Freeman Technology has launched the first in its range of 'plug and play' accessories that will automate powder flow testing on the company's FT4 Powder Rheometer, after adding in a shear test function earlier this year.
The FT4 is used in a wide range of manufacturing industries including pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals, ceramics, powder coatings, toners and personal products. Its applications range from optimising new formulations and improving the efficiency of the manufacturing processes to the establishment of quality control criteria for raw materials, intermediates and final product.
At the time of its launch last year, Freeman claimed that the FT4 was the only instrument on the market measuring both axial and rotational force (or torque) to determine flow energies. This hike in data quality, it said, improved the rheometer's role in the formulation of new materials, and allowed users to ensure optimal handling and processing of powders in production runs. Also, it raised quality control standards with follow-on benefits in productivity and quality gains.
The new automated aeration accessory for the FT4 allows the flow properties of powders to be measured at different levels of aeration to determine how flowability depends on the amount of entrained air. Its full automation eliminates the need for operator intervention, thus removing the major source of measurement variation and error, according to the company.
This important advance has been made possible by the recent development at Freeman of a universal control card that provides an interface between the instrument, the accessory and the user.
This has allowed users of the FT4 to add a series of accessories that streamline powder assessment. Freeman recently added fully automated shear testing capabilities to the FT4, broadening its applications.
The shear cell allows users to accurately and reproducibly assess powders in terms of shear strength, providing information that is additional and complementary to the dynamic flowability data generated in a standard FT4 measurement.