Procedures to avoid moisture analyzer weighing errors start from the time you unpack your equipment. Of course you will read the instructions in the operating manual, right? But here’s a brief rundown of points to keep in mind from the beginning.
Proper Moisture Analyzer Setup
These are sensitive instruments, of that there is no doubt. And it does not take much to throw them off. Like the real estate business, the key is location.
A correctly assembled moisture balance should be in a location free of drafts, temperature and humidity fluctuations, vapors, dust, and vibration caused by moving equipment in the area or by jarring the table on which the unit is placed. Proximity to magnetic fields or equipment that generates them must be avoided.
Allow enough elbow room so that operators can work comfortably when performing moisture analysis.
Confirm that the moisture analyzer is level using the foot screws and observing the leveling bubble.
Turn the unit on and allow it to warm up. Warming time varies by unit and is provided in the user manual. For example a 4-hour warm up time is specified for the Kern MLB moisture balance available from Tovatech. Once it reaches operating temperature the units go into a standby mode when not in use thereby avoiding the necessity to warm them up every day.
Calibrating the Moisture Analyzer
The effect of gravity must be taken into account when using a moisture balance; otherwise you will get erroneous readings. Before performing moisture analysis your unit must be calibrated following instructions in the user manual. For the Kern MLB unit above a separately purchased 50-gram calibration weight is used. If you change the location of your equipment it must be recalibrated, and a good practice is to perform periodic calibration tests. Please check our calibration post for information on this and the equally important temperature calibration procedures.
While beyond the scope of this post but covered extensively on our website blog here are points to keep in mind when conducting moisture analysis:
- Carefully place and level samples in the tared sample pan to avoid overloading and spillage.
- Immediately clean up spilled samples.
- Follow industry or professional association recommendations regarding sample weight, drying profiles, time and temperature.
- Record results via a printer or computer.
Accurate moisture content calculations are important both to quality control and in the development of new products. If you have questions on selecting and operating a moisture analyzer please contact our scientists or download a copy of our moisture analyzer buyers’ guide.