Recently our laboratory service technician was on a call to calibrate pH meters for a customer in the food and beverage industry. While he was working, he happened to chat with a lab tech at the site and learned that they use moisture analysis. Doing some digging he realized that while they were constantly getting the weight calibrated, it had been over a year since the temperature had been calibrated on the unit! He brought that to the attention of the customer and fixed the problem while on site.
Moisture analyzers can be a vital part of your quality control process, measuring processability, shelf life, usability, and overall quality of a sample. Most facilities only focus on the weighing accuracy of the unit and neglect the temperature. To ensure they perform their best, weight and temperature need to be regularly maintained and calibrated. If the heating temperature is too low, not all of the moisture will have the chance to evaporate, which can lead to an incorrect reading of moisture content. There will also be problems caused by evaporation of the surface water instead of a complete crystal water evaporation in a sample. If the heating temperature is too high the opposite can happen. A sample may melt, oxidize, burn, or even combust. Other properties of the measured substance may change state, leaving trapped moisture inside of the sample without giving it a chance to evaporate.
So what causes these fluctuations to occur? There are many variables that can cause temperature fluctuations in moisture analyzers. Most influences are permanent, which occur regularly in samples or more sporadic as temporary influences. Some permanent influences could be the incorrect adjustment of the heating unit. Mechanical defects in the weighing unit can also present itself regularly. Temporary influences can vary from incorrect sample handling, wrong sample preparation, or other operator errors. These influences can be limited by applying suitable tests at appropriate regular frequencies by trained and certified technicians.
At Carlton Scale, our manufacture trained laboratory specialists can help to ensure your equipment is always working to optimal capabilities. The Carlton Scale laboratory specific maintenance agreements will ensure that your instrumentation is working properly, your staff has basic knowledge of equipment operation, and you are always getting a precise analysis of samples.
Contact us today for a free evaluation by one of our certified laboratory trained technicians.