CHICAGO — Measurement engineering firm Arizona Instrument Corp. introduced its Computrac 3000 moisture analyzer as a nontoxic 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 during an interview at NPE 1997, June 16-20 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 [quality control] lab, but we encourage putting [the analyzer] on the production floor,'' said Walfred Raisanen, board chairman and vice president of research and development.
``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 he authored on the subject.
The new system makes results available in three to six minutes, on displays showing the percentage of moisture, parts-per-million moisture and micrograms of water.
Husky Injection Molding Systems, based in Bolton, Ontario, and Dow Plastics of Midland, Mich., 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 during a six-month period at eight domestic sites. Two of the test sites have purchased the analyzer.
Computrac 3000 sells for $12,500 and is available with an optional keyboard and balance scale.
The new analyzer improves on the firm's Computrac Max-2000, which was introduced in 1994.
Arizona Instrument employs 100 at its 28,000-square-foot facility in Phoenix. The company reported 1996 profit of $1.2 million on sales of $12.5 million. Founded as a private concern in 1981, it went public in 1986.
The firm sells Jerome toxic gas analyzers and electronic level gauges, in addition to its line of moisture solids analyzers. The latter line accounted for $4.5 million in sales, which were roughly split among the plastics, food and chemical processing industries.