Selection Tips for Precision Digital Scales

Today’s precision digital scales, also referred to as digital balances, perform a broad range of weighing-related functions in R&D, quality control, and similar applications where accuracy and precision are key criteria to meeting government, trade association, and industry-promulgated standards.  For purposes of discussion this post focuses on weighing equipment used in comparatively protected environments vs. scales found on manufacturing floors, shipping and receiving departments.  Let us hasten to add, however, that the need for precision and accuracy is important for any application, and equipment is available to meet required standards regardless of where scales are employed.

Precision and Accuracy Defined

Certain of our posts discussing precision digital scales and analytical balances harp on an important difference between precision and accuracy as selection criteria.  Allow us to cite an example:  A $5,000 wristwatch may be precise, but if the hands are set wrong it does not show the accurate time.  More … Read the rest

Use a Moisture Analyzer for Wood Pellet Quality Control

The Kern MLB moisture analyzer available from Tovatech.

Wood pellets are becoming more popular as an alternative or supplementary source of heat in many homes and businesses across the land.   The Pellet Fuel Institute in October 2011 issued its “Standard Specification for Residential/Commercial Densified Fuel” including recommended moisture content for premium, standard and utility grade wood pellets.  A compact moisture analyzer can be used to spot-check moisture content during pellet processing steps.

The Wood Pellet Manufacturing Cycle

A typical 40-pound bag of wood pellets originates as hard- or softwood sawdust, chips, waste materials from furniture and floor manufacturing – virtually any source of wood including trees unsuitable for other uses. The stock is processed to a uniform size with a moisture content of about 13% to 16% prior to the pelletizing operation.   Pelletizing is accomplished under high temperatures (~200 ˚F) and pressure (~ 45,000 psi) during which the lignin in the wood serves to bind the particles together … Read the rest

Solving Tough Cleaning Challenges with Ultrasonic Cleaning

Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions

According to a report available from market research firm IBIS World, “in 2016, the ultrasonic cleaning equipment manufacturing industry is expected to generate $359.6 million in revenue,” and, “over the five years to 2016, industry revenue increased at an annualized rate of 1.8%, including an expected 3.7% rise in 2016.”*

At Tovatech we believe that this positive projection is due in part to the continuing and growing realization that tough cleaning challenges can be overcome with ultrasonic energy.  Many of our posts go into detail on the use of ultrasonic energy to solve cleaning challenges.  We present here a compendium of applications that may or may not be top of mind to folks grappling with difficult cleaning challenges.… Read the rest

Analytical Balance Recalibration – A Critical Exercise

Accuracy and precision (there is a difference) in the performance of analytical balances are crucial when weighing extremely small masses such as to 0.1 or 0.01 mg.  Even the smallest deviation in accuracy can throw off critical measurements when compounding, for example, pharmaceuticals and weighing active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).  For this reason analytical balance recalibration exercises and procedures should be carefully spelled out in a company’s standard operating procedures.

The Effect of Gravity on an Analytical Balance

Manufacturers of analytical balances such as the Kern line available from Tovatech call attention to the importance of calibration and recalibration early in their instruction manuals.  Kern points out, for example, that gravitational pull varies throughout the world due to the fact that the world is not a perfect sphere.  This was demonstrated a few years ago by shipping the Kern Gnome to many locations around the world.  The Kern Gnome was accompanied … Read the rest

Moisture Analysis – A Close-up Look

Moisture content is an important quality control criterion across the board and relates to establishing or conforming to specified levels of moisture in a product.  Correct moisture levels are established by government, trade and professional organizations and relate to the percentage of water and other liquids in a product.  Therefore, moisture analysis, can be viewed as first establishing recommended moisture content then checking to confirm that products meet the criterion during and after processing prior to packaging.

All of us experience the impact of incorrect moisture content.  Salt and sugar, for example, absorb moisture from the air and cake up.  Crispy potato chips quickly get gummy on humid picnic days.  Portland cement will turn into a block if left unsealed in the garage.

On the other side, when you buy a product by weight you don’t want to pay for excess water.  If water is intentionally added to a product … Read the rest

A Vaccine Refrigeration Specification Guide     

Vaccine Refrigeration - 10 Essential Items to Consider
Click to Download

Proper vaccine refrigeration is not a hit-or-miss proposition.  Each year there are reports on how improper vaccine storage or other mishaps relating to vaccines result in loss of potency.  This necessitates locating and revaccinating those who have received compromised inoculations plus the associated cost and inconvenience.  Proper vaccine storage is also a critical element for complying with government-funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) programs.

Vaccine manufacturers are careful to note the proper storage temperatures for their products along what is called the cold chain of custody between manufacturing and inoculation.  But manufacturers have little influence on the equipment used by healthcare facilities to maintain these temperatures.  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has stepped into this by issuing its 2016 Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit to provide comprehensive information on this vital activity.    The Toolkit also covers in detail the importance of staff training and written standard … Read the rest

A Guide to Selecting and Operating Ultrasonic Cleaners

How one selects an ultrasonic cleaner involves several points to consider and resolve before putting your money down. Today’s ultrasonic cleaners range from small benchtop or tabletop units with simple on-off switches to highly sophisticated cleaners with adjustable or controllable operating parameters that allow them to perform multiple cleaning tasks.

Cleaning solution capacities can range from under one gallon for small applications to hundreds of gallons capable of cleaning automotive, marine and aircraft engines. Cleaning solution chemistries  are available in many, many formulations.  Formulations should be carefully selected (and maintained) to provide optimum cleaning performance based on what is being cleaned and the nature of contaminants being removed.

These and other important considerations on selecting and operating ultrasonic cleaners are presented in our article published by Cleanzine on August 11, 2016.… Read the rest

How to Check Pump System Accuracy for HPLC Analysis

Pump system accuracy is crucial for equipment used to conduct high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis in the pharmaceutical and other industries subject to regulatory oversight by the FDA and similar authorities. Among functions performed by HPLC are included checks for purity, monitoring changes in pharmaceutical intermediates during chemical synthesis scale-up, stability and dissolution tests, and performing ongoing quality control procedures.Digital HPLC Liquid Flow Meter At a GlanceClick to download PDF

A Brief on HPLC Analysis

Identifying an analyte by HPLC is based on accurate and reproducible column retention time as the analyte is pumped through an HPLC system.  Reproducible retention time is critical and depends on accurate, uniform, reproducible HPLC pump flow rates.

Note that it is important to distinguish between accuracy and precision.  These two terms may seem the same but they are not necessarily so.  For example, an HPLC system (or for that matter many other systems such as analytical scales) may … Read the rest

Selection and Operating Tips for Ultrasonic Cleaners

How to Select an Ultrasonic Cleaner

How you select an ultrasonic cleaner involves several points to consider and resolve before putting your money down.  Today’s ultrasonic cleaners range from small benchtop or tabletop units with simple on-off switches to highly sophisticated cleaners with adjustable or controllable operating parameters that allow them to perform multiple cleaning tasks.  Cleaning solution capacities can range from under one gallon for household or hobbyist applications to hundreds of gallons capable of cleaning automotive, marine and aircraft engines.

Cleaning solution chemistries as well are available in many, many formulations and should be carefully selected (and maintained) to provide optimum cleaning performance based on what is being cleaned and the nature of contaminants being removed.  Most of today’s popular ultrasonic cleaning solution formulations are available as water-based concentrates and are biodegradable.  These two features provide economies, simplify storage and reduce, if not eliminate, disposal concerns.  The problems and challenges associated with trichloroethylene and … Read the rest

How to Use Moisture Analyzers for Grain & Flour Quality Control

The KERN MRS moisture analyzer is a professional quality solution to measuring moisture in grains, flours and other food products.
A moisture analyzer is a professional quality solution to measuring moisture in grains, flours and other food products.

Moisture content, defined as the percentage of a product’s weight due to water, is an essential measure of quality control.  A gravimetric moisture analyzer is employed across a broad spectrum of industries to confirm that moisture content is in line with regulations governing a particular industry.

Agricultural products such as grains and the flour derived from grains provide an illustration of where a moisture analyzer is put into play.  A University of Minnesota Extension Report, for example, states that wheat and barley grain must have a moisture content of 13% to 14% for safe storage.  Achieving that target can be costly and time consuming in wet weather.  

When wheat is milled to flour another target applies. A study at the Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, reports … Read the rest