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Ensuring Ingredient Quality Using NIR Technology: PIA Part II

In Part I, I discussed how the PIA helps soy processors continuously monitor for changes in the quality of extruded soybean meals and other products (solvent soymeal and raw soybeans). In Part II we will answer two frequently asked questions: how should the PIA be implemented as a quality control tool? How is Insta-Pro® International’s PIA is different from other portable NIR tools?

How should the PIA be implemented as a quality control tool?

While the PIA can read close to lab results, it is not recommended as a replacement to a guaranteed analysis from a laboratory. We recommend the PIA is used in conjunction with regular lab testing. The PIA results are an estimate of the sample’s proximate analysis (moisture, fat, protein, and fiber) for both raw soybeans and extruded and pressed (ExPress®) soymeal. Generally, the PIA should fall within 1% of the lab results, although inter-lab variation may account for minor discrepancies between results from different laboratories. When large changes occur in the raw material or the processing (i.e. too much moisture in beans and meal, higher residual oil in meal, too low fiber in beans), there can be adjustments made to the PIA to read values closer to the lab analysis.

How is Insta-Pro® International’s PIA different from other NIR tools?

Included with the initial PIA purchase, Insta-Pro® International has a fully trained service team that provides customer training, on-site visits and check-ups, assists with adjusting the PIA to read samples consistently, and provides full instrument support at no additional cost to the customer. In addition, the PIA is portable, a unique feature for NIR technology, and can be placed in the plant where the machines are running. Since the PIA launch in 2016, we have provided on-site training and support for customers including proper sample preparation and making adjustments to PIA.

Additionally, the use of online videos and instruction manuals are provided for customers and allow for easy instruction on how to use the PIA NIR here. Finally, a meal kit is included with the PIA purchase to guarantee the meal samples are prepared to the correct particle size (700 – 1000 microns). This is an important step to ensure the PIA can read the sample correctly.

What do customers think about Insta-Pro® International’s PIA?

Based on a recent survey, 4 out of 5 customers were very satisfied with the PIA NIR service provided after purchasing the unit. We continue to listen to our customers to provide the best service on all equipment sold by Insta-Pro International®.

Investing in quality control tools will ensure consistent high-quality processing of ExPress® meal. As part of quality control measures, the PIA provides a portable and reliable proximate analysis which can be used to monitor changes in quality.