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Low cost texture analyser can measure food and packaging, says firm

By Jane Byrne , 04-Aug-2008
Last updated on 04-Aug-2008 at 15:54 GMT2008-08-04T15:54:03Z

A new easy-to-operate texture tool is a cost effective way for processors to measure the texture of food products as well as their packaging, says developer Brookfield Engineering.

The new CT3 Texture Analyser can be used with food products such as butter and cheese products, sauces, snack foods, baked goods, fruits, meat products, confectionery, and puddings, according to the company.

Texture analysis devices primarily evaluate the mechanical characteristics of foods, such as ripeness, consistency, firmness and yield point.

The test material is subjected to a controlled force of pressure. The devices can then generate information about the mechanical characteristics found in the food, which can be further sub-divided into primary and secondary sensory characteristics.

Cost-effective tool

Brookfield Engineering marketing manger Bob McGregor told FoodProductionDaily.com that the significant advantages of the CT3 are its low cost, ease of use and dual mode capability.

“The price of this instrument is well under $10,000 (€6,415) and includes measurement probes, software and special fixtures to hold food items. Other texture analyzers are typically $25,000 (€16,037) or more,” claims McGregor.

“The operator can be running tests with only five minutes of training in standalone mode. This is ideal for quality control purposes in busy food production environments,” he added

Load range

He claims the design of CT3 was customer driven and it offers a significant enhancement over the previous model, the LFRA, as it works in both compression and tension modes, while providing a five load range to suit processors of all sizes.

“The 1,000 gram load cell can handle yogurts, while the 4,500 gram load cell would be appropriate for crackers and the 10kg unit for hard rolls or loaves of crusty bread,” said McGregor.

The CT3 is a compact unit that fits easily into existing plant environments and has an easy-to-read display as well as intuitive controls, according to the company.

“The operator places the food item on the instrument base table and the appropriate probe is selected. In the case of the crackers, it could be a three-point bend assembly, while in the case of the bread it could be a cylindrical probe,” explained McGregor.

Packaging probe

He said that the CT3 can also pull items apart when operating in tension mode, making it suitable for use with packaging.

“There is a ‘Dual Grip Assembly’ that can be used to take a piece of packaging material and pull it apart. This allows the operator to measure how easy or difficult it is, for example, to open a sealed package of snack mix,” added McGregor.

The company said that the CT3 can be purchased from authorized Brookfield dealers throughout Europe.

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