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Sticky, brittle or soft: texture testing on sweets

As you enjoy your next juicy sweet why not stop to think about the physical testing which is required in the manufacturing process? Whether it is the hardness of chocolate or the strength of gels manufacturers know that consumers require consistent quality. Each characteristic is carefully controlled and can be subdivided into two main categories; sensory and physical.

One of the most important physical tests is the measurement of viscosity, but unlike many commercial products there are virtually no international standards and test procedures.

The inhomogeneity of the product also makes physical testing difficult and leads to large variations between the test results - even when tested on the same laboratory equipment.

Zwick Roell has solved many of these challenges with its latest texture analyser, ProLine Z0.5.

The machine has been developed to minimise variation in the test set-up so after changing the test tools it is only necessary to start the required test programme on the PC.

New features bring major benefits to both research and development laboratories as well as shop floor quality control.

Precision load cells with increased measurement range allow a much wider range of specimens to be tested without changing the machine configuration.

For example a 500N load cell can be used down to 1N and still retain 0.5% accuracy according to ISO7500.

Zwick testXpert II software can automatically calculate an average curve from a series of test specimens, enabling typical characteristics to be established.

Traditionally this data is calculated manually or with an external system.

Now, the wide range of data from individual inhomogeneous specimens can be quantified in seconds.

The optional built in FDA part 11 data traceability system allows test and machine data to be controlled and audited.

This offers significant advantages and reduced validation cost compared to other systems.

Training on software, once a long and complicated process, is now greatly simplified due to an intuitive user interface.

With more than 10,000 versions sold worldwide, testXpert widely regarded as the most powerful - yet easy to use materials software package available.

'Smart load cell technology' allows all load cells to be pre-calibrated in the tensile and compression direction and they require no further calibration or operator intervention.

If a second load cell is required, the electronic system automatically recognises it as soon as it is plugged in.

Parameters such as maximum force, load limits and tolerances are automatically transmitted to the test control software.

The smart technology enables one texture analyser to perform many different tests such as gel strength or viscosity of fruit masses with the minimum of time between tool / fixture changes.

Carrying out tests on one machine speeds up test processes, improves data integrity, and saves cost and laboratory bench space.

To avoid the manual positioning of the machine crosshead for each test, the ProLine Z0.5 is the only testing system which remembers the current position of the crosshead including safety limits - even after the machine has been switched off.

Unlimited test configurations can be stored in memory and recalled instantly thereby saving valuable set-up time and improving safety.

The crosshead of the machine can be positioned precisely for each test.

Using a resolution of 0.0002mm, an accuracy better than 0.002mm, and a test speed control system with an accuracy of better than 0.125% the system offers unbeatable precision.

ProLine products are manufactured in Germany to the highest engineering standard using strictly controlled manufacturing processes.

The long Zwick history and experience in supplying testing equipment to blue chip organisations from industries such as metals, plastics, aerospace, defence, medical, automotive, and building, as well as most leading research and development establishments, allows customers to profit from our knowledge of materials and components testing.

The ProLine drive system is equally able to carry out unidirectional tests or high speed long term cyclic tests, and uses a PID control system which ensures that the test speed remains constant regardless of the applied load during the test.

The ProLine Z0.5 requires no special interface cards or hardware keys (dongles) to be inserted into the PC and can even be connected to a standard laptop computer.

This offers many benefits to multiple users of the testing system as in education environments.

Source: Processing Talk

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