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Article | December 17, 2012
MOCON, Inc: Oxygen test system
Three new accessories for Mocon’s OpTech oxygen test system for food and pharmaceutical applications are now available: a portability kit; a needle attachment with fluorescing sensor material applied to its tip; and the new ImPULSE sensor that works with opaque materials as well as with retort applications.
OpTech technology uses an optical sensor that will “fluoresce” or give off light directly related to the amount of oxygen present in package headspace or dissolved oxygen in a liquid product. While the OpTech oxygen test system has been used as a laboratory instrument, customers have requested a portable option. By pairing the lightweight and ergonomic reader with a 9-in. tablet in a carrying case, production line samples can now be tested on the fly. In addition to production line usage, the instrument’s light weight and portability now makes it suitable for package testing throughout the distribution chain all the way to retail, if results from real life conditions are desired. The needle attachment (with fluorescing sensor material applied to its tip) for the OpTech reader can be inserted into very small headspace packages which cannot accommodate traditional testing methods. An accurate reading of oxygen concentration can be made without extracting a sample. In addition to headspace measurement, it is also possible to measure the dissolved oxygen concentration in a liquid product with the needle attachment during the same test. This option works well in both the laboratory and field testing.
The “patent-pending ImPULSE sensor is designed to work with packages incorporating opaque materials or retort packages. A tack with the fluorescent sensor material punctures the package and adheres via a self-sealing adhesive. The sensing material also is located on the self-sealing side. When the package is punctured, a small hole is created. Oxygen from inside the package is now exposed to the sensor, which is sealed from the external environment. A reading is then taken through the transparent “head” of the tack. This system allows measurements to be taken over time to determine the longer-term effects of oxygen in a package.
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