The structure of fruits (or generally speaking biological samples) can be analysed by OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) – the image shows apples as an example. With such analysis, we can draw conclusions about possible shelf life and determine the quality criterion that influences the acceptance by customers.
Food & Packaging
Process analytics & process optimization
In food production (bio) chemical process steps are frequently performed, for example, in beer production.
With our expertise we can assist in the application of Process Analytical Methods, e.g. varieties of Spectroscopy, to safeguard and optimize your processes!
Sealing or bonding processes
Beverages in bottles and cups
Bottles (glass or plastics) and plastic bowls can be tested on the exact adherence to thickness specifications or on possible defects by OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography). Thus, we can ensure highly automated packaging processes.
In the field of bakery production our Spectroscopy experts deal with:
- Incoming goods and monitoring of raw materials
- Monitoring of mixtures and ingredients
- Monitoring of the homogeneity of dough in different process steps
- Characterization and process validation in coating process steps
- Multimodal studies for the crystallization of chocolate
- Online process optimization based on incoming goods inspection (measurement of the Raw-Material-Variability), and process modelling
- Detection of foreign objects: THz scans are able to detect non-metallic foreign bodies
- Detection of defective goods (e.g. cracked biscuits in a closed package, ready for sale)
Blow-extrusion films / cast-sheet
OCT technology provides real-time high-resolution images of the inner structure of plastics, e.g., the layer construction of a multilayer film. You can determine the thickness of the inner layers right inline during the production process with an accuracy of less than 1 micrometer and adjust your processes (blow-extrusion film or cast-sheet) for an optimal production!
Meat production / meat and sausage manufacturing
The meat production / meat and sausage manufacturing is another research and application field for our Spectroscopy group.
You may be interested in the following questions:
- Is the work area absolutely clean or are biofilms forming on the surfaces?
- How can the quality of a piece of meat be valuated?
- In which production step is it decided whether the meat processed is “steak” or “minced”?
- How can the origin of the product and a possible “bio” status be controlled?
- Does the packaging guarantee that the quality produced will finally be delivered to the customer?
- Is it possible to control the quality status (and the current BBD) of the sellable finished and packed product?
Cereals and coatings
In product development non-destructive testing and analysis methods can help to monitor product features in real-time and to learn more about the product. The example shows a surface structure of breakfast cereals with different sugar coatings, measured by OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography). Such recordings are also available as real-time videos, which show the behaviour during hydration.
Spectroscopy in the product development, production and QA
For the production monitoring / quality control or the product development, spectroscopic technologies (NIR, MIR, Raman, THz) can play a significant role. These methods make it possible to obtain very precise measurements of mixing ratios, compositions, ingredients, reaction progresses, and similar chemical information without sample preparation and costly laboratory analyses.
Such real-time measured data provides an ideal basis for your process optimization!
Raw Material Variability
What does "Raw Material Variability" mean to us? You are required to achieve the same high quality standard for each of your products – irrespective of changing properties of different raw material supplies – in order to meet the expectation of your customers. Our portfolio of process analytics can support you by:
- Monitoring the relevant parameters of your raw materials at the incoming goods inspection
- Understanding, modeling, and monitoring your processes
- Providing a guarantee of constant product quality even with changing raw materials!
We can also be your contact for the whole team of experts within the research network PAC.
If you are committed to providing high quality seeds, we can help you in the following ways:
- Contactless determination of residual moisture
- Quantitative and qualitative determination of seed ingredients (e.g. proteins, carbohydrates (sugar, starch) etc.)
- Analysis of incrustation and pelleting
- Evaluation of the vitality and germination capacity
- Soil analysis (phosphates, nitrates…)
- Outgassing of the seeds (e.g. during storage) may deliver information about the status and possible deterioration (e.g. fungal infection)
Ask our Spectroscopy experts!
Multilayer systems and welding seams in polymer films
Multilayer-films carry great importance especially in the food industry. For example, the thickness and homogeneity of barrier layers have a great influence on the shelf-life of food. With the OCT technology you can measure the thickness of the individual layers with high-resolution inline during the process. Moreover, you can see and detect delaminations and welding seams in real-time and possibly regulate and optimize the production process based on this measurement data.
Spatially resolved spectroscopy
Do you want to know the exact local distribution (in micrometer range) of your chemical components? With Mid-Infrared-Microscopy we can chemically characterize and measure materials and cross-sections (e.g. residues or inclusions) with a spatial resolution as small as 5 µm. Quantum Sensing offers interesting opportunities in that area too.
The OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) provides insight into nearly all common polymer materials used in the industrial environment. As a tomographic measurement technique, OCT delivers information about the internal structure in order to detect and characterise cracks, defects, inclusions, pores, etc. OCT not only controls the quality and functionality of the plastic products, but also delivers relevant information to help understand and optimize the manufacturing process.
Hidden (adhesive-) layers
With the Terahertz technology (THz) it is possible to look through relatively thick plastic layers and test hidden layers non-destructively (e.g. adhesive layers). The terahertz waves used are not harmful for health (no ionizing radiation), but still make it possible to look inside many optically non-transparent materials.