Tulip International's cooked meats division is one of the largest producers of pre-packed bacon in the UK.
Some of the output is vacuum packed, but the majority is packed in rigid, modified atmosphere packages because the product looks more attractive and is easier to display and store.
With the automatic slicing and packing equipment producing a 200 gram, modified atmosphere package every two seconds, it is essential that the nitrogen and carbon dioxide atmosphere in the packs is maintained within specification at less than 0.3% oxygen.
To ensure that all production is within specification, between three and eight modified atmosphere packs, depending on pack size, are tested at start up and then every hour using Systech Illinois gaspace headspace gas analyzers. If the oxygen content of the gas mix atmosphere is out of specification, the whole of the previous hour's production has to be repacked.
Tulip International's Quality Auditor says,
"Systech Illinois’ gaspace headspace gas analyzer is the ideal instrument for the job as the test is simply a matter of inserting the probe into the pack and pressing a button. The result, shown in less than five seconds on the LED display, gives the percentage of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen and needs no interpretation. It's either in spec or it's not."
Tulip International cannot afford to take chances with quality and according to their Senior Technical Manager, the six Systech Illinois gaspace headspace gas analysis instruments are a vital part of the company's quality assurance regime.