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Six Keys to the Dilemma of On-Line vs Off-Line Moisture Testing

Posted by Art Gatenby on Nov 20, 2008 2:27:00 PM

Because we at CSC Scientific provide test equipment for both on and off line moisture testing we have a unique and non-biased perspective on the question of on-line vs off-line. We developed six useful keys that can be used to resolve the dilemma of choosing between on-line and off-line moisture testing.

The promise of testing moisture on-line is like a siren’s song. All you do is plop the device on your production line and voila, continuous moisture reading and perfect process control. If it were only that easy you wouldn’t need these keys. I’m sure you know that the off- line solution has a cost advantage of three to five times and is much simpler to set up. Consequently, to choose on-line, a thorough analysis is needed of the benefits.

These six keys will get you started in the analysis process to ascertain whether the on-line or traditional off-line approach is most suited.

  1. You have a continuous process that can be controlled by adjusting a variable such as heat, speed, an additive , etc. to control to preset moisture levels.
  2. The out put of the process is improved by tight control of moisture. That could be taste, color, smooth running process, size and the like.
  3. The economic impact of controlling moisture in the process is significant (lost product, high cost rework, customer returns)

If all three of these conditions are a part of your operation the on-line solution should be considered.

  1. If you have a batch process where you measure moisture only at the end of the process, the off-line solution
  2. Where the measurement and recording of moisture is principally for archiving purposes, an off-line solution is likely to serve you best. When the requirement is to only record history of moisture levels at set time in a process, the off-line method is usually preferred.
  3. If your process change is slow moving, the off-line application is likely to serve you well. For example a long running batch process which produces small moisture changes and can be adjusted over a long time period is a candidate for off-line measurement.

In evaluating an application for moisture measurement, you can use these six keys to narrow the scope of solutions to be investigated. In the selection of either approach, there is a wide span of equipment choices. In my years of experience, I have found that using these keys helps get a focus on the best solutions and helps identify the most appropriate equipment.

We’d like to hear of your experience in dealing with the on-line / off-line decision.

You can see our moisture offering at CSC Moisture.

Art

Topics: Moisture

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