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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Photo II MCT460 Moisture Transmitter


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



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.




Happy Ice City from Process Sensors for New Year’s!

Process Sensors wishes to Gift You with a view of the Annual Harbin Ice Festival in China!  An incredible City of Ice!


Harbin Ice Festival Wikipedia Entry Entered in Part Below Click to Learn More from Wikipedia.


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The festival originated in Harbin’s traditional ice lantern show and garden party that takes place in winter, which began in 1963. It was interrupted for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution, but has since been resumed when an annual event at Zhaolin Park was annnounced on January 5 in 1985.

In 2001, the Harbin Ice Festival was merged with Heilongjiang‘s International Ski Festival and got its new formal name, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

In 2007, the festival featured a Canadian themed sculpture, in memoriam of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune. It was awarded a Guinness Record for the world’s largest snow sculpture: 250 metres long, 28 feet (8.5 m) high, using over 13,000 cubic metres of snow. The composition consisted of two parts: the “Niagara Falls” and the “crossing the Bering Strait” (the latter depicting the migration of the First Nations).

In 2014, the festival celebrated its 30th anniversary with the theme “50-Year Ice Snow, Charming Harbin”. Various fairs, competitions and expos were held from 20 December 2013 to February 2014.[2]

The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (Chinese: ????????; pinyinH?’?rb?n Guójì B?ngxu? Jié) is an annual winter festival that takes place with a theme in HarbinHeilongjiangChina, and now is the largest ice and snow festival in the world. At first participants in the festival were mainly Chinese, however it has since become an international festival and competition. The festival includes the world’s biggest ice sculptures.[1]

Officially, the festival starts on January 5 and lasts one month. However, exhibits often open earlier and stay longer, weather permitting. While ice sculptures are erected throughout the city, there are two main exhibition areas:

  • Sun Island is a recreational area on the opposite side of the Songhua River from the city, which features an expo of enormous snow sculptures.
  • Ice and Snow World is an area open during at night which features illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of 2–3′ thick ice taken directly from the Songhua River. At first China celebrated it then Harbin took over.

During the festival, there are ice lantern park touring activities held in many parks in the city. Winter activities during the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing, winter-swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.

Harbin is located in Northeast China and receives cold winter wind from Siberia. The average temperature in summer is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F), and –16.8 °C (1.8 °F) in winter. Annual lows of -35 °C (–31 °F) are not uncommon.


Harbin China Ice Festival 2012

Happy Holidays from Process Sensors!

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What is Damping Setting?

Damping is a smoothing function to make process measurement with point-to-point variability a stable measurement that reflects the moving average or the product measurement for adjustment and control.

If you are measuring hog fuel for a boiler or ore for mining or even paper moisture for label stock, you want the measurement quickly and also representative of what is being measured over time so that the control scheme doesn’t “chase itself” and instead optimizes operation.  Instead of reacting to point-to-point measurement variation that causes over compensation, a moving average allows control based on a more representative continuous measured value.

The moving average “smoothes” the measurement to allow for real time process control of application dependent unit operations.  Damping is the expression of the “Time Constant”.  The Time Constant is the time it takes for 2/3 of a step change to be reflected in the measured value.  The Time Constant or Damping is necessary to make the measurements more useful to optimize process control.

Example:  System is operating at 2%, an upset causes the constituent (moisture, organic, active ingredient or other) to 8%.  The system upset is 6% in this example.  The damping time constant is the time for the digital display an analog output to reflect 2/3rds of this change.  If the time constant is set for 1 second, the display and outputs will display 6% at one second.  If the trend continues, it will continue to increase value.  If trend stops or “lines out” (stabilizes), it will also reflect that in the moving average.

The damping is used from 1 to 10 seconds depending on application to smooth the real time measurement into a useful process control measurement.  There are also other integration and average measurements available.

Can I Afford a Cross Direction Coat Weight and/or Moisture Measurement?

Another question might be “Can you afford not to have a cross direction coat weight or moisture measurement?”


Process Sensors Guardian Nova Series of Cross Direction Web Profile Systems are designed to encourage early entry into the measurement and control of the web profile.

Our PC based Guardian Cross Direction Web Profile System is the work horse of the industry.  Fast, accurate, reliable, Ethernet communications, analog outputs, remote on-line diagnostics and Easy-to-Operate, the Guardian is an established brand in the industry.

What if you’re a new or expanding company that doesn’t have a lot of capital?  You get a new or bigger contract re-newel. Normal procedure requires start up, samples sent to lab, 20 minute response at best, make adjustments, new lab sample for confirmation and operation at best.  Contract is great but the time to get to set point is more critical and impacts production volume.  Also, if there’s a wedge or edge splurge that messes up profile, it messes up roll delivered to customer.  A complete cross direction web profile system pays for itself quickly.

Guardian opportunities now include a simple scanner, transmitter and digital display.  The basic system does not include a cross direction web profile.  It provides a digital measurement of coat weight or moisture across the web.  It can be programmed for automatic scanning or to machine direction lane with trend plot.  If you spot a problem, you can locate it, adjust the nip pressure, dye bolt, skew, or whatever is needed and immediately see the result to obtain a uniform profile.  This is especially important on start up.  It allows emerging or budget restricted companies a quick way to provide their production operators a tool for process control.

Measuring moisture or coat weight, film thickness or PSA Cross Direction Web Profile speeds start up, reduces out-of-spec product and increases profits.



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The Guardian 12” Operator Interface System offers the same features as the basic system with a complete Cross Direction Web Profile.  No data logging, but it offers a quick, accurate and easy-to-operate system to optimize start up and detect problems.  Ideal for lowering start up time and increasing production for emerging companies.


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PC Based System can communicate with an HMI (Human Machine Interface) meaning that the operator can simply change a roll or customer order via the HMI and that activates appropriate product and historical codes automatically.  Multiple scanners, transmitters and measurements such as coat weight and residual moisture!




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What Really Are the Zero and Span Calibration Controls?

Fair enough question.

The answer can be expressed in a couple of ways depending on your background and interest.

Moisture, oil/fat and coat weight etc., are all components measured with established Near Infrared (NIR) Technology.   Moisture is measured at 1.94µ or 1.42µ. Organic coatings are measured at 2.34µ and oils/fats at 1.72µ.  These are well established applications in theory, practice and documented literature.

The accuracy of a NIR transmitter is dependent upon calibration samples across a realistic dynamic range.    Normally 3 to 5 samples throughout the dynamic range and including the set point target are the best approach for calibration.  Near Infrared absorbance and constituent content (lab value) enjoy a linear relationship.  The transmitter must be most accurate at the set point.

The zero and span calibration controls are used to make the Near Infrared transmitter display values match the lab values within the limitations of laboratory accuracy and sample handling.  Collecting lab vs. NIR Transmitter values allows for a linear regression to be performed that will yield a correlation    co-efficient, standard error, slope and y-intercept.

Our “Zero” is an offset adjustment, meaning that if the measured value is 2% up or down, that it just needs an offset or zero adjustment around the set point.  The “Span” is a sensitivity adjustment, meaning that for a given change in absorbance, there is a given response in the digital measurement.  The fully automatic calibration sequence adjusts the zero and span for the operator based on these calculations to provide the correct Zero and Span for the analyzer to accurately measure and display the NIR measurement.

Enter Calibration Parameters of Lab vs. MCT Transmitter

Blog Page


Correlation Co-efficient, Standard Error and New Zero and Span

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Large 5.7” Display with Analog Outputs & Ethernet Communications

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Cross Direction Web Profiles


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