CHICAGO — Measurement engineering firm Arizona Instrument Corp. introduced its Computrac 3000 moisture analyzer as a non-toxic alternative to the Karl Fischer titration method with drying oven. ``Our [research and development] over the last two to three years led to the Computrac 3000 with a particular sensor and filtration system,'' John P. Hudnall, president and chief executive officer, said in an interview at NPE Booth E11122 in Chicago.
The analyzer is accurate down to 10 micrograms of moisture, or 0.001 percent, on samples of 1-20 grams.
``Typically, measurement occurs in a QC lab, but we encourage putting [the analyzer] on the production floor,'' Walfred Raisanen, board chairman and vice president of research and development, said in an interview.
``To be accepted by the industry, any new method must correlate well to the reference method, in this case, Karl Fischer coulometry,'' Raisanen said in a paper.
The new system makes results available in three to six minutes on displays showing percentage of moisture, parts-per-million moisture and micrograms of water.
Husky Injection Molding Systems and Dow Plastics assisted in the development.
``Soft drink bottlers found that moisture controls were the source of all problems with processing and quality control,'' Raisanen said.
Phoenix-based Arizona Instrument beta-tested the Computrac 3000 over six months at eight domestic sites. Two have purchased the analyzer.
Computrac 3000 sells for $12,500 and is available with an optional keyboard and balance scale for sites needing those components.
The new analyzer improves on the company's Computrac Max-2000, introduced in 1994.
Arizona Instrument employs 100. It reported 1996 profit of $1.2 million on sales of $12.5 million. The firm, founded in 1981, went public in 1986 and is listed on the Nasdaq Small Cap Market.
The firm sells Jerome toxic gas analyzers and electronic level gauges in addition to the line of moisture solids analyzers. The latter category accounted for $4.5 million in sales, split generally in thirds among the plastics, food and chemical processing industries.