Viscosity is important in the production of powders by spray-drying, where concentrated solutions are forced at high pressure through very fine nozzles into a chamber of warm air.
The process is widely used in the food industry for making such things as baby foods, coffee and soup mixes.
The efficiency of drying is largely determined by the degree of atomization of the resulting mixes, which is directly proportional to the viscosity of the feed solution.
Norcross says its new viscosity control system can be used for measuring the mixing of food ingredients, among other processes. The system comes with one to three control stations as required.
Viscosity, a measure of the resistance of a fluid to deformation under shear stress, is commonly perceived as "thickness", or resistance to pouring. Water has low viscosity, and is thus easy to pour, while a sugar syrup is considered "thick", or as having a high viscosity.
The Norcross VISC1000 Viscosity Control System can monitor and control from one to three stations and features a touch screen interface that displays process parameters and trend data for each station.
The system displays set-point targets, actual viscosity, alarms, and whether each station is in automatic or manual mode. The system provides real-time data logging and allows viscosity parameter changes on-the-fly.
Users can change the parameters for each station separately. This includes measurements for air valves, solvent control, set points, high-low alarms, and colour codes for ingredients.
The device's software can provide data logging from one hour up to seven days. Systems are also available for up to 12 stations.