Inline particle size and concentration monitoring
Particle size is one of the critical properties of numerous products and influences various properties of suspensions and emulsions. The particle size is a valuable indicator of the quality and stability of a material and is routinely measured across a wide range of industries including food, pharma and cosmetics. Evaluation of the particle size and understanding how it affects the products or processes is essential to ensure high-quality standards.
Variations in raw materials and environmental parameters affect the product processing and quality and require continuous adjustments of the production processes. Conventional follow-up of the particle size requires regular sampling, sample preparation and analysis in the lab. As an example, a 90-minute wet milling procedure is interrupted after 85 minutes to take a sample and to analyze in the lab. If it is insufficiently milled, the miller is restarted until the required size is obtained. Often, the products are processed too long, losing valuable processing time. This approach is repeated several times which makes it time consuming, labor intensive, prone to manual errors. This can eventually result in reduced quality or even loss of the entire batch. By continuously tracking the particle size in real time, this intermediate analysis step is removed.
Concentration monitoring is another critical factor in a diverse range of applications. In many cases, the particle size doesn’t provide sufficient information as the particle concentration can also affect the performance and stability of the products. During various mixing or milling processes, the concentration varies over time until an equilibrium is obtained. However, most of these processes run too long leading to an increased cost. Continuously following up the concentration significantly reduces processing time, manual errors, and personnel costs.
Have a look to our at-line and inline particle measurement systems.
Benefits inline particle size and concentration measurements
Conventional evaluation of the particle size is done via manual lab testing using optical techniques. However, inline analysis of the particles provides several benefits over lab tests.
No sample preparation
Conventional particle sizers have a limited concentration range to obtain reliable information. To evaluate highly-concentrated products, the samples need to be diluted to meet the concentration requirements of the analysis technique. This leads to a change of the sample composition which leads to incorrect and misleading results. Both our at-line and inline particle analyzers are used for highly-concentrated products and do not require any sample dilution. The obtained results reflect the particle size and concentration in its original composition.
Since conventional particle size and concentration consists of manual lab testing, valuable time is lost. Our inline particle analyzer measures the particle size and concentration directly in a pipe or tank. This approach allows to immediately detect deviations in the process and adjust the process parameters accordingly. Consequently, the process no longer needs to be interrupted which saves a significant amount of time.
Efficient and reliable quality control
Conducting manual lab testing is labor intensive and prone to manual errors. Sampling and sample preparation can introduce significant errors or inaccuracies. Real-time particle analysis provides consistent measurements and consequently consistent product quality. This allows to allocate personnel more efficiently and reduce personnel costs.
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The figure above shows Inline particle size measurements in a pipe. The system transmits electromagnetic waves through the liquid and detects changes in particle size and concentration.