A revolutionary new system for accurately measuring the flow properties of powders, granules and wet mixes has just been unveiled at IBA. The introduction of the ManUmit Powder Rheometer, from Stable Micro Systems, is being hailed as one the most significant developments in food industry quality control in the past decade. It will help manufacturers to avoid typical problems such as batch and source variation of ingredients, caking during storage, bridging in hoppers and sticking during production.

The new Powder Rheometer measures the flow properties not only of powders and granules, such as flour, cocoa powder and sugar, but also wet mixtures such as hydrated stabiliser solutions and dough. Its innovative approach to the characterisation of flow properties provides users and manufacturers with essential data on the rheology of these critical materials.

For years, the food industry has been unable to measure flow properties precisely and understand the rheology of powders and wet mixes. The ManUmit Powder Rheometer is an accurate, user-friendly instrument that is capable of pre-conditioning the powder sample, and then repeating exactly the same flow test time after time. The operating principle of the ManUmit Powder Rheometer is simple - a specially designed rotary blade, similar to a boat's propellor, is rotated through the powder sample. By measuring the force, torque and energy profile necessary to rotate the blade through the sample, the rheometer provides highly sensitive data on the sample's flow properties. To ensure that the data accurately mimics real-life applications, the ManUmit Powder Rheometer from Stable Micro Systems can precondition the sample for testing in an aerated or compacted state, as required, and then cause flow by slicing, shearing, compacting or lifting.

The user controls the test speed and the angle of the blade path so as to ensure the flow caused is complimentary to the required sample characteristic, or the process conditions.

The design and operation of the ManUmit Powder Rheometer has been optimised for ease of use. Testing is possible with only very small sample volumes, as low as10ml, which minimises both disruption and expense. These samples are placed in a precision stainless steel or borosilicate glass sample vessel; the latter allows users to monitor what is happening to the powder as the sample is displaced. The data is gathered and analysed and subsequently presented as graphs, which are quickly and simply interpreted. By providing a single diagram representing the flow properties of the sample, users can easily compare different samples and materials.

The ManUmit Powder Rheometer from Stable Micro Systems will be welcomed by all sectors of the food industry as it allows accurate and objective testing of ingredients, blends and finished products, as diverse as lecithins, flours, coffee granules, sugar, dried fruits, pulses, herbs and milk powder.

For more information about the ManUmit Powder Rheometer and its application, please contact Stable Micro Systems Ltd, Vienna Court, Lammas Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1YL, UK. Tel.: +44 (0) 1483 427 345. Fax: +44 (0)1483 427 600. E-mail: sales@stablemicrosystems.com
Website: www.stablemicrosystems.com