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Handheld gas analyser poised for market

By Sarah Hills , 20-Mar-2009
Last updated the 20-Mar-2009 at 14:15 GMT

Witt has launched the latest generation of its cordless and handheld gas analysers, version 6.0 of its Oxybaby model, which is due to hit the market in a few weeks and could help extend a product’s shelf life.

The oxygen or combined oxygen and carbon dioxide analyser is for use with Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). MAP, which ensures perishable foods remain fresh and attractive, works by replacing the normal atmosphere in the pack by a specified gas mix, the main components of which are oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

The modified atmosphere in the package helps prevent the growth of microbiological organisms and bio-chemical reactions and the consequent spoilage of goods. MAP is a reliable and cost effective alternative to refrigeration or preservatives.

The Oxybaby 6.0 was on show at this week’s Pro2Pac food and drink processing and packaging event in London.

Control features

Witt maintains the difference with the 6.0 version is that it has a lot more control features, such as a built-in barcode scanner and the facility to store a lot more data, which is important for traceability.

Although predominantly for dairy and meat products, it can also be used with baked goods and pasta. It is also said to be ideal for use in smaller food packages such as salami or cheese slices, because it can reliably measure either the O2 or O2/CO2 content with just a small sample of gas (less than 4ml).

The company said that although it has already taken orders for the product, the 6.0 model will not be available for another few weeks.

Data logging

Carl Long, Witt Gas Techniques general manager, told FoodProductionDaily.com that the analyser has an integrated data logging facility that has been extended to store up to 500 of the last measurements and up to 25 users, 100 products and 50 packaging lines as can be assigned to the stored measurements, while data can also be transferred via USB port.

According to Long, the 6.0 version has an alarm facility for different gas checks so, for example if it exceeds a certain limit, the operator will be alerted, and there is a higher resolution display than in previous models and it is also multilingual.

Mobility

Another advantage is that it has been upgraded so it can easily be operated in one hand, he claims.

He added that the handheld nature of the analyser allows for greater flexibility and cost savings as an operator does not have to have one for each production line.

Witt boasts that the 6.0 also has the ability to take a measurement using a variable controlled pump action, if the measuring needle or filter is blocked in any way. If this fails, an alarm function informs the operator, in order to stop any faulty measurements being taken.

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