any other infrared moisture analyzer with no cavity pre-heat.

 

This study demonstrates that the SMART Q can rapidly analyze a wide range of plastics for moisture with an average difference of less than 0.003% compared to air-oven reference results.