MCT466 SF Stainless Steel NIR Moisture Gauge for the Food Industry
MCT466 SF Measures Moisture, Fat/Oil and Temperature in Food Products
The MCT466 SF is a rugged heavy duty NIR Transmitter designed for high temperature and wash down environments. Food Analyzer measures moisture, fat/oil and product temperature. The operator interface supplies a large digital display, analog outputs and digital archiving to help meet Food Saftey Monitoring Requirements.
Food Industry studies have determined the most important elements of processed food degradation to include moisture, temperature, pH, preservatives and packaging. The Food Industry has developed control parameters to optimize production and packaging to protect their products and improve shelf life. Packaging techniques can include vacuum sealed, sealed with minimum air head space, and nitrogen purge. The best packaging of food products still requires that the product being packaged has been manufactured under optimum conditions that include the control of moisture and temperature.
Food moisture is critical in maintaining texture, shelf life and control of microbial growth. Near infrared (NIR) moisture transmitters supply reliable and accurate measurements on-line. Relative humidity at manufacturing plants varies during the day as heat builds up, and fluctuates with the season. The best way to insure moisture control is direct moisture measurement at each unit operation and prior to packaging.
Chips, crisps, curls, crackers and cereals (the five Cs) all require tight moisture specifications. A very low moisture leads to crumbling and to too crisp a bite. High moisture leads to that soggy bite at a humid picnic, and if too high, microbial growth leading to mold. Vitamin and additive sprays are often water based and can be controlled based on moisture measurement. Dryer, fryer, or baking exit moisture control is critical prior to packaging.
Oil based flavoring sprays can also be measured and controlled at the unit operation with NIR sensors. Fat and oil measurements are also important in monitoring hydrogenation reactions and enzymatic degradation. Too high an oil level can impart a bitter taste and butter level can impact both odor and flavor in undesirable ways. Even normal cereal undergoes fat oxidation.
Food product temperature and relative humidity during the manufacturing process and when packaged affect the moisture level of the delivered product and thereby the taste, crispness, and shelf life. Infrared thermometers and thermal imaging systems offer many options for temperature measurement.
Color measurement not only insures brand integrity, it is often a good indicator of important reactions impacting odor and flavor. Non-enzymatic browning (Maillard Reaction), lipid oxidation, caramelization of reducing sugars, and enzymatic degradation can impact food product color allowing a correlation between the color and the reaction to be a useful tool, especially in the baking and roasting processes.
A Reliable, Rugged Moisture Gauge System for the Food Industry
Each MCT466 SF moisture gauge system consists of a stainless steel gauge and a stainless steel Operator Interface. The gauge is normally located over a conveying system and is connected by a proprietary heat resistant cable to the Operator Interface. The Operator Interface produces 4-20mA, 0-10 vdc, RS232/485 outputs, along with bus connections such as Ethernet, Profibus, Modbus, etc.
The MCT466 SF is made up of 5 basic components: a quartz halogen lamp, a filter wheel motor, multiple NIR interference filters in a rotating filter wheel assembly, a Lead Sulfide detector and a single “smart” circuit board. The MCT466-SF is fully modular – each of these components can be replaced in the field within minutes.
The Near Infrared (NIR) Operating Principle
Light from the lamp is directed through the rotating, narrow band-pass NIR filters. The filters separate the light into NIR wavelengths, selected specifically by PSC for the measurement and application being performed. The NIR light is then directed onto the product being measured, normally on a belt or vibrating conveyor.
Subsequently, the light reflected off of the product is captured by a mirror and focused onto a Lead Sulfide detector. The detector’s microvolt output is then taken by the on-board “smart” circuit board and converted into percent moisture or percent oil.
MCT466 SF Features
- 316 Stainless Steel enclosure
- Single proprietary heat resistant cable from gauge to Operator Interface
- Stainless Steel Operator Interface with bright, 5.7” Touchscreen Display
- All current, voltage and bus connections located at Operator Interface
- New micro controller, high performance, dual core architecture. One core dedicated to NIR signal acquisition, the other programmed to manage computations and communications options
- Samples entire NIR signal train for increased measurement accuracy
- Embedded bootloader allows sensor firmware to be upgraded through USB or serial interface
- Filter wheel speed adjustment through software
- Temperature controlled PbS detector for enhanced stability
- Built in cooling panel and air purge assembly
For full detailed specifications, please download PDF.