Controlling the amount of moisture and oil in crackers and biscuits is an important consideration for process operators. Too little or too much moisture or oil impacts production and quality. By installing MoistTech’s IR3000 NIR Moisture Sensor in the processing area, manufactures can continuously monitor the moisture and oil content to make adjustments as needed. Cracker and biscuit manufacturers strive to have the best finish products. During baking it is important to know the moisture and oil content after the fryer/oven outlet as they can affect quality and consistency, as well as the taste, appearance, stability and shelf life. Additionally, variation and excess moisture and oil in crackers can result in discoloration, burning and out of specification of product. Testing moisture during this time will allow adjustments to be made so that manufacturers have the highest quality. Whether finished products have too much or too little moisture and oil is a main concern for cracker manufacturers as some food items are sold by weight, which reduces costs. Having too much moisture can affect the crunch by making the item taste stale of even worse contributing to bacteria/mold growth. Too much oil can make products greasy and higher in fat percentages.
Measuring moisture content throughout the process also provides bakers cost savings in energy and fuel costs, as well as having less product waste. Any excessive water that is added must be evaporated in the oven to produce crackers within a specified moisture range, which results in longer bake times. With continuous NIR online moisture testing, manufacturers can monitor moisture levels which they in–turn, can precisely control ovens to optimize the production process with minimum energy requirements as well as preventing over cooking.
We recommend installing sensor(s) at the exit of the ovens, close to packaging so that it will allow the food time to stabilize while cooling. The sensor should be installed several inches above the conveyor belt or screw conveyor so that it can continuously monitor the process and can control the moisture content either manually or automatically in the finished product.
If the sensor has to be installed close to the oven outlet where it will be susceptible to extreme heat conditions, it is necessary to cool the sensor with either air or water. Furthermore, if the sensor is located near an oil spray, it may be necessary to clean the sensor’s optical window during regular routine cleaning. MoistTech is very experienced with the requirements in the production of all types of cracker and biscuit products.