EMPIR project improves accuracy of industrial humidity measurements

Laboratory heating and drying oven

Air humidity affects quality of pharmaceutical and food products

EMPIR project ‘Metrology for humidity at high temperatures and transient conditions’ (14IND11, HIT) has significantly improved the speed and accuracy of industrial humidity measurements at temperatures up to 180 °C and under transient conditions. Air humidity directly affects the quality of pharmaceutical and food products during both the production and storage processes. The improved measurement and calibration techniques developed will help increase manufacturing efficiency in European industry.

Instruments and techniques developed during the project were demonstrated in the following ways:


  • A new type of laser-based hygrometer was demonstrated in humidity measurements for hazelnut drying and roasting
  • A field humidity calibrator was demonstrated in industrial humidity sensor calibrations for a pharmaceutical company and also a sensor manufacturer
  • Calibrated humidity sensors were successfully demonstrated in dairy manufacturing and biscuit production
  • Traceable water activity measurements were demonstrated in pet-food manufacture and hazelnut drying/roasting
  • The temperature dependence of sorption isotherms and transient water activity were demonstrated in pet-food manufacture and hazelnut drying/roasting

New calibration services for humidity to dew-point temperatures up to 150 °C and for determining sorption isotherms and water activity at temperatures up to 70 °C are already operational. Extension of the calibration range up to 180 °C, as well as applying the dynamic calibration scheme, are being finalised and will soon be released as new calibration services. Continuous discussions of stakeholder needs is ongoing. The consortium is looking for commercialisation channels for the field humidity calibrator. A spin-off request regarding the project developments has been submitted for a partner university.

This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

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