Automatic Particle Counting The Clever and Effective Way to Deal with Turbidimetry

| Author / Editor: Sandra Suresh / Dominik Stephan

How can you safely and reliably determine the quality of drinking water? The company Pamas develops, manufactures and distributes Automatic Particle Counters for fluid cleanliness control, e.g., of hydraulic or lubricating oil, fuel, pharmaceutical liquids like infusion solutions, WFI (Water for Injection) and process water. Here is a case study on the use of Particle Counting for early detection of contaminants in drinking water...

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The Pamas Water Viewer is an automatic particle counting system designed for water applications
The Pamas Water Viewer is an automatic particle counting system designed for water applications
(Picture: Pamas)

There are various existing methods to determine whether the water is clean and free from particulate contamination. In water treatment systems, both particle counters and turbidimeters or nephelometers are used for water quality control. Turbidimeters and nephelometers measure the collective amount of solid contaminants in liquids. The more turbid a liquid is, the higher the measuring value will be.

Automatic Particle Counters do not measure the collective amount of solid particles, they analyze size and quantity of each single particle, which is part of that population in the online sample flow. The knowledge of the particle sizes is of paramount importance in water applications, as it helps to quickly identify certain types of bacteria or even a failure in the system (e g., breakthrough of a membrane filter in case of an above average number of large sized particles). The Automatic Particle Counter, thus, gives more versatile and significant results than a turbidimeter.


Pamas, a German company, develops, manufactures and distributes Automatic Particle Counters, designed for fluid cleanliness control. The extensive Pamas product range provides more than 20 different particle counting models for multiple applications. Besides the most widely used models, which are applied in contamination control of hydraulic fluids, fuel and insulation liquids there are more specialised models for the determination of filter efficiency (beta-ratio analysis) and parts cleaning.

Use of Pamas Water Viewer at the water treatment plant in Nancy, France.
Use of Pamas Water Viewer at the water treatment plant in Nancy, France.
(Picture: Pamas)

Fluid cleanliness control in the pharmaceutical industry and water quality control in water treatment plants are other applications within the extensive uses of Automatic Particle Counters.

Features of the instrument

Pamas Water Viewer is specifically developed for water applications. This unit takes measurements online and is installed as a fixed stationary instrument for water condition monitoring. The system is used for the cleanliness control of potable water, raw water and purified waste water or process water. For condition monitoring, the instrument may be connected to up to 32 measuring points. With the aid of microprocessor controlled valves, it is easy to change between measuring points and bypass connections.

It can also be fitted optionally with an automatic Sensor Flushing Unit, the Pamas SFU. This attachment will automatically remove mineral deposits (e.g. manganese, calcium, iron oxide, etc.) from the optical cell windows which may otherwise diminish the laser light beam. The instrument stays in action round the clock without anyone having to take care of it. The instrument configuration can be set up according to the customer’s requirements: Depending on the user-specific application, the Pamas Water Viewer may be equipped with different particle sensors with different sensor specifications. The sensor Pamas HCB-LD-25/25 for example, analyses particle sizes between 1 and 200 μm.