Moisture Balance Maintenance Tips

The accuracy of a moisture analyzer depends on many factors one of which is establishing and following a maintenance program.  This also has the distinct advantage of protecting your investment in a precision moisture balance.

A moisture analyzer requires regular maintenance

A moisture analyzer requires regular maintenance

Above all, keep your Moisture Analyzer Clean

Ideally your moisture analyzer will be permanently positioned in a protected area away from drafts, dust and temperature extremes that can affect accuracy and repeatability.   But such ideal conditions may not always be available.

Moreover, when conducting moisture analysis samples invariably will fall off the moisture balance sample plate and into the equipment itself.  Wet samples such as coffee cream or carrot juice present other hazards.   These must be removed immediately.

Moisture Analyzer Cleaning Steps

Step one is to unplug the moister balance.   Following the manufacturer’s step-by-step procedures, you then remove the accessory parts.  In the case of the Kern model these include the sample dish, the dish retainer, the sample dish holder, the draft shield and its associated base plate. These can be individually washed using soft cloth dipped into water containing a mild liquid dishwashing soap and wrung out.

Do not use solvents or other aggressive cleaning agents.

After cleaning wipe the components with a cloth dampened with fresh water then dry them with another soft cloth.

The same cautions apply to the body of the moisture balance.  If you spot loose crumbs or residue remove them with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner before wiping them down with the detergent solution.  Use extreme caution to ensure no liquid penetrates the device.

Cleaning the Temperature Sensor

The moisture balance temperature sensor is not only crucial to conducting a moisture analysis it is an extremely delicate component of your equipment.  Along with the halogen lamp, it is located in the lid.  Cleaning is done in the same fashion as for the base of the unit.  The halogen lamp itself should not be touched or damaged.

Avoid the temptation to carry maintenance beyond these cleaning procedures.  If your moisture analyzer is not functioning only trained service technicians should perform the needed actions.

Performing Weight and Temperature Calibrations

It doesn’t take much to throw off the accuracy of a precision moisture balance.  Moving it to another location, drafts and continued use can impact accuracy.  Kern moisture balances come with easy-to-follow instructions on manually calibrating the unit using a calibration weight.  If there is a discrepancy the moisture analyzer will automatically correct itself.

Temperature calibration is performed using a temperature probe to check the accuracy of the heaters.  It takes longer to perform than weight calibration.  Instructions are provided if adjustments are required.

Make this an SOP

If you are like most lab technicians and QC personnel you have a lot on your mind.  That’s why it’s a good idea to include moisture analyzer maintenance as part of your standard operating procedures.  Include schedules and the process in the company operations manual.

For questions on selecting and maintaining a precision moisture analyzer, contact the weighing professionals at Tovatech.

About Rachel Kohn

So how did an MIT Ph.D. end up selling refrigerators? When I figured out that a lot more scientists buy lab refrigerators than innovative leading-edge instruments. I hope that my many years of lab experience will help you find the right equipment for your work. Before co-founding Tovatech I worked in business development and project management at Smiths Detection, Photon-X, Cardinal Health, and Hoechst Celanese. And before that I spent 12 years as an R&D chemist at Hoechst Celanese and Aventis working on advanced drug delivery systems, polymer films and membranes, optical disks, and polysaccharides. Some day, eventually, I’ll make enough money to develop an innovative technology that will change the world. Read More