As most of you know, last week marked the last day for our long-time Service Manager, Paul. After 22 years with Environics, he is moving and starting a new chapter in his life. We will all miss him and wish him the very best!
With service on our minds, I bring to you today a few of the more commonly asked questions from our customers. If you have a question, you can always reach us via our website, email or by phone.
My system locked up. What should I do?
I replaced the system batteries and now I see odd characters on the screen. Help!
In both of these cases, the system needs to be reinitialized to factory settings using the system configuration data provided with the system. Tech Bulletin 104 outlines how to proceed. If you've misplaced your system's data, you can request a copy online.
I'm not getting flow but I can hear the solenoids clicking on. What should I do?
The instrument's configuration data may be corrupted. Tech Bulletin 107 will walk you through how to confirm the calibration data is in error and show you how to restore it.
SERIES 6100 OR 9100
I want to recalibrate my ozone generator. What should I do?
If you are interested in doing this calibration and have the necessary equipment, Tech Bulletin 106 (9100) and Tech Bulletin 114 (6100) will guide you step by step through the process. Be sure to read through all of the notes on preparing the system prior to calibration.
Just for fun, here is a look at an ad from 1988, when Environics was just 2 years old. It features our discontinued Series 200, which was replaced by our Series 2000 and Series 4000 gas mixers.
An interesting article was recently published which examined the acceptance of meat packaged with Modified Atmosphere Packaging by consumers (Source: Journal of Food Protection Number 1, January 2013, pp. 4-183 , pp. 99-107(9)).
Modification of the packaged atmosphere attempts to lower the oxygen level and increase the carbon dioxide level to slow bacterial growth and the respiration of fruits and vegetables. Carbon monoxide may also be introduced to keep the red color of fresh meats by binding to the hemoglobin. The atmosphere can be introduced to the package by flushing or by exposure through a permeable membrane (EMAP).
There is no direct risk to consumers based on the use of MAP or EMAP. In recent years, there has been debate regarding the use of carbon monoxide (CO) in the packaging of red meat. While no risk was found in the use of low levels of CO, the fact that CO maintains the color of the meat and can, in that way, hide visual evidence of spoilage was raised. The European Food Information Council (EFIC) released a report in 2004 reviewing the data. The report is available here.
The study in the Journal of Food Protection examined how the perceptions and observation of MAP packaged meat quality (primarily shelf life and color) are the prime influencer on purchasing. These also impact the price consumers are willing to pay for these qualities.
In this study, they attempted to determined the premiums that the test customers were willing to pay for the "cherry red" color and extended shelf life resulting from MAP with CO introduced. The full methods and results can be obtained here. In brief, researchers found customers who understood the technology preferred the longer shelf life and brighter red color. They were willing to pay a premium of $0.16 a pound for these features. Looking closer, when customers had further information on the MAP process and the use of CO the willingness to pay this premium was diminished, although it was still elevated. Researchers attributed this decrease to uncertainty and some distrust towards the science involved and its safety/reliability.
For meat packaging companies considering using MAP, this research lends additional support to the investment into the needed equipment and training.
From time to time, we like to showcase the research of our customers. Our team is always interested in learning more about the huge variety of research projects and discoveries made in labs using Environics systems.
Recently, we received a note from Ying Wang at the University of Connecticut on a research project utilizing an Environics 4000 gas mixing system. Ying is a member of Dr. Yu Lei's lab in the department of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering. The lab has two main areas of study. First is the development of various (bio)sensors, whose uses range from the diagnosis, drug discovery, screening and food safety, and pollutant monitoring. Recent work has also involved the detection of biological and chemical agents. The second focus is the synthesis of nanostructured materials and their application, with the goal of developing new nanomaterials that can be applied to the fields of sensing and biosensing.
A recent paper published in RSC advances, the researchers utilized their Environics system in the fabrication and testing of a sensor device which featured a aligned CuO nanowires capable of H2S detection. Sensitivity was examined under a variety of conditions, including levels between 10 to 1000 ppb and temperatures from 25 to 420 °C. The CuO nanowire sensor showed a detection limit of 2.5 ppb and a linear response range of 10 ppb to 100 ppb.
Have an interesting project using your Environics system? Share it with us and you may be the included in our next focus!
(image source: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2012/RA/c2ra00718e)
Every year, we ask our customers for their feedback throughout the year as well as on our annual Continuous Improvement Survey. We take this input very seriously, discussing the thoughts and suggestions and, when possible, implementing the requests that are made. One recurring suggestion was the availability of a Service Agreement for Recalibration of our systems. (You can learn more about our Calibration Services here.)
After many internal discussions, we are proud to announce the availability of Service Agreements on both new and existing systems. By having a Service Agreement with us, you will save both time and money. We are happy to help customize your agreement to fit your needs.
The benefits of signing a Service Agreement are:
You will lock in the current recalibration cost for the length of your agreement.
Your system will be given priority status when it arrives for recalibration. This means less downtime for you!
Your will receive a 5% discount on your recalibration cost by prepaying a One-Year Agreement or by signing a Two to Five Year Service Agreement (prepayment not required). This discount is on top of the savings you receive by locking in the current recalibration rates.
To learn more or to request a Service Agreement for an existing system, please contact us at (860) 872-1111 or complete an online request.
Thermal Mass Flow Controllers,
This is an nice review of the history of meat packaging using modified atmosphere packaging in recent years. Specifically, it reviews the shift to pre-packed vs on site packaged meats. If you are interested in cost-effective gas mixing systems for use in packaging, check out our gas mixers.
modified atmosphere packaging
A recent study, published in TResearch, the Teagasc research and innovation magazine, examined the effect of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) on the bioactives in carrots.
Bioactives refer to natural compounds found in foods that reduce the risk of one or more diseases. Carrots are rich in polyacetylenes that have been correlated to a reduced risk of certain cancers and a variety of other diseases. The compound Falcarinol has been identified as the most active polyacetylene in carrots in terms of its effect on cancer cells in research studies. Dr. Juan Valverde and colleagues focused on a variety of polyacetylenes in carrots that had undergone MAP versus those that had not. MAP is a common way of packaging carrots “sticks” and “chips” for sale.
In their study, two different gas blends were used. Gas 1 consisted of 5% CO2, 5% O2 and 90% N2 while Gas 2 contained 10% CO2, 80% O2 and 10% N2. In addition, each gas blend was used with both polyester -polyethylene and a polyamide-based
breathable material in order to evaluate the effect of the packaging itself. All samples were stored at 4°C for six day with polyacetylene levels determined at days zero, three and six.
The results of the study were clear. Modified Atmosphere Packaging did not diminish the level of any of the three major polyacetylenes found in carrots when compared to the controls.
To read the full article, click here (pdf, page 20).
modified atmosphere packaging
Investing money in an important piece of equipment is often a difficult decision. When is the best time to buy?
Well, thanks to the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 signed by President Obama in September 2010 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 signed in December 2010, this might just be your year!! The government is offering companies tax breaks on equipment purchases which give you the option of writing off all equipment spending in 2011. Here are some details on the laws.
The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, Section 179 was changed to raise the Section 179 deduction from $250,000 to $500,000 for both 2010 and 2011. It also allows a 50 percent bonus depreciation for the 2010 tax year. Normally, you are required to use the normal depreciation schedule and spread out the expense over a number of years.
Looking at the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, the government added a 100 percent bonus depreciation with no limits for new assets purchased and installed for use between Sept. 8, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2011. That means you can write off the full cost of new equipment spending during the period, with no cap.
So, is this the right move for you? You should consult your accountant on whether it is better for you to take advantage of the Section 179 deduction or the bonus depreciation. For some, it may be better to follow the usual depreciation schedule versus taking the entire write-off upfront. This is especially true if business is slower and you are not generating huge profits. Doing so would let you spread the deductions over future, more profitable years.
For more information:
zero air generator,