How to Ensure Quality Control with CO2 Analytical SupportWritten by Leanne Merz
Calibration standards, performance audits, and FDA's never-ending safety, labeling, and inspection requirements are just tip of iceberg when it comes to dealing with increasingly stringent quality control standards of beverage industry. As these quality standards become stricter, beverage producers are increasingly called upon to get products to market faster using fewer resources, while simultaneously managing ingredient quality, and ultimately, risk.
Mix rigorous regulations and mounting market challenges with exploding competition and opportunity for enormous economic reward, and it becomes obvious that products must be perfect first time around to fulfill production requirements, comply with distribution standards, and ultimately provide each consumer with exact same exceptional product every time.
All of which makes quality control more necessary than ever.
Quality Assurance in beverage industry starts by ensuring that top quality gases are used to perform carbonation process and continues through bottling and distributing process with a high-tech quality control examination.
On top of list of gases regulated in world of drink is carbon dioxide (CO2), one of main components of many of beverages produced today, including soda, beer, sparkling water, and sports drinks. CO2 has also become a major constituent of orange juice through supercritical CO2 processing during pasteurization and has even entered world of dairy with addition of "Refreshing Power Milk," a new carbonated milk hybrid, to refreshments market.
Leading beverage manufacturers in this $700 billion industry are taking critical step to ensure purity of beverage-grade CO2 by using analytical support gases and quality assurance services. Since ensuring purity of CO2 is such a crucial factor in beverage production process, choosing a specialty gas company to provide purification, calibration, and cross-reference services for your products should be a priority.
Keep in mind that specialty gas companies outside of beverage industry hold a uniquely favorable position as authoritative and neutral third-party qualifiers. These companies provide experience in developing trace contaminant calibration standards as well as independence from supply and certification of beverage grade CO2, which helps to ensure unbiased statistical and graphical reporting.
Regardless of industry from which service company originates, it is vital that it provides specialized service in CO2 industry and adheres to industry standards on commercial quality with regard to CO2.
Some more guidelines to consider when choosing a Quality Control Specialty Gas Service:
How Specialty Gases Differ from Industrial Gases Written by Bob Davis
When it comes to compressed gases, there is often confusion over difference between industrial gases (sometimes referred to as commodity or bulk gases) and specialty gases (sometimes referred to as cylinder gases, although industrial gases can also be supplied in cylinders). The Compressed Gas Association (CGA), who sets standards to which suppliers of all types of compressed gases conform, defines its mission as being “dedicated to development and promotion of safety standards and safe practices in industrial gas industry.” In a broad sense, in that most compressed gases are used for some sort of industrial application, all could be considered to be industrial gases. So to define true difference between industrial gases and specialty gases, one must look beyond application to other factors such as complexity, level of purity and certainty of composition.
According to CGA compressed gases are often grouped into five loosely defined families: atmospheric; fuel; refrigerant; poisonous; and those having no obvious ties to any of other families. Assignment to these families is somewhat arbitrary and typically based on origin, use or chemical structure of a gas. Specialty gases can belong to any of these five families. Essentially, they are industrial gases taken to a higher level. The dictionary describes one of definitions of word specialty as: an unusual, distinctive, or superior mark or quality. Specialty gases then, can be defined as high-quality gases for specific applications that are prepared using laboratory analysis and other preparation methods in order to quantify, minimize or eliminate unknown or undesirable characteristics within gas. Regarding specialty gas mixtures, precise blending is also necessary to achieve very specific concentration values for components contained within mixture.
Specialty pure gases Pure gases are considered to be specialty gases when they are used as support gases for laboratory instruments such as chromatographs, mass spectrometers and other various types of analyzers and detectors. Manufacturers of these types of highly sensitive instruments normally specify purity level of pure gases to be used with their instruments. For example, high-purity, moisture-free helium is often used as a carrier gas in these instruments. When unwanted impurities are present, performance of a laboratory instrument may be compromised, or instrument itself may be damaged. A good rule of thumb is, when purity (sometimes as high as 99.9999%) and/or quantification of trace impurities is an issue, a pure gas is considered to be a specialty pure. Specialty pure gases are used in manufacturing of semiconductors and other closely controlled applications as well. They may also be used to assess and monitor integrity of a bulk pure gas. Carbon dioxide is a good example. Beverage-quality CO2, as used in manufacture of soft drinks, can be classified as being more of a bulk-type gas because it is used in large quantities. However, because purity is a health concern, a specialty pure CO2, in which all trace impurities have been carefully quantified, is needed to calibrate instruments used to monitor purity of bulk CO2.
Specialty gas mixtures Many specialty gases are actually gas mixtures that contain individual components. They are frequently used with various types of analyzers for process control and regulatory compliance. Some specialty mixtures are somewhat “standard” and may contain only three or four components, such as nitric oxide and sulfur dioxide mixtures that are used by utility companies to calibrate Continuous Emissions Monitors (CEMs). Others may be quite complex, containing as many as 30 or more components. Usually, a specialty gas mixture is prepared using a Standard Reference Material (SRM) in order to validate accurate measurement of mixture’s components. This provides what is known as traceability to a known measurement standard from a recognized metrology institution such as National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Specialty mixtures typically have components measured in percentages, parts-per-million and parts-per-billion.