NIR technology: as easy as using a printer
NIR technology, chemometrics, spectroscopy… When you hear them for the first time, they sound scary, but these rather bombastic terms define a technique and procedures that are much simpler than they seem, since they have been created, as with the natural evolution of technology, to make our lives easier.
Do you remember when supermarkets started to put automatic checkouts and everyone had to scan their product? At first, more than one found it complicated, but after a few brief instructions, anyone can do it on their own. It was the same when we started using printers, document scanners or kitchen robots.
This is also the case with NIR technology for food quality control. The aim is to democratise and promote its use to make quality control cheaper and faster and to prevent fraud and food safety failures. Not all companies can afford to have their own laboratories, and using external laboratories is costly in terms of time and money. Implementing simple and effective in-house quality control is the solution.
What is it about?
In NIR technology, the sample, which can be powder, solid, gel or liquid, is irradiated with a near-infrared light source to identify its composition and determine its characteristics, such as the percentage of protein, moisture, fat or others. The spectrum or result of the analysis is loaded into the device and leaves a ‘fingerprint’ of that product, which is compared with previously defined libraries for that specific product from previous analyses. The main difference between NIR solutions already available on the market and Chemometric Brain is that Chemometric Brain is the only software in the cloud, allowing any food company to consolidate all NIR spectra from multiple devices and multiple equipment manufacturers in one place.
Who can do it?
Any technician or operator in an agri-food company with a minimum training can carry out this analysis, avoiding human error and implementing a fully replicable quality control system.
By contracting a license to use Chemometric Brain’s NIR software, several training sessions are offered to technicians of the quality department. In just 6 hours, the basic technical knowledge and skills required to use NIR equipment and implement the quality control software are acquired. More advanced chemometrics training is available for those who need to explore advanced solutions.
What if my company does not have NIR equipment?
If you do not already have NIR equipment, Chemometric Brain’s technicians will analyse your needs and opportunities for improvement in quality control and advise you on which type of device to choose. In many cases, a portable device may be enough to meet the company’s needs, without having to purchase a desktop device with the full near infrared spectrum, which is much more expensive.
What are the results?
In just a few seconds, this software allows you to analyse all types of powder, solid, gel and liquid samples; it identifies them and compares them consistently with other samples. The spectra or analysis results are displayed in graphical form, in a very visual and intuitive way. The control zone is marked in green and inside it, the compliant samples are identified. Those with alterations are shown outside the safety zone or further away from the centre.
All the results are stored in the cloud, allowing the spectra from different devices and different production centres to be consolidated in a single place, so that they can be consulted and used by anyone at any time.