By expanding the functions of its TA.XTplus texture analyser, Stable Micro Systems hopes to make it more useful to the food industry.
The TA.XTplus is used to measure the strength and resilience of film-like foods, including confectionery strips, leaf gelatine, nori, rice paper and wafer thin.
Food products such as the increasingly popular mouth strips, wafer thin meats or rice paper must be strong enough to resist breakage when handled by the consumer. Manufacturers can use TA.XTplus to identify weaknesses and adjust their formulations.
Using a new attachment developed for the analyser, manufacturers can also assess the mechanical properties of sheet packaging materials such as shrink wrapping, plastic film, foil and bakery parchment, Stable Micro Systems stated.
"The Film Support Rig was initially developed in response to fast growth and increased competition in the breath freshening strip sector," the company stated. " Its versatility, however, allows wide application in a number of different markets."
Prior to performing the test, a sample of food is placed over a hole in a raised perspex platform. A top plate prevents the sample from slipping during testing. The test is then carried out as the arm of the TA.XTplus brings a 5mm stainless steel ball probe down into the aperture.
The maximum force to rupture the product is recorded and is referred to as burst strength.
The instrument also measures the resilience and relaxation properties of the sample. Resilience can be assessed by depressing the surface to a chosen distance before retracting the ball probe. The property is calculated using a ratio of the work of compression and work of withdrawal.
Relaxation can be measured with the addition of a hold period within the test to allow the product's recovery to be evaluated. Both properties broaden the application of the Film Support Rig.
" Burst strength, resilience and relaxation are important factors in determining the mechanical properties of a product, allowing manufacturers to optimize product structure and formulation," the UK-based company stated.