MOCON is introducing film cells as optional add-ons to its recently launched cost-effective OpTech™ – O2 Platinum analyzer.

The additional capability sets the performance bar even higher for the unit, which uses platinum fluorescent material to measure oxygen (O2) transmission rates. Coupled with state-of–the-art electronics, OpTech provides significant advantages over other O2 fluorescent-based analyzers.

This capability makes MOCON instrumentation the first to accurately measure perforated flexible packaging structures, as well as high-barrier alternatives. (Micro-perforated materials have become more prevalent recently, particularly for fresh vegetable applications which need to respirate for optimum shelf life.)

The optional film cells come in two sizes — 50cm² (12cc) and 100cm² (500cc). The cell’s sensor responds to the concentration of oxygen. As such, the smaller cell accommodates high barrier structures and the larger cell is ideal for perforated materials. Typical applications for these flexible packaging structures include food, pharmaceutical and medical disposables where barrier and other key performance attributes are critical to reaching shelf life goals.

When testing flexible materials, the structure is placed on the lower half of the two-piece nickel-plated aluminum cell, which contains the platinum sensor. The top piece is clamped down via a thumb screw. The test cell is then flushed to a low level of oxygen. Next, the cell is sealed off and the oxygen permeating the test film is then accumulated and monitored automatically by the sensor.

The platinum sensor will ‘fluoresce’ or give off light in an amount that is directly proportional to the amount of oxygen present to determine the film’s transmission rate. This fluorescence is read by the unit’s ‘detector’, making it ideal for non-destructive permeation analysis, headspace and dissolved oxygen analysis as well as leak determination in flexible and rigid packaging.

“This breakthrough technology, coupled with the instrument’s design, will have a dramatic impact on how companies conduct oxygen analysis,” explains Doug Lindemann, vice president, MOCON. “The OpTech – O2 Platinum offers a very complementary method of oxygen analysis to MOCON permeation, headspace and leak detection systems. It allows the user to evaluate what is happening to a final package under real-life conditions.”

One of the major advantages of the OpTech – O2 Platinum over similar systems is its ability to measure oxygen down to ten parts per million (ppm) making it significantly more useful for permeation analysis. In addition, the system has an increased range from 0.001% to 25% O2.

Functionally, the platinum material is very stable over a long period of time, is not sensitive to ambient light and is less temperature-sensitive than other chemistries, increasing the accuracy of the reading.

The OpTech – O2 Platinum also features enhanced usability. The optical reader employs a visible light to read the platinum fluorescence and allows for greater ‘non-contact’ readability (up to a distance of 15mm), resulting in superior performance.

The OpTech – O2 Platinum is an ideal multi-purpose O2 analyzer for a variety of beverage, biopharmaceutical and food products.