Texture Analysis Satisfies Sweet Tooth Cravings

Thursday, January 21, 2016

AMETEK Sensors, Test & Calibration has long supplied confectionary manufacturers with advanced testing solutions to ensure end-product quality on the consumer shelf. Its Lloyd Instruments TA1 texture analyzer offers affordable, high performance whether in a quality control or product development application. 

The use of human sensory panels to determine confectionary product quality is well documented, but too impractical for today’s busy mechanized production lines. The TA1 texture analyzer, on the other hand, offers a quantitative approach, aimed at driving down costs through fast, efficient testing without compromising on data accuracy or reproducibility. Keys to success are its ease of use and high sensitivity of measurement.

The TA1 texture analyzer designed specifically for routine textural testing and sophisticated texture profile analysis. It features a 102 kgf capacity, and offers a sizeable working area to accommodate large samples. The analyzer accepts interchangeable, easy to connect XLC Series load cells as the load measuring device. Force measurement accurate to +/-0.5% of reading ensures reliable data analysis. The standard system includes the base machine, drip tray, and food-testing base and probe for routine entry-level applications. 

Texture Profile Analysis (TPA) is used to measure snack bar crispiness, biscuit crumb strength, sponge and marshmallow springiness, caramel and toffee chewiness, chocolate bar break strength, gel consistency and more. Through TPA, confectionary manufacturers are able to adjust ingredient ratios, assess baking and production variables, and determine shelf life. 

Test data can then be correlated against human sensory panels as a final check. Once such TPA profiles have been defined, the procedure can then be transferred to the production line for standard testing in during Quality Control.

A simple change of sample grip alters instrument functionality for greater cost efficiency. Also available are special knife attachments to test butter and cream consistencies and flat ended probes to measure stickiness values of icings and confectionary fillings. Even the snap strength of crackers, tortillas, and fries can be checked with a modified three point bend test. 

To help users in the instrument control, data analysis and reporting results, the TA1 texture analyzer uses the NEXYGENPlus software. With a vast library for international manufacturing standards compliance, key features include strict multi-level user security and audit trails for total traceability of data and users, video capture and playback, and extended instrument interfaces.

Texture Analysis Satisfies Sweet Tooth Cravings