Guideline to getting moisture testing right in industrial processes
Different processes require moisture levels to be analyzed and determined to ensure that the quality of the output is guaranteed. This happens in plastics industries and food industries among others.
Moisture Analyzer Function and specifications are derived from controlled laboratory environment and not the plant or production setting. Therefore, some of the values shown on the instruments’ brochure may not match what you find in the plant setting. Therefore, it is vital to know if and where the instrument performs as well as the target readings for the ideal processes. This should be done with the materials that the instrument will be analyzing for moisture.
Sensitivity is very vital
In many processes such as that of rubber production, a difference of several hundredths in moisture may affect the quality of the output and the integrity of the quality assurance. Therefore, the moisture analyzer should be sensitive to a tiny change in moisture levels.
Several interferences can cause a change in instrument reading including the following
- The method of analysis
- Materials used
- The level balance of the unity
- Air currents
- Static and electromagnetic fields
Any of the above factors may cause a bias in the results of the moisture analyzers. In addition, something as simple as a drop of a seat on the hand of the person operating the instrument may add some extra mass that would evaporate. Other factors could come into play. Residual oils on the sample that is being analyzed may also get lost during the heating. Unfortunately, any mass loss is considered as a mass of water whether it is actual mass or not.
You should adjust your instrument and the material to ensure that it is only the water that is being tested. If you cannot do this, then you are using a wrong instrument for moisture testing.
It is important to run at least five replicates so that you determine if the results that you are getting from the instrument are correct or the instrument is biased.
It is also important that you determine if the current testing methods are appropriate for the materials that you want to be tested. You can only tell if the moisture analyzer function is okay if you are using the right moisture testing method.
You will be basing your decisions on the results from your moisture-testing equipment. Therefore, take your time to ensure that the instrument is accurate and that the equipment can detect your remedy actions in reducing or increasing moisture. Otherwise, faulty moisture analysis will not only undermine the integrity of your manufacturing process, it will lower the quality of your product and cause problems with your certifications. Work with your instrument supplier to get the right moisture tester for your specific process.