On-line texture measurement for food


The OnLine Rheometer Group of Rheology Solutions Pty Ltd, Australia has brought to the world market the first OnLine Rheometer (OLR) to continuously measure, plot and report the flow properties of liquids in process pipes. The OLR assist process monitoring, process control and quality control of liquids in the process and manufacturing of food products.

Flow properties that influence processability or mouthfeel like viscosity, tack, elasticity, body and others are important for a variety of products in the food industry. The OnLine Rheometer (OLR) is able to make measurements that directly relate to these variables and provide feedback to the operator in real time. In this way the operator can make informed process decisions about the quality of the material in the pipe and make changes as appropriate.

olr030-1Figure 1. Inside the OLR with the oscillatory squeeze-flow plates closed
olr030-2Figure 2. Inside the OLR with the oscillatory squeeze-flow plates opened


The OLR can reduce or remove costly waiting times associated with laboratory testing, removing production bottlenecks and increasing effective production capacity. In addition consumer-critical parameters such as mouthfeel can now be monitored on-line so that customer satisfaction with the final product can be better assured during production rather than post production from a taste panel assessment. The OLR will consistently measure the properties that define critical mouthfeel attributes that have been previously evaluated as preferred and important from pilot product tests with taste panels.

In many liquid food formulations, attributes like tack, elasticity, mouth-feel etc arise due to microstructural phenomena that occur over a time scale ranging between a few milliseconds and a few seconds and a length-scale that spans a few microns to a few millimetres. Unfortunately typical process viscometers operate at frequencies much higher than those required to access the information relevant to the attributes of interest.

Therefore, it is often difficult (and sometimes impossible) to correlate the measurements of typical process viscometers to properties that are of interest to the process/production engineer. The OLR however is tuned to frequencies that probe the relevant microstructure and in doing so provides measurements that can be more easily correlated to the attributes of interest. Additionally the software for the OLR, SOLR, allows the process/production engineer to select a range of frequencies (three maximum) and monitor the measurements at these frequencies over the course of the production process – in real-time. Once a signature of a good product is set, the process can be controlled /monitored so that products remain in spec for all subsequent batches.

OLR Series 1000

OLR Series 1000

The OLR Advantages:

  • Fast and reliable real time results
  • Low maintenance
  • Out-of-specification diagnosis
  • Plug-and-play installation
  • Precise and robust sensor system
  • Process control
  • Process monitoring
  • Quality control
  • State of the art technology
  • Time and cost savings

The OLR provides a greater quantity and quality of information compared with most current technologies. The data from the OLR is instantaneous, removing the need for time-consuming laboratory analysis, thereby reducing production costs and bottlenecks incurred from waiting for QC results. The OLR provides an agile response to out-of-specification product and increases the effective production capacity of plant. The OLR is made in Australia and units are available now for purchase.