Moisture and Solids Analysis of Dairy Powders and Ingredients

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Rapid and accurate moisture and solids determination are critical measurements for dairy powder manufacturers. These metrics are used to control blending formulations, minimize energy costs of dryers, and confirm finished product specifications. Dairy powder manufacturers analyze a variety of wet and dry samples, including incoming raw materials, in-process slurries, and dry finished products. Deviations in blending formulations can lead to inefficiencies in pumping and spraying of in-process slurries as well as discrepancies in moisture contents of finished products. Moisture variances in finished dairy powders can compromise taste and nutritional quality, and more importantly, lead to microbial spoilage if levels are too high.


Traditional moisture/solids analysis techniques have fallen short in their abilities to analyze both wet and dry products in a single instrument. Infrared balances are capable of analyzing dry finished products but face challenges with high moisture samples (i.e. cream, milk, liquid whey) since they only penetrate the surface of the sample. Alternatively, microwave only systems can rapidly measure moisture in wet raw materials but are prone to burning and product degradation of dry, low moisture powders.


The SMART 6 Moisture and Solids Analyzer utilizes dual-frequency energy to rapidly analyze any product, wet or dry, in 3 minutes or less. By combining microwave and infrared, the SMART 6 harnesses the advantages of both technologies to rapidly drive off moisture in any product. The low frequency microwaves penetrate the entire sample and rapidly remove free water through dipole rotation, while infrared evenly heats the surface and removes bound water through molecular vibration. The two energy sources work in unison, providing significant advantages over infrared only and microwave only instrumentation.


To demonstrate the ability of the SMART 6 for rapid moisture and solids analysis, an assortment of 20 incoming liquid dairy products, in-process slurry, and dairy powder samples were analyzed. The liquids and in-process slurry spanned a range of ca. 6.0 – 47.0 % solids, while the finished product dry powders ranged from ca. 1.5 – 6.5 % moisture.