The US based instrumentation manufacturer said ideal applications for its Pac Check Model 450 EC benchtop oxygen (O2) headspace analyzer include a broad variety of nitrogen flushed products such as case-ready meats, cheese, prepared foods, and snacks.
Anthony Ahmed, product manager at MOCON, claims virtually no training is required for the use or installation of the unit.
He told FoodProductionDaily.com that the analyzer is simply taken out of the box and plugged in: “Its ‘show and go’ attributes enable a new user to be up and running with five minutes of training. That makes it particularly ideal for entry-level or small businesses that might have a lesser-skilled workforce, particularly in emerging economies.”
The model, according to Ahmed, can measure an O2 concentration range from zero to 100 per cent in packaging types ranging from small blisters to large pouches and is suitable for companies displacing residual O2 in their packaging headspace with nitrogen gas flushing.
“The new unit provides a very fast and accurate way to determine exactly how much residual oxygen has been left in the package, as it is important for packagers to make sure O2 levels are not degrading contents and negatively affecting shelf life,” he said.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is used extensively in the food industry as a means of extending shelf life. It is an increasingly lucrative technology for packaging companies aiming to provide fresher food such as sandwiches, fresh pizzas and meats.
The modified atmosphere in the package helps prevent the growth of microbiological organisms and bio-chemical reactions and the consequent spoilage of goods. MAP is a reliable and cost effective alternative to refrigeration or preservatives.
Both automatic and manual gas sampling options can be employed with the Model 450EC and its sensor, based on electrochemical sensor design, can be replaced by plant personnel in less than ten minutes, thus reducing maintenance costs and downtime, explained Ahmed.
He said that the unit has temperature and pressure compensation for test consistency, while its Flo Smart sensing system knows when blockage has occurred in the testing line, and notifies the operator of such to prevent faulty readings.
The Pac Check Model 450EC is extremely economical in terms of pricing, continued Ahmed, and he added that even though it is a benchtop unit, it is priced similarly to portable units.
“We have been able to design an ergonomic, performance-rich instrument for companies who previously could not afford oxygen headspace analysis. Its simplicity and speed of use is very important in today’s fast moving quality assurance environments,” he said.
According to Ahmed, the response time for the Model 450EC can match other units currently on the market, which translates into speed rate of six to seven seconds; however, he added that the company will be launching a new model in the EC series later this year with significant improvement in response time.
In terms of accessing the data the instrument has been designed to provide the information directly on the screen, said Ahmed, but if the user prefers, he said that the data can be directly output into Microsoft Office applications.