News | April 15, 2009

MOCON Introduces Easy-To-Use, Entry-Level Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide Analyzer For Package Headspace

Source: MOCON, Inc.

MOCON, Inc. launches its new PAC CHECK® Model 650 EC benchtop dual oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) headspace analyzer.

The performance-rich unit is the second product launched under MOCON's Performance Series, EC (electrochemical) class. The line has been designed as a cost-effective option for smaller companies and fledgling businesses in emerging global economies, who previously could not afford package headspace analysis.

The PAC CHECK® Model 650 EC is ideally suited for applications in which CO2 gas is used to minimize microbial activity or enhance products to meet shelf life objectives. These include cheese, meat, poultry, seafood, prepared meals, pasta, baked goods, fresh produce, carbonated soft drinks, coffee and a variety of other packaged food products.

"We've engineered a true laboratory instrument at a very affordable cost for entry level companies to determine exactly how much residual oxygen and carbon dioxide has been left inside the package. The precision and speed in which this unit is able to deliver results offers significant benefits to smaller companies who need to meet shelf life commitments," says Anthony Ahmed, product manager, MOCON.

The PAC CHECK Model 650 EC's simplified menu structure lets users go from "set-up to test" in less than a minute, making it extremely fast and easy to operate. It can measure both O2 and CO2 concentration ranges from 0 to 100% in rigid, semi-rigid and flexible packages.

The PAC CHECK Model 650EC allows both automatic and manual gas sampling. In the automatic mode, a septum is applied to the package via a pressure-sensitive adhesive. Next, a probe is inserted through the septum which creates a hermetic seal. A gas sample is drawn by pushing a button which actives a pump creating a vacuum. The gas passes through the needle and tube assembly, through the septum to the instrument's sensors. Results are available in seconds.

A manual mode (which relies on a septum and a syringe) is available for packages with only a couple of cc's of headspace, such as a tightly-wrapped cheese. (Gas collected via syringe is then inserted into the instrument via a port and measurement takes place.)

The instrument also includes MOCON's Flo Smart™ technology and the brand new patent-pending Cal-Smart® calibration feature. Flo Smart™ is a sensing system which knows when blockage has occurred in the testing line. It notifies the operator so that faulty readings can be prevented.

Cal-Smart™ features one-button calibration. It uses ambient air and advanced electronic controls to perform a two-point calibration (0- and 21- percent gas levels) vs. the commonly used room air or certified tank gas methods. Two-point calibrations are fast and easy which improves the instrument's accuracy and repeatability while significantly reducing intervals between more time consuming certified gas calibrations. The unit also has temperature and pressure compensation for test consistency.

The Model 650 EC is also the second offering in MOCON's new EC class of products, which is based on an advanced electrochemical sensor design. (MOCON launched the PAC CHECK 450 EC O2 headspace analyzer in November 2008.) Another advantage is that the sensor can be replaced by plant personnel in less than 10 minutes without the additional cost of a service call or significant downtime.

"We've made this unit truly global-friendly. In addition to the ‘out of the box' operation simplicity, there is never any need to ship the unit back to us for scheduled maintenance. This is another benefit for users in other parts of the world," Ahmed says.

MOCON is a leading provider of instrumentation and consulting and laboratory services to medical, pharmaceutical, food and other industries worldwide. For more information, visit: