Process Analysis Easy In-line Moisture Measurement Without Elaborate Calibration

Author / Editor: Joachim Mannhardt, Tomas Vermeire, Dr. Harald Stahl / Dr. Jörg Kempf

When are granules really dry? A new, robust online sensor for fluidised beds answers this question directly and saves the user the trek to the sample laboratory.

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View of a ConsiGma line (picture-in-picture) with installed moisture measurement system.
View of a ConsiGma line (picture-in-picture) with installed moisture measurement system.
(Pictures: GEA)

In order to determine moisture content in fluidised bed processes, neither chemometry nor complex model construction are necessary. It has also proved possible to solve the problem of erroneous measurement results caused by reduced window transparency. It is thus possible, for the first time in pharmaceutical solids production, to determine reliably the end point of a fluidised bed drying process without taking samples. This enables a substantial rise in productivity for such processes as fluidised bed drying, spray drying and also granulation.

Moisture analysis Important for Pharma and Food Industries

The analysis of moisture in bulk goods is of great importance in the pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries and also in the foodstuffs industry, since it has a decisive influence on further processing, on the microbiology in the installation and on the shelf life of the end product.

The new, optics-based moisture sensor is installed at process-relevant points in the installation and comes into direct contact with the product (in situ). The sensor is equally suitable for continuous and discontinuous (batch) installations.

Optical Methods Struggle with "Fouling" Windows

Besides optical methods, numerous non-optical methods are available to determine product moisture content, but all these methods often have to struggle with the problem of windows fouling or, more precisely, fouling of the process interface. Independent of the method of analysis, adhesion of the product material can in many cases distort the measurement results.