Making decisions based on quick on-site analysis is helping to drive the demand for mobile colorimeters, according to Merck Millipore.
The Spectroquant Move 100 colorimeter enables on-site analysis of more than 100 parameters, including aluminium, cadmium, iron and lead.
They are used for in-process and field control instead of time consuming testing of every sample in the quality control lab and risking sample deterioration or contamination, said the firm.
Dr Bärbel Grau said it measures things such as chlorine or cooling and boiling parameters like silicate, sulphate or chloride.
How it works
She said that a food and beverage user operates it as a system so the instrument is one part for the detection but the reaction of the sample with the reagents takes place in the test kits.
“The user in food and beverage will prepare his sample, run the test with the test kit and then put the final reaction solution into this little instrument,” she told FoodQualityNews.com at Analytica 2014 in Munich.
“Here he selects the individual method he is running, let’s assume it is chlorine, he selects from our display, chlorine, in the corresponding concentration range and then the instrument tells him what he has to do.
“So he has to insert a blank, press start and then it is measured and then the instrument says now insert the sample and again it is measured and then we get the results shown on the display and in parallel it is also stored on the instrument for transfer onto paper or to a computer printer.”
Grau said customers are looking for portable and easy to use devices.
“In food and beverage there are several applications that have been done for a long time on the spot so to say, mainly it is disinfection from chlorine to peroxide peracetic acid," she said.
“But it is also the batch control of the foods coming in like nitrate, ascorbic acid, it is interesting to see what the individual batch contains and not to wait a long time until you can process.
“Therefore there is a huge demand and we are getting new requests for further applications.”
This demand was coming from worldwide and not just Europe, she said.
“First, because many of the food and beverage producers are global and second maybe it is Indian or Chinese company but importing into the US or Europe would mean to also fulfil the regulations so they are also interested in these tests.”
Grau said it can be used at the start for ingredients or during other stages of the production process.
“So let’s say before the filling, or during the filling or when you clean the filling machines," she said.
“To really make the final quality control you use more precise methods in the quality control lab.”
Time to result depends on what test you are looking for, said Grau.
“It can be very short or in some other methods you can have a reaction time of 15 minutes so you have to plan a little bit your procedure but you have here a timer in the instrument so that you can have a look when it is time to insert the measurement.”