Frequently Asked Questions

 

General Questions

What kinds of products can your moisture meters measure (e.g., size, shape, color, material)?

We can measure moisture content of all types of products, including foods, chemicals, aggregates, papers, boards, and many others—that is, any product where moisture would have some effect on quality, whether it be taste, shelf life, texture, weight, density, etc. Also see: Aircraft Maintenance, Agriculture & Food Processing, Concrete, Gypsum Wallboard/Plaster, Lumber/Wood Products, Paint & Coatings, Pest Control, Pharmaceuticals & Chemicals, Plastics & Composites, Powder-Bulk Solids, Pulp, Paper & Paper Converting, Textiles.

How do we know the right moisture meter to choose?

Finna Group would be pleased to help you with your selection. Simply use the Contact feature on this site to talk with one of our sales professionals.

What information do you need to understand our application?

We need to know the product, its moisture range (%), moisture target, color, shape, size, method of conveyance, temperature, and whether you wish to measure online, in the laboratory, or via handheld moisture instrument.

How many samples should we send for testing an application?

We require at least two samples, preferably three, at different moisture levels that represent your range of interest. For example, if your product moisture levels are from 0-10%, we would need at least two samples, one on the dry end of your range of interest and one on the wet end. The samples should be packaged such that the moisture does not change during transport. The quantity needed is dependent on the type of moisture technology desired. IR measurements require only a few grams of sample at each moisture level, whereas RF measurements may require several pounds.

Will you come onsite and work with us on our application?

We have many representatives across the USA and in foreign countries whose job it is to do just that. Please use the Contact page to learn more.

Can we send a moisture meter back to you for calibration?

We offer calibration checks on all of our moisture analyzers. Certificates of compliance are always available if needed. Also, full laboratory services are offered in-house for system calibration using recommended procedures from ASTM, TAPPI, AOAC, or other appropriate testing agencies.

How long have you been in business?

The oldest piece of the business, formerly known as Moisture Register Company, was started as a small family-owned operation in 1933. The first moisture instruments introduced the non-destructive RF power loss measurement method to the lumber industry. Over the years, new technologies such as RF and Near Infrared have been incorporated into our moisture analysis instrumentation. (See About)

Where are you located?

Finna Group has three office locations. Our corporate headquarters are located just outside Denver, Colorado. That office oversees general operation of the business and mainly handles United States SCS Forest Products business as well as manufacturing SCSFP products. Our office in Fort St. James in BC, Canada oversees Canadian and International SCS Forest Products business. Lastly, our office in Rancho Cucamonga, California handles sales, service and manufacturing of all our handheld and on-line moisture meters.

Are your moisture meters manufactured in the USA?

All of the former AquaMeasure/Moisture Register meters have been manufactured in the United States for more than 80 years. SCSFP products are manufactured in both the United States and Canada.

What does “ruggedly-built” moisture meters mean?

More than eighty years of satisfying customer needs have exposed us to almost every dusty, dirty, damp, high-temperature, or other harsh environment that an instrument manufacturer could ever experience. Over the years, our meters have been designed, modified, and re-designed to meet these stringent requirements.

 

Technical Questions

When should you use the RF moisture reading technology (as opposed to NIR or microwave)?

Radio frequency is a non-destructive, penetrating technology. It is therefore very useful for thick or unevenly dried materials in which moisture distribution is not uniform—for example, when the product is wetter/dryer in the center than on the outside. Examples would include large dog biscuits, gypsum wallboard, rolls of paper, cookies or crackers, or dough. Flat plate RF sensors are ideal for wood product such as veneer, plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), raw or kiln dried lumber, etc. Gypsum wallboard has long been an RF sensor moisture measurement staple.

When should you use the NIR moisture reading technology (as opposed to RF or microwave)?

Near infrared is very useful for products that are powders, granular, chips, chunks, flakes, sheets, webs, films, coated materials, or are otherwise fairly thin and homogenous in moisture distribution. About 90% of our on-line moisture instrumentation is supplied using IR technology. A great majority of our on-line moisture instrumentation is supplied using NIR technology.

How do you calibrate a moisture meter?

All non-destructive moisture meters are classified as ”secondary” moisture analysis systems, meaning they do not affect the product in any way (they don’t use heat or chemicals, for example). Thus, they must be calibrated using an officially recognized testing device. These testing devices are specified by an official industry agency such as ASTM, TAPPI, USDA, and AOAC. The agencies publish manuals specifying the official test methods for measuring moisture in the products that they oversee. Typically, these official test devices are ovens of the convection, forced air, or vacuum types. A sample of a specified size is weighed, dried at a particular temperature for a specified time, then cooled and re-weighed to determine weight loss. This weight loss is the moisture content that was driven off the sample at elevated temperatures. The weight loss is divided by the original weight to determine moisture content on a percentage basis. Obviously this testing and sample-handling process takes a considerable length of time and supplies answers too late to be useful in the production process. By contrast, Finna Group supplies online, real-time moisture analyzers that give instantaneous moisture results—precise answers that are immediately useful for production decisions. To save even more time, we can pre-calibrate our meters using samples that you supply to our laboratory.

How do you analyze moisture on a conveyor belt, vibratory or screw conveyor, or pneumatically conveyed product?

Our IR sensor is like a large flashlight that shines a beam onto the product surface about 1 inch in diameter. The IR sensor is typically mounted about 9 inches above the product as it moves along on a conveyor belt or vibratory conveyor. If the manufacturing facility does not use conveyor belts or vibratory conveyors, screw conveyors are often used. To mount our IR sensor over a screw conveyor, a 4-inch hole is cut into the conveyor cover, and the sensor is mounted 9 inches above the product flow about halfway between the center shaft and one of the outside conveyor walls. If there are significant product flow rate changes inside the screw, we sometimes remove about 3 inches of the flight off the center shaft so that a bit of a mounding action is formed under the IR sensor. The product will still move nicely through the screw, but the sensor will now be able to see only product without the screw flight passing through the IR light beam. If the production facility used only pneumatic (air-powered) conveying systems, our patented Opto-Port (OP) sample collection device is often the right choice. The OP system traps a sample on the end of a quartz window inside a drop pipe or under a rotary airlock valve, measures the moisture in the sample, then removes that sample with an air blast so that a new sample can be collected and measured. A new sample is measured about every 5 seconds. The OP uses no moving parts and is sealed within the conveying system.

What is non-destructive moisture analysis?

As mentioned earlier, our meters are “secondary” moisture analyzers because they do not heat or chemically treat the measured product. Infrared energy causes a resonance of water molecules, and moisture content can be determined based upon the amount of energy used to cause the resonance. The product is therefore not harmed in any way.

Radio frequency moisture meters measure a basic physical property of the material, its dielectric constant. Water has a dielectric constant of about 80, as compared to a dielectric measurement of about 3-5 for most dry materials. Any water addition will increase the combination dielectric constant, showing up on measurement as an increase in moisture content. Again, this dielectric measurement will not affect the product in any way and is therefore a nondestructive measurement.

What is your product warranty?

All Finna Group sensors have a one year parts and labor warranty.