Thursday, January 6, 2011

Plastec West 2011

Arizona Instrument will be exhibiting at the upcoming Plastec West 2011 Tradeshow in Anaheim, CA at the beginning of February! Details are as follows, so be sure to stop by and see us.

When: Tuesday, February 8 - Thursday, February 10, 2011
Where: Anaheim Convention Center | 800 West Katella Avenue | Anaheim, CA
Booth: #4021
As you may already know, our Computrac® Moisture Analyzer performance, ease of use and reliability is unmatched in the industry. Our commitment to your needs remain our highest priority. The Computrac® is a proven tool that will help you monitor quality parameters in each step of your process and research. This will minimize waste, increase productivity and in turn save a significant amount of money. For more information, please visit us online at
Shari Moore, Marketing Manager
Arizona Instrument LLC

Moisture Analysis in the Pharmaceutical Industry

When people aren’t feeling their best they often turn to medicine for relief from the symptoms that are associated with being ill. The public trusts that the products developed by pharmaceutical companies will not only make them feel better but will also not have harmful side effects. The pharmaceutical industry has earned this trust through constant research and evaluation, and adhering to strict safety guidelines designed to ensure they are bringing a quality product to market. Failing to follow these procedures could not only damage the relationship between manufacturers and customers, but also result in serious harm or even death.

One of the concerns that manufactures must manage is moisture content in its products. Pills are the products that are most thought of when people think about what the pharmaceutical industry provides. Pills need to remain whole from the time they are made to the time the purchaser ingests them. They also need to dissolve in water since this the most common transport system used by the body. Ensuring that pills are able to maintain their physical and chemical integrity requires a very specific amount of water, and accurately determining the amount of water requires precision instrumentation. Historically these measurements have been made using Karl Fischer Titration instruments, but this method has become increasingly more costly, wasteful and environmentally unfriendly.

Over the past 25 years considerable efforts have been made to develop a low cost, environmentally friendly, moisture specific method of material analysis. Leading these endeavors is Arizona Instrument LLC, who has successfully designed the Computrac® Vapor Pro® series of moisture analyzers. These instruments use RH sensor technology to accurately measure the amount of water in a material. The Vapor Pro instruments are sturdy enough for manufacturing plant floors, reduce hazardous chemical consumption making them an environmentally friendly alternative, and are capable of measuring moisture levels as low as 100ppm.

Karl Fischer Titration
First published in 1935, The Karl Fischer Titration Method has historically been the leading analytical method for detecting trace amounts of water in a variety of materials. The titration relies on the chemical reaction between I2 and H2O and has 2 methods of measuring water content.

Coulometric Titration
A Coulometric Titrator consists of an outer titration cell that contains the anode solution, a Pt detection electrode, a Pt anode and a cathode compartment that is separated by an ion permeable membrane. As water is introduced a chemical reaction is facilitated with a net oxidation reaction between SO2¬ and I2. One mole of water consumes 1 mole of I2, which generates 2 moles of electrons . The detection electrode will continue to measure a change in the electric potential until all of the I- is quenched and an excess of I2 is left in the solution. The reaction is given by the equation:
B•I2 + B•SO2 + B + H2O → 2BH+I− + BSO3
In this equation ROH is an alcohol (typically methanol) and B is a base.

Volumetric Titration
The Volumetric Titration uses the same chemical reaction as the coulometric method, however the setup is slightly different. The volumetric titrator has a cell that contains an Alcohol solution (usually methanol) and a detection electrode. An unknown amount of water is introduced to the cell and a known amount of solution containing I2, SO2 and a base are titrated into the cell until the reaction is complete.

The Karl Fischer titration method is water selective, uses small sample sizes, can analyze materials in all phases and can accurately measure water concentrations as low as 1ppm. However, there are significant drawbacks to this method as well. To facilitate this reaction requires expensive glassware that is easily broken in a manufacturing environment. Additionally, environmentally hazardous chemicals are used, which are expensive and have to be managed as hazardous waste. Also, chemicals containing mercaptans and thiol groups are known to interfere with the reaction and provide erroneous results.

Relative Humidity Sensor Technology
Relative Humidity (RH) was first used as a method of moisture determination in 1997 with the introduction of the Computrac® 3000 Moisture Analyzer by Arizona Instrument LLC. This method uses a thermoset polymer capacitor that has a selective response when in the presence of water, the same way that many RH sensors work in traditional settings such as houses, laboratory controlled environments, and dry boxes. A material is sealed in a sample vial, and then transported into an oven with inert gas blown through it. As the material gets hot, water molecules evolve off and are carried to the sensor via the carrier gas. The sensor is exposed to the water molecules and a measurable change in the electronic activity takes place. In addition, no solvent and no material processing for lyophilized pharmaceuticals are necessary for analysis. Since 1997 Arizona Instrument LLC has further developed this method of analysis and designed an instrument designed to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. The Computrac® Vapor Pro® Rx is capable of testing a variety of samples using different size vials with a current sensitivity able to accurately and reliably detect moisture as low as 100ppm.

RH Sensor detection is a viable alternative to Karl Fischer Titration and can be used to determine moisture content for various products brought to market by the pharmaceutical industry. Testing has shown the Vapor Pro® 3500L can accurately determine water concentration with the same level of precision as the Karl Fischer titrator. It has shown significant improvement in ease of use when compared to single sample testing methods common to Karl Fischer analysis. Also, the Vapor Pro® has addressed durability problems associated with Karl Fischer instrumentation, which allows for testing in a wider array of locations. Further, no hazardous chemical solvents are required for sample testing, which makes the Vapor Pro a green alternative to Karl Fischer titration.

James Moore, Chemist
Arizona Instrument LLC

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Moisture Testing in Petroleum Products

Moisture Analysis in Petroleum Products

Moisture is a constant nuisance in petroleum products. Moisture can affect the efficiency of lubricants and prematurely wear system parts that are expensive to replace and maintain. Testing for the moisture content in oils is a necessity to maintain oil systems and to detect moisture problems before they arise.

Moisture can enter an oil system a variety of ways. The simplest is in the process of adding or replacing oil and/or filters. Even if the oil system is closed, large amounts of moisture can enter through condensation in oil and filter storage. Oil can also absorb moisture from humid air depending on humidity and temperature. Any oxidation or combustion reaction can lead to water as a byproduct and can accumulate in the oil. Even the most carefully maintained system is vulnerable to moisture contamination.

All oils have a saturation point where they are able to hold a certain amount of dissolved moisture. This saturation point varies depending on polar additives present in the oil; as the water finds the polar molecules to collect around. Only after this saturation point is met is the presence of moisture in oil visible; either as an emulsion or as a layer In the oil.

Water has a variety of effects on oil systems. The most common is premature bearing wear. In large amounts moisture can lower oil viscosity, which can lead to bearing wear. It is also believed that moisture is absorbed into tiny fissures in the bearings and strips hydrogen from the metal, causing degradation. Even a small amount of moisture in a system can significantly affect bearing life.

Minute concentrations of moisture can also curtail the effect of certain additives in a system, especially oxidation inhibitors. As mentioned; water is attracted to polar molecules in a system, this can lead to decreased effectiveness of any polar additives. Some byproducts of hydrolysis reactions with additives can lead to acids, varnish, and sludge buildup which can prematurely clog filters.

Moisture in oil systems is a constant hazard that must be carefully monitored. The Computrac® Vapor Pro® Fx Moisture Specific Analyzer is capable of detecting moisture in most petroleum products quickly and easily and is approved for use with ASTM D7546-09 to detect moisture in lubricating oils as low as 10ppm up to 100% moisture.

Manuel Oropeza, Chemist
Arizona Instrument LLC

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Moisture Analysis in the Dairy Industry

Solids and ash testing is an important component to quality food manufacturing. In the dairy industry it becomes a crucial indicator of quality, ingredients, and shelf life. As efficiency becomes more important in dairy manufacturing; quick, accurate, and efficient testing methods are becoming necessary to the manufacturing process. With the Arizona Instrument LLC Computrac Moisture and Ash Analyzers, testing total solids, moisture, and ash content is an easy pain-free process.

Since 1991, pricing regulations on dairy has switched from being based on % butterfat to % total solids (TS). Since this change, most state and federal government regulations have set standards based on minimum % total solids, % butterfat, and % solids-not-fat (SNF). To conform to these regulations, gravimetric testing is becoming the quickest and easiest way to gain total solids information on the product, and has been the most reliable method to stand in federal and state court systems. Gravimetric testing is critical in manufacturing quality product and in avoiding government litigation.

Total Solids in a dairy product consists of two regulated components: butterfat and solids-not-fat. Using the accepted Babcock method for determining % butterfat with a gravimetric solids analyzer, the % total solids, % butterfat, and % solids-not-fat can all be determined. Antiquated methods using convection ovens or lactometers are no longer necessary to determine what dairy products consist of.

Solids-not-fat consists mainly of minerals, protein, and lactose. Ash testing is the testing of the non-organic material of a food; mainly minerals. Likewise, Ash testing for a dairy product is the testing for mineral content such as Calcium, Phosphorous, and Potassium. Knowing and testing for these minerals is vital to manufacturing a quality dairy product.

The percent moisture in certain dairy products indicates the shelf life and viability. Excess moisture in a product promotes microbial growth and premature spoiling. Determining the moisture content helps determine how long and how viable a dairy product can be used. For example; for skim milk powder (SMP), The U.S. dairy export council recommends discarding the material if it gains above 15% moisture.

With the Arizona Instrument LLC Computrac Moisture and Ash Analyzers, one instrument can be used to serve a variety of purposes. Rapid and efficient gravimetric testing of all types of dairy products can greatly improve throughput, insure the manufacturing of quality product, and avoid violating state and government regulations.

Manuel Oropeza, Chemist
Arizona Instrument LLC