can do (almost) anything Possibilities of modern NIR systems as exemplified by Bühler’s Multi Online Analyser MYRG by Thomas Ziolko, Marketing and Product Manager, Grain Milling, Bühler and Juste Hahne, Chemometrics, Grains & Food Automation, Bühler
he latest generation of near-infrared systems for online measurements in grain, flour and semolina open up new possibilities regarding gluten, water absorption and starch damage. These allow millers to optimise flour production directly and individually. The grain processing industry has been using the near-infrared system (NIR) to continuously monitor the contents of raw, intermediate and end products for years. More and more companies are now using the advantages NIR technology offers for optimising processes in real time. NIR analysis makes it possible to assure consistent product quality, and it makes a substantial contribution to the profitability of a mill. The evolution of the NIR machine ultimately means that previous temporal restrictions and expenditures associated with laboratory tests and raw materials are a thing of the past.
New generation of NIR
The first generation of NIR equipment focused on analysing protein content, moisture and ash. These parameters were and are the ‘classics’ of most online systems. In addition, however, there are other quality parameters that require compliance by the mills. For example, in wheat flour the amount of gluten, the flour’s ability to absorb water, or the extent to which the starch has been damaged, are important factors. Older generations of online NIR systems were only able to determine these parameters with insufficient accuracy and reproducibility. By employing photodiode arrays (diode array, DA), as in Bühler’s NIR Multi Online Analyzer MYRG, the latest generation of NIR systems offers new possibilities for such additional parameters and thus new potential for millers. 54 | February 2016 - Milling and Grain
The NIR Multi Online Analyser MYRG is further distinguishable by its durability and reliability, a claim reinforced by some of its new features. The compact measurement probes of the latest generation NIR are suited to the retrofitting of existing production systems and it is the only probe actually located in the production environment. The control cabinet with its centralised spectrometer provides ideal protection of the optical and electronic components. There is also the possibility to add a probe for colour and speck measurement to the same centralised system The real time monitoring aspect is one of the major advantages of Bühler’s new NIR system. The NIR units are extremely easy to use once they are calibrated. Anyone can do measurements with NIR units, compared to traditional reference method in the lab, where a trained chemistry technician is needed. Immediate corrective action is thus applied to the ongoing production process without the need to wait for laboratory value, giving you protein, ash, and moisture values in a matter of a few seconds. These additional calibrations eliminate long periods of waiting for laboratory results and correctional measures can be performed without delay, while simultaneously driving down costs
Possibilities for NIR
Near-infrared spectroscopy is very well suited for determining the dominant contents in organic materials such as food and feed products. But to do so, an NIR system needs not only good hardware in order to function reliably, but a good mathematical model (calibration) to determine the properties of an unknown product. The most important and NIR-active biochemical components, such as water, starch, protein and fat, can be modeled (or calibrated) without difficulty. However, other physical or biochemical product properties can also be correlated with the