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Mocon has introduced the Model 102 oxygen gas stream analyser (GSA), which is claimed to be accurate, repeatable and durable.

This compact unit, available in Europe from Paul Lippke Handels, a Mocon company, has been designed as an inline addition to vertical form-fill-seal units, rotary pouch machines and horizontal flow wrappers with continuous gas flushing.

Gas flushing is important in a variety of food and pharmaceutical applications where CO2 or nitrogen is flushed into the package to displace oxygen to extend shelf life.

Typical applications include meats, coffee, nuts, snack foods, cheese and fruits and pharmaceutical/medical products such as sterile injectables, drug-coated stents and ophthalmic surgical solutions.

At the core of the Model 102 GSA is a self-initiating Cal-Smart calibration system.

Cal-Smart uses ambient air and advanced electronic controls to perform a two-point calibration (zero per cent and 21 per cent gas levels) instead of the commonly used room air or certified tank gas methods.

Fast two-point calibrations improve the instrument’s accuracy and repeatability while reducing intervals between more time-consuming certified gas calibrations.

The Model 102 GSA can be programmed to automatically perform Cal-Smart calibration at predetermined intervals.

The calibration cycle takes 90 seconds to execute.

The automated, fast and accurate calibration process means no downtime for whatever continuous-motion packaging unit it has been mounted onto.

The Model 102 GSA also features temperature and barometric pressure compensation.

These capabilities further enhance the instrument accuracy, according to the company.

Online GSA models ensure more uniform product quality, maximise industrial gas efficiency and complement the effectiveness of post-production headspace gas testing.

As the gas stream is measured prior to the package being sealed, there is an added layer of quality assurance.

Problems are discovered earlier in the process, which allows flush gas flow corrections to be made more quickly.

Anthony Ahmed, product manager at Mocon, said: ‘Having an inline gas flush monitoring system helps to ensure that label declarations regarding product shelf life are met.

‘Avoiding one rejection incident for improperly gas-flushed products can save a processor tens of thousands of pounds in production costs.

‘It also helps preserve brand equity,’ he added.

The Model 102 measures 7.37 x 4.67 x 3.31in (18.72 x 11.86 x 8.41cm) and weighs less than 2lb (0.9kg).

Its compact size is intended to simplify installation on new units or retrofitting on existing form-fill-seal equipment.

A Model 102 D GSA is also available.

This model features a light-emitting-diode display on the side of the unit showing the actual reading.

Both models can send a signal to the machine’s programmable logic controller, which automatically executes a specific action when readings exceed an acceptable target level.

The Model 102 also comes with the patented Flosmart process, which monitors the in-stream gas flow to ensure that an adequate sample is being collected.

Should a disruption occur, the instrument will trigger an alarm to alert the operator.

The GSA is built with durable pumps rated for a 10-year life and does not require factory-performed sensor replacements.

The sensor life exceeds two years and can be replaced for a nominal cost by the operator in about 10 minutes, reducing plant operations expenses and the demand on plant maintenance support personnel.

Paul Lippke Handels offers a range of test systems, including applications advice and technical support, for packaging, pharmaceutical and food applications.

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