Category Archives: Process

Five Applications where Water Activity is critical and why!

Not clear on what water activity is? Check out our other posts on water activity here!

Water activity affects a wide range of products from pharmaceuticals to foods, here we take a brief look at five typical applications where water activity measurements are used.

Remember water activity affects biological, chemical and physical properties of products.

Application 1 – Food

Water activity is critical in food production, reducing water activity reduces the available moisture for spoilage organisms to utilise as such low Aw can limit or prevent growth and spoilage.

Aw is often used to screen raw ingredients or end products to confirm that they are within tolerance. Aw measurements only take a few minutes and can therefore provide immediate feedback. This can save time, money and prevent health risks or product spoilage.

Aw can be used as an excellent indicator of shelf life. Once a production process has been fine tuned to deliver products with suitable shelf-life, online aw measurements can confirm production consistency.

Classic methods to control Aw in food are listed below.Slide14

Application 2 – Paper

Water activity or %equilibrium relative humidity in paper may not be your first thought, but the impact of poor or changing ERH in paper can be very costly. Changes in ERH can cause paper to curl or lead to increased static both of which can cause paper jams. For an industrial printing company this can lead to costly downtime. ERH also affects the binding of inks, drying times and ultimately spoilage by moulds and fungi.Slide15

 

Application 3 – Pharmaceutical Products

Drug production and storage is one of the most highly regulated manufacturing sectors. All stages of drug production, storage and delivery rely on critical control of many factors including water activity. Most drugs must be stored in stable conditions hence the advanced moisture impermeable packaging used. Aw readings as well as humidity monitoring and control are utilised to ensure free water is maintained within tolerance.

Slide16

 

Application 4 – Seed preservation and storage

Seeds present an interesting challenge, if Aw is too low the seeds quickly become non viable, where as too high and they may germinate or suffer spoilage through mould or fungal growth. One of the most critical seed preservation projects is the Millennium Seed Bank project. More details about how Rotronic AW meters were used is avaialble on the Kew Gardens websiteSlide17

 

Application 5 – Soaps and powders

Finally we come to good old washing powder, even with powders and liquids now packed into clever tablets and pods Aw remains critical. The materials must be stored in a way that ensures safe delivery to the customer but can be released once in contact with water in your washing machine. The science of behind the latest washing powders and liquids relies heavily on the measurement and conrtol of water activity and %ERH!Slide18

 

Hopefully this brief in site into how water activity affects so many day to day products has been useful. For more information visit our website or contact us to discuss!

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Durable, Adaptable, Accurate

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Campbell Scientific (CSC) are an ISO 9001 certified company who are a leading manufacturer in a variety of applications related to weather, water, energy, gas flux and turbulence, infrastructure, and soil. Campbell Scientific, are committed to satisfying the instrumentation needs of their customers, and are internationally recognised in the measurement and control industry for producing accurate and dependable instruments

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HC2A-S3

 

CSC systems are acclaimed for their dependability, which they demonstrate even in the most extreme weather climates. Their attributes include wide operating ranges, low energy usage, many communications options, and the flexibility to support a wide variety of measurement  and control applications. Applications include, agriculture, air quality, fire warning, water quality, weather and climate recording, structural monitoring, Geo-technical monitoring and mining.

Rotronic and CSC have been business partners for many years, CSC uses the standard Rotronic meteo probe in many applications. Recently CSC installed the probe in a network of Road Weather Information Systems  in Kelowna, British Columbia. CSC selected the probe because of its reliability, ease of use and accuracy. The HC2A-S3 is also highly regarded for its ability to function in extreme temperatures, this makes it good for the  Canadian climate, and a perfect complement to Campbell Scientific systems.

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” We value the Rotronic HC2A-S3 probe for its ability to function at extreme temperatures.” Mike Ryder Campbell Scientific, Canada

For more information on the latest HC2A-S click here ,or for any of our products please visit the Rotronic website.

Mapping Services from Rotronic

Ensuring product quality while in transit or storage is an important part of the GxP guidelines. To comply with the legal regulations all storage and transport facilities must be thermally mapped to ensure products are not being affected by extreme temperatures. Rotronic specialises in these services and offers efficient and tailored solutions.

What are the typical temperature mapping Applications?Wherever temperature-sensitive products are produced, stored or transported, mapping is indispensable to show that product quality requirements and standards are being met. mapping-process

What do we offer?
Rotronic will discuss with you the details of your mapping project, including timescales, budgets, regulatory requirements to ensure we deliver the optimal schedule. We offer a transparent service structure ensuring you get only what you need. This segmented service has been very well received by our customers. We can even present and detail all GxP compliant data directly to your auditors taking all the stress out of your audits.

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How will you benefit?
• Modular service structure
– Transport qualifications / validation
– Temperature mapping study
– Stress tests – and findings
– GDP training for dealing with drugs
– Servicing and maintenance of the entire system
• Competent supervision by experienced and qualified engineers
• Best accuracy test equipment and competence as renowned logger manufacturer

What do you get?
• Accurate climate data of measured environments (Warehouses, Room, Lorries, etc …)
• FDA and GxP-compliant mapping reports (Basis for audits)
• Detailed data analysis (Provides information on critical areas)
• Ongoing monitoring and alarming on request

What other GxP-Services does Rotronic offer?
• Validation
• Calibration
• Engineering
• Personnel training

What parameters to be monitored?
• Temperature
• Relative Humidity
• CO2
• Differential pressure and Pressure

mapping-options
Rotronic offers device ranges for all applications

Wish to discuss a mapping project? Please contact us today!
Dr Jeremy Wingate

Measuring in clean rooms – Hands on with the Rotronic CRP5

For many years Rotronic products have been widely used in the monitoring and control of clean rooms, however more often than not our products are found out of sight quietly performing their measurement tasks away from areas with strict requirements for cleanliness demanded by modern clean rooms.

In the past few months Rotronic have launched two new clean room panels that are as the name suggests designed specifically for use within clean room environments.

Our flagship product in the field is the CRP5 which we will take a look at first.

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CRP5 – Clean room From Rotronic

The CRP5 is a comprehensive clean room panel designed specifically for the requirements of modern clean rooms. Once installed the unit provides virtually no areas for dust to collect and the industrial glass front is extremely resistant to chemicals. With a fully configurable colour screen it is a stylish looking device!

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Unpacking the CRP5, the glass front, colour display and stainless steel fittings make the CRP5 elegant, easy to clean and functional

Internally the CRP5 delivers some serious capability, providing potentially a solution for all your clean room measurement and monitoring requirements. Including;

  • Differential Pressure via internal diaphragm sensor (measurement via rear ports and front ports for flexible instalation and calibration).
  • Interchangeable humidity and temperature sensor.
  • Two fully configurable analogue inputs (for particle counters, lux meters etc)
  • Two configurable switch inputs (for pressure or door switches etc)
  • 6 configurable relays (for alarm triggers)
  • Digital connectivity via RS485 and Ethernet (Modbus or direct connection to Rotronic HW4 software)

A unique feature of the CRP5 is the optional flush mount humidity probe. The probe is locked into place through the use of magnets and can easily be removed for cleaning or calibration. An optional rear mount connection is available for Rotronic HC2 humidity and temperature probes should you wish to monitor ducts or spaces remote to the CRP5 itself.

CRP2
The unique removable Humidity and Temperature probe for ease of cleaning and calibration

The configurable colour display shows alarm conditions which can be acknowledged via the front panel. Alarms can be used to trigger relays associated with audible and larger visitual alarms. Interaction with the CRP5 is via four optical buttons –  their use is completely unaffected if operators are wearing protective gloves or not (unlike capacitive interfaces).

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Optical buttons can be used easily even when wearing gloves!

As an FDA and Gamp5 compliant device the CRP5 is a safe choice for regulated industries. The instrument can be used with 3rd party systems via its analogue outputs or industry standard Modbus TCP / RTU communication. Alternatively the CRP5 can be connected to the Rotronic HW4 software package to provide a one stop solution for monitoring, control and alarming. Pharmaceutical validation services as well as ISO 17025 (UKAS) calibrations are available from Rotronic if required.

To get some more detailed information about our clean room solutions give us a call or visit our website… Rotronic Website and CRP5 Datasheet

Next time we will look at the Rotronic CRP1 a dedicated temperature and humidity clean room panel for  applications with slightly simpler requirements but still demanding a clean installation  and high accuracy measurements!

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The CRP1 – Humidity and Temperature measurements in clean rooms.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Rotronic training course schedule 2016

We are pleased to announce our latest training course schedule for 2016. Courses include in partnership with Dave Ayres from Benrhos Ltd our practical 3 day temperature, humidity and dew point calibration and measurement uncertainty courses. In addition, for those seeking greater depth we are running dedicated courses on measurement uncertainty and ISO 17025 run by Lawrie Cronin and Dave Ayres

Temperature Humidity and Dew Point – Measurement, Calibration and Uncertainty

8th – 10th March :: 12th – 14th July :: 15th – 17th November
– Three day course at Rotronic UK offices and UKAS laboratory
– Practical applied knowledge and best practice
– Max 8 attendees to ensuring tailored content

Measurement Uncertainty for Laboratories and Plant

6th – 7th September
– Two day course at Rotronic UK offices
– Detailed knowledge for laboratory owners or process managers

Setting up and working with ISO17025

8th September
– One day course at Rotronic UK offices
– Ideal for ISO17025 lab managers or those looking to apply

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality

Some of the key factors for improving energy efficiency in relation to indoor applications are the control of Relative Humidity (RH) and temperature. The question is, how to control RH to acceptable levels in an energy efficient manner. Energy efficient humidity control has a very strong bearing on thermal comfort, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and eventually on the health and performance of occupants in air-conditioned buildings.

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Passivhaus buildings are built to a voluntary standard to improve energy efficiency and reduce ecological footprint.

IAQ control seeks to reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and other air impurities such as microbial contaminants. As such it is important to control relative humidity which can be a key factor leading to mould growth and the presence of bacteria and viruses, dust mites and other such organisms.

Buildings rely on a properly designed ventilation system to provide an adequate supply of cleaner air from outdoors or filtered and recirculated air

TrueDry_DR120_HR

Buildings may rely on dehumidifiers like the one above to reduce RH levels to a comfortable range

Air-conditioning systems typically employ a high level of air recirculation to save energy during cooling and dehumidification. Typically recirculation rates are around 80-90%, but can sometimes be even higher. The challenge is not so much in dehumidification, but in doing so without having to overcool. As such, ventilation is integrated for general comfort and economical saving.

Rooms are often designed with specific conditions in mind including temperature, humidity, brightness, noise, and air flow. Careful engineering and implementation of building automation and control is the only way to ensure energy efficiency and building operation conditions are met during occupancy, at the lowest possible costs.

IAQ Facts:

Energy Efficiency (EE) refers to either the reduction of energy inputs for a given service or the enhancement of a service for a given amount of energy inputs.

Relative humidity is highly temperature dependent, so if the temperature is stable, it is much easier to achieve a stable RH.

Air in our atmosphere is a mixture of gases with very large distances between molecules. Therefore, air can accommodate a large quantity of water vapor. The warmer the air, the more water vapor can be accommodated.

Why the need to measure, temperature and relative humidity?

Precise temperature control of air which is supplied to a room results in maximum comfort for the occupants. The temperature should be held constantly at a particular set point to achieve this comfort.

Readings from temperature transmitters installed in the air supply duct are compared to readings inside a particular room. It is easiest to achieve a constant room temperature if there is little difference between the two values. Air temperature control in supply ducts can be employed in rooms in which the air handling unit is used mainly for the renewal of air.

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Rotronic manufactures temperature and humidity transmitters such as the one above which are suitable for use in spaces where appearance is a factor.

It is with good RH control that we can process the air for air conditioned rooms independent of the state of outside air and the processes taking place in the room. This way the RH remains constant or within the preset limits and thus energy consumption for humidification and dehumidification is minimized.

Air conditioning is supposed to maintain room temperature and RH as precisely as possible through the use of systems which monitor and control temperature and humidity in the room (or in the air supply ducts to the room). Systems must be dynamic to manage the changing room air quality depending on the occupants and usage.

With precise measurement and control of temperature and humidity, energy consumption for humidification & dehumidification as well as heating and cooling can be reduced leading to energy efficient building operation with lower energy costs and healthier occupants.

Phil Robinson
Rotronic UK

What is Dew Point Temperature

Our state side colleagues have put together a great FAQ technical note explaining dew point temperature in more detail!

chilled mirror / dew point mirror
chilled mirror / dew point mirror

The FAQ technical note can be accessed here and answers the following key questions!

  1. What is dew point temperature?
  2. What is frost  point?
  3. When should I choose dew point as the parameter I measure?
  4. What are the pros and cons of measuring dew point versus relative humidity?
  5. Does dew point change as the ambient temperature changes?
  6. How does pressure affect dew point measurement?
  7. What are the common technologies for measuring dew point?
  8. Isn’t dew point temperature the same thing as wet bulb temperature?
  9. How do I know which technology is best for my application?
  10. Where can I buy a dew point instrument?

Rotronic produce precision low dew point sensors for low moisture applications in addition Rotronic UK is the UK distributor for world class MBW chilled mirrors, please contact us for additional information!

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK