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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day celebrates romance, love and affection between couples and hope to be couples.  Customarily the exchange of flowers, chocolates and other gifts occurs on February 14th each year.

How and Why did this custom develop?

The Roman Fertility Festival Lupercalia was celebrated in mid-February each year.  Emperor Claudius II banned young men from marrying sometime before 270 A.D believing that single men made better soldiers.  Young love would not be stopped and a sympathetic temple priest named Valentine would secretly marry young couples.  When this was found out, Claudius II had Valentine publicly beheaded in 270 A.D.  In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius I proclaimed Valentine a Saint and declared February 14th as Saint Valentine’s Day replacing the Pagan Lupercalia Festival.  Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, lovers and happy marriages.

Much much later, the exchanging of cards and chocolates on this day became popular in England and spread to North America where commercial drivers to sell cards, chocolates and flowers proved an economic bonanza that spread worldwide.

Think of and enjoy your loved ones today!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Friday the 13th!

March 13th is one of three Friday the 13ths in 2015.  March and November will offer two additional Friday the 13ths  .  While each year has at least one Friday the 13th, it will be 2026 before another year presents three Friday the 13ths.

The superstitious believe that Friday the 13th brings bad luck.  Some believe that this originates from the date that the Knights Templar were arrested and their assets seized under the orders of French King Phillip IV on Friday the 13th, 1307.  The Knights Templar name was derived from their first headquarters established in Jerusalem as Temple of Solomon in 1120 in the captured Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount which was allegedly built upon the ruins of Solomon’s original temple.

The Knights Templar were formed to protect Christian Pilgrims on their journey to Jerusalem and started with nine knights including Godfrey de Saint-Omer and André de Montbard.  Their emblem of two Knights riding a single horse represented their poverty compared to other rival Knightly Orders such as Hospitaller and Teutonic .  They lived on donations from Christian nobleman and Kings and were granted special privileges by the Church.  Quickly their Order grew in size and assets.  The likely high point of their military crusades was the defeat of Saladin’s army of 26,000 at the Battle of Montgisard with a few thousand soldiers led by 500 Templar Knights with their fierce attacks in full armor mounted on horses in 1177.

Over the years, the Knight Templars influence grew far away from the battlefield with administration, castles and estates in France and England.  They developed one of the first banking systems so that travelers could make a deposit at the local Templar and receive a coded letter that when delivered to another Templar site allowed them to receive funds less a donation.  This allowed travelers to avoid being robbed of gold or other riches by bandits when traveling.

As leadership changed, so did the Knights fortune.  The Knights Templar rode across a desert in full armor with no rest to reach the Battle of the Horns of Hattin in 1187 where they were defeated soundly by Saladin when Muslim forces recaptured Jerusalem.  Their military influence waned to non-existent as their financial position rapidly grew.  While the Knights took an oath of poverty, the wealth the Order controlled was vast.

King Phillip the IV persuaded the new Pope Clement who had moved the Catholic Curia to Avignon France and under Phillip’s influence to investigate alleged crimes of the order so as to avoid paying the huge debt he owed the Knights Templar from financing his war with England.  The Knights were accused of Satanic and Pagan like rituals and Heresy.

And so, on the morning of Friday the 13th, 1307 began the destruction of the order with the arrests and torture of the Knights culminating with Grand Master Jaques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy,  being burnt at the stake in Paris on March 18, 1314 after recanting their earlier confessions.  Jaques de Molay allegedly screamed through the flames that “God knows who is wrong and has sinned and a calamity will occur to those who condemned us to death”.  Pope Clement died within a month and King Phillip died of a hunting accident within a year.

The Great Fortune of the Knights Templar was never found and legends abound with most featuring escapes with Treasure by the surviving Knights to England, Scotland, and North America.

 

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Snow Gate – PSC Closed Today for Weather?

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Congratulations to the New England Patriots and MVP Tom Brady on their Super Bowl Victory over the Seattle Seahawks!

What about Snow Gate?

PSC is closed today after being hit by another Winter Snow Storm in Boston.  In a developing story called Snow Gate, it has been reported that Process Sensors is closed today based on snow and road conditions.  The closing may be “covering” for all the New England Patriots fans recovering from too much chile and chowder celebrating the most widely viewed Super Bowl of all time, decided in the last few minutes.  Story developing …

 

 

Barry Wilner

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Ten years removed from his last Super Bowl win, Tom Brady wasn’t letting this one slip away.

Sure, the brilliant Brady needed a huge play by an undrafted rookie to preserve New England’s 28-24 Super Bowl victory over Seattle on Sunday night. But Brady’s imprint was all over the Patriots’ sensational fourth-quarter rally for their fourth NFL championship of the Brady-Bill Belichick era.

“You know, whatever it takes,” the record-setting Brady said after throwing for four touchdowns, including a 3-yarder to Julian Edelman with 2:02 remaining as New England rallied from a 10-point deficit. “Every team has a journey and a lot of people lost faith in us … but we held strong, we held together, and it’s a great feeling.”

 

Click Here To View Barry Wilner AP Story

 

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Juno Blizzard Hits Boston and PSC Hard – Office Closed Today!

Snowstorm-21Winter Storm Juno was pounding New England with moderate to heavy snow, high winds and coastal flooding Tuesday morning.

Parts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island have seen more than a foot of snow.

Snow amounts in New York have ranged from 7.8 inches at Central Park in New York City to more than 28 inches in eastern Long Island. La Guardia airport in New York City has seen 11 inches.

In Massachusetts, up to 26.2 inches of snow has been measured in Shrewsbury, while Boston endured heavy snow and wind gusts over 30 mph from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. ET. Wind gusts in eastern Massachusetts have topped 70 mph and coastal flooding has closed some roads.

Thunder snow was reported in coastal portions of Rhode Island and Massachusetts late Monday night and early Tuesday.

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Process Sensors Corp. is in New England! We Are Patriots!

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Wet End Coat Weight Measurement on Bi-Oriented Film Lines

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Bi-Orientated Film is essentially stretched in two directions (machine and traverse direction) to manufacture shrink wrap and barrier type films with typical shrinkage in the 20 to 60% range dependent on formulation, label wraps, tapes, capacitance films and many other applications.  Typical films are Bi-Orientated Polypropylene (BOPP), Bi-Orientated Polyethylene Terephthalate (BOPET/polyester) and Bi-Orientated Polyamide (BOPA).  Stretching allows for the alignment of the polymer molecules to improve physical properties.

BOPP film is used in snack, pasta and other packaging applications including the overwrap for multi-packs.  BOPP is typically 15 to 30 microns and can be as thick as 50 microns.  Water based acrylic and PVDC coatings are often applied to increase moisture and odor barrier levels, and sealing properties.

Improved formulations and application technology allows for these acrylic and PVDC coatings to be measured with Near Infrared (NIR) technology on the wet end to optimize coat weight across the web profile.  Cost, regulation, standardization and maintenance are moving the measurement preference from nuclear to NIR.

Process Sensors Corp. MCT Nova Series of Near IR transmitters and Guardian Web Profile Systems make immediate and accurate coat weight measurement.  Please contact us today to discuss your application.

 

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Super Bowl Combatants

Process Sensors Congratulates the AFC Champion New England Patriots and

NFC Seattle Seahawks on their victories in the Conference Finals and look

forward to the Super Bowl!

 

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ICE USA Orlando 2015 – Booth 943

February 10-12, 2015
OCCC, Orlando, Florida

 

Join several thousand converting professionals from nearly 50 countries who will come together in Orlando, Florida, February 10-12, 2015, to see all the latest converting machinery and technologies on display from over 350 leading suppliers. The key decision makers from a wide range of companies that convert and process flexible, web-based materials will come together seeking innovative solutions to their specific challenges.

Process Sensors Corp. will be showing our Guardian System Series of Web Profile Systems featuring our multiple scanner and transmitter PC based system, our stand alone scanning system with Operator Interface (OI) and our economically priced starter system.  We will also have our stand alone MCT460 Near IR Transmitter.

Our MCT Series of Process Near IR transmitters can measure moisture, wet end water based coatings, dry end organic coatings, hot melt thickness, film thickness, residual moisture and web temperature.  Our lab and at-line QuikCheck can measure moisture and coat weight off line.

Please visit us to discuss your application needs during the ICE Show Orlando at Booth 943!

 

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Je Suis Charlie!

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Fish Meal On-Line Moisture Measurement with Near Infrared Transmitter

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Fish meal is usually made from “oily” fish such as mackerel, menhaden, pilchard or other local oily fish.  Very little fish meal is made from white fish (<2%) such as cod and it is referred to as “white fish meal” with an oil content of less than 6%.  Fish meal is also “fish” with only water and some oil extracted.  While historically used as a fertilizer additive fish meal’s protein and nutrients have shifted the market to animal feeds.

Fish meal is generally manufactured by the wet press method where the fish is cooked to coagulate the protein and then pressed to yield a solid phase (press cake, about 30% of feed) consisting of bones, protein and oil and a liquid phase of water, dissolved or suspended solids (press liquor, about 70% of feed).  The press is usually a dual screw rotating in opposing directions with increasing shaft size that decreases available volume in the press thereby increasing pressure and forcing the liquid component out through the perforations in the housing.  The press squeezes out as much liquid as possible to increase oil yield and quality while reducing moisture content that in turn reduces dryer energy consumption and increases dryer capacity.  The press reduces moisture from approximately 70% to about 50% and oil content to 4%.  The ground press cake is mixed with the processed stick water after the evaporation unit operations.

Most modern fish meal processing plants utilize either a direct fired two stage rotary dryer or an indirect steam dryer dependent on feed stock and required capacity.  The dryer exit moisture target is typically less than 11% to inhibit microbial growth and increase structural integrity of the fish meal cake or pellet.  The specific fish meal product being manufactured determines the appropriate moisture target.  The dryer temperature is usually less than 195?F (90?C) to avoid degradation of the available nutrients and protein within the cake.

Amazingly, most moisture measurements at dryer exit are conducted manually with a grab sample that is either “felt” for moisture content or measured off line with a di-electric, capacitance or microwave devices.  These techniques can be sensitive to density and temperature variations or simply the experienced operator out with the flu!

Moisture variations are due to changes in feedstock, density and throughput.  Typically air flow and dryer temperature are adjusted to maintain fish meal moisture set point at dryer exit.  Near infrared techniques allow for off line measurement of moisture, oil and in some cases protein.  Protein measurement off line usually requires a full spectrum NIR analyzer with chemometrics  calibration modeling programs such as PLS (Partial Least Squares) or PCR (Principle Component Regression).

On-line, Near Infrared photometers such as Process Sensors Corp. MCT460 NIR Transmitter allow for moisture and oil measurements.  Product variability in terms of bone and fish scales contribute to variation in sample handling and fish meal moisture measurement on-line with NIR transmitters.  Typical moisture range at dryer exit is 0-15% with reproducibility of 0.2% and accuracy of 0.2 to 0.3% fish meal moisture.

Fish oil is mainly made up of long chain fatty acids and due to absorption shifts in the Near IR has more variability than fish meal moisture measurement.  Fish meal composition changes in bone and fish scale can contribute to measurement variability.  Protein measurement is best made in the lab with Soxhlet Extraction or full spectrum NIR.  On-line photometers can trend protein at best, and are not suitable for on-line protein measurement.

The NIR moisture transmitter (photometer) is typically mounted 8 to 18 inches above a conveyor equipped with an air purge to keep the sight glass clean and requiring 3 to 10 psig air pressure.  The MCT460 Moisture Transmitter supplies a large 5.7 inch display of moisture percent and is also capable of displaying operator selected trend cycle simultaneously.  The Operator Interface (OI) supplies analog outputs and Ethernet communications.  Moisture and Oil Measurements from a single transmitter can be displayed on one Operator interface.

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Photo I MCT 460 Operator Interface

 

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Illustrations of a typical Fish Meal Flow Chart and Process Outline are shown below.

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Illustration I Fish Meal Process Flow Chart

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Illustration II Fish Meal General Unit Operations

 

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Illustration III Fish Meal Press

 

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Graph I Fish Meal Trend Chart vs. MCT460 Moisture Measurement

 

Conclusion

NIR Moisture Transmitters can provide accurate and reliable fish meal moisture measurement at Dryer Exit to improve product quality, reduce energy costs, increase structural integrity and quality assurance with a quick Return on Investment (ROI) based on reduction of fuel costs and increase in product quality.