On Site Generating Solutions QC measurement method
Production quality and uniformity in food processing and its subsequent packaging is closely related to good quality control during the manufacturing process. Good process control and monitoring is critical. This is true for production of both the food product itself, the packaging and, of course, for putting the former inside the latter efficiently.
Laboratory and online systems are capable of delivering solutions for QC monitoring; and in cases where extra information about the flow properties are unnecessary, an online option can be the most useful.
Online systems often provide streamlined data, showing changes in more limited criteria for the product during the process. In this way corrective action can be quickly taken, minimising potential for waste and reprocessing. Laboratory instruments, designed for quick data collection (only a few seconds or minutes) and intuitive understanding of the data can also be useful in this respect where no proven online alternative exists.
Online monitoring of shear viscosity is widely accepted for many kinds of materials including for liquid foods and molten polymer packaging. In-pipe or in-tank probes can closely monitor the shear viscosity of the material in situ, allowing operators and engineers to take appropriate action to maintain the specifications of the food product. These probes can also be mounted at the die end of an extruder, to monitor the viscosity of molten polymer before the moulding of packaging.
Post-extrusion, the quality of the packaging material can be monitored optically to detect, catalogue and notify when user-defined flaws exist in the packaging material (eg, fish eyes, pin-holes, dark/light spots etc). For filling a liquid food into a package (by pouring, squirting, spraying etc), extensional viscosity often dominates the process.
A simple and quick laboratory technique has been developed for measuring the relative impact of the extensional properties of a liquid. In this way the product and the packaging can be monitored online right through the process, until the product has safely been deposited in its packaging.
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