Mr Johannes Angres, Director New Business Development
and Technical Support
The traditional approach of “tapping” the cap is a widely-used method for measuring the carbon dioxide content of beverages bottles, such as those which have been transported or stored for long periods of time. At this year’s Brau Beviale trade fair in Nuremberg, Steinfurth, a company based in Essen, Germany, presented a brand new method for taking measurements, which can be carried out without damaging the beverages’ packaging. It consists of a compact hand-held wireless measuring device that weighs just 1.2 kg, which is placed on the head of the bottle to be measured. With gentle hand movements along the X-axis, the CO2 pressure and temperature of the beverage are relayed to a small touch screen or archived internally in less than 15 seconds.
“The ‘NicO2’ collects the data using Steinfurth’s patented laser technology,” Johannes Angres, Director of New Business Development and Technical Support, explained. “A laser beam is sent through the neck of the bottle before being evaluated on the opposite side of the device. The measuring device can flexibly store a bunch of measurements taken depending on its memory size and can transmit the data collected to a PC or smartphone, wirelessly. The measuring accuracy of this non-invasive system is within two per cent. This new method and the machine’s compact design makes possible completely new areas of use.”
In the PET sector, this applies in particular to product impairment due to material-related bidirectional gas diffusion for extended periods of time.“This means, for example, that reproducible CO2 values could be measured for beverages that are subject to longer transport or storage times, or, in theory, the question of how the CO2 content changes over time in certain situations can be answered. Therefore, we not only consider the device to be of use for laboratory and quality tests but also in the transport chain, with distributing companies, for example,” Mr Angres added. “The device is already being used at Coca-Cola in Atlanta.” According to Steinfurth, the NicO2 takes measurements in a range of 1-6 bar and a temperatureof 5-35 °C. The battery is replaceable.
Steinfurth also presented an additional measuring device for even more accurate CO2 measurement at its stand. The CDA-OST, a fixed tabletop instrument, is designed to combine the high-precision destructive measurement method, which entails the piercing of the bottle being analysed, with the advantages of non-destructive optical measurement. An exact measurement is taken by destroying a single sample that is also measured optically at the same time.
“With this combination it is possible to extrapolate the influence on the optical sensor for a wide range of carbonated beverages,” Johannes Angres explained. It should then be possible to complete all subsequent measurements of the same type or from the same production batch on a non-destructive basis and just as accurately. It should also be possible to calibrate the device intuitively and to detect individual neck diameters automatically. Its measurement capability ranges from 1-10 bar and temperatures of 5-35 °C.
by Kay Barton