Snack Food Moisture Applications
The moisture content requirements in snack food manufacturing dictate many of the product outcomes: taste, consistency, quality, and shelf life. Utilizing an experienced moisture management system will allow the user to have full control over the manufacturing process to create a reduction in waste and downtime, improve plant efficiency and product quality, save energy through proper dryer control and allow for full product inspection.
- Our sensor calibrations, measurement wavelengths, algorithms and sensor optical requirements are pre-set at the factory
- Typical accuracy is about ±0.1% moisture
- Typical analog range is 0-10% moisture
- The outputs can be adjusted to optimize PLC or recording requirements
- Little to Zero Maintenance
- Can be installed anywhere on the line – even at an angle
- Made for harsh environments near ovens and sprayers
- RS232 and Ethernet compatible for real-time control
- Thousands of measurements per second
MoistTech offers multiple sensor options to suit your specific application needs including the standard IR3000 series and IR-3000-F series that is Nickel Plated to specifically allow for food environments where frequent wash downs occur and protects against corrosion and abrasion. The food grade sensor includes a Kel-F window in place of our standard glass. Learn more about the IR3000-F sensor here.
Too much or too little moisture are both a concern for snack food manufacturers as some food items are actually sold by weight, so their moisture content effects the price and the taste of most snack foods are often based heavily off their moisture content – too much creates a stale tasting product and also contributes to mold and bacteria growth.
Many snack foods including crackers and chips are sprayed with oil and flavorings in the production process. It is crucial to control the moisture in the snacks, and the amount of oil added to ensure the best consistency and flavor of the product. Moisture can be measured in critical places along the production line to allow for changes in dryer times and keep product consistency a priority. Sensors can also measure oil coatings after sprayers to ensure the amount of oil or flavorings that are being used.
Constant Return on Investment
Processing line improvements are immediately noticed once a moisture management system is installed. Measuring moisture throughout the process provides users with:
- Energy & Fuel Cost Savings
- Consistent & Immediate Oven/Dryer Control
- Lower Product Waste
- Better Quality, Appearance, Stability & Shelf Life
- Improved Product Taste and Consistency
If the sensor has to be installed close to the oven outlet where it will be susceptible to extreme heat conditions, it is necessary to cool the sensor with either air or water. Furthermore, if the sensor is located near an oil spray, it is necessary to clean the sensor’s optical window during regular routine cleaning.
Installing the MoistTech moisture sensor at the exit of the ovens and/or close to packaging will allow the snack food time to stabilize while cooling. Ideally, installing a sensor a minute after the ovens while being several inches above the belt or screw conveyor so that a baker can continuously monitor the process and adjust the moisture content if needed. If the snacks have gone through an oil spray, it is important to install the sensor at an angle to cut down any reflectant from the oil coating.