The Monitor

Production Process Insights

Ask Sentry: What are ISOLOK Samplers?

Posted by Sentry Equipment on 7/22/21 8:00 AM


Automatic representative sampling is the act of capturing a limited volume of material from a process stream that accurately reflects the characteristics of the entire lot, batch or process stream. Most material within a production environment can be sampled and then analyzed for product quality and process monitoring. 

Representative sampling combines safety, simplicity and accuracy to deliver benefits unmatched by other sampling methods:

  • Reliable and accurate analysis results
  • Reduced waste and downtime
  • Less overhead costs
  • Protect operators and the environment
  • Product quality and regulatory compliance

The Monitor sat down with Regional Sales Manager, Israel Gamboa, to discuss how food and beverage manufacturing plants can use ISOLOK automatic samplers for a truly representative sampling program.

The Monitor (TM): What challenges do companies face when not using automatic sampling?

Israel Gamboa (IG): Many manufacturers use grab samples, such as bucket and spigot collection or bin scooping, for their sampling program. But this type of manual grab sampling only reflects the process stream the moment the sample was collected.

Depending on the sample's characteristics, this grab sample might not be suitable for analysis due to segregation or separation. It also can be dangerous for operators, especially if the process stream is hot. Plus, there are human errors that create uncertainty in the sample analysis results.


TM: How do ISOLOK samplers support automatic sampling?

IG: ISOLOK sampling technology is excellent for companies that need to automate their sampling processes with minimal interruptions.

ISOLOK sampling equipment isolates the operator from the process at all times, while the sample in the container is locked out from external influences. This ensures safe and accurate representative sampling.


TM: What does ISOLOK mean?

IG: ISOLOK is a fusion of two words. ISO because you're isolating the sample from the process. And LOK because you're locking out the process from being directly exposed to the operator.


TM: How does an ISOLOK sampler collect a composite sample?

IG: An ISOLOK sampler takes small samples from the process every few seconds at regular intervals over a set period. The material being sampled is collected into a container for analysis in a laboratory. Or the sample is conditioned and sent directly to an analyzer. After an eight-hour shift, those samples can be analyzed with the assurance they are representative of the process in those eight hours.


TM: Why is composite sampling necessary?

IG: Composite sampling gives a holistic view of what a shift produced instead of a small glimpse into a single point in time. With manual grab sampling, the labor costs can be high, and there's a risk of errors in the samples.

Replacing manual sampling with automatic sampling saves labor costs while improving product quality because automatic samplers always take a consistent, repeatable sample. For example, suppose a customer needs to collect a gallon of a sample over an eight-hour shift. In that case, that can be done automatically with an ISOLOK sampler versus a person walking around collecting samples every 10 minutes.


TM: What are the advantages of using ISOLOK samplers?

IG: Implementing ISOLOK samplers has two main benefits: Long-term cost savings and higher quality ingredients and finished products.

For example, in the dairy industry, quality checks with at custody transfers are crucial to ensure the milk from the farm has the right amount of butterfat. If they're using a manual sample – like dipping a ladle into the tanker – that single scoop isn't representative of the entire tanker. If that ladle has the appropriate amount of butterfat in it, but the rest of the tanker doesn't, it can create many challenges in the production process.

Automatic sampling ensures a representative sample because it takes small samples as the entire tanker is unloaded. Then the lab can accurately report how much butterfat is in the whole tanker to ensure the manufacturer got what they paid for and reduce the risk of production disruptions.

Another example is sampling in the nut butter industry, where producers use automatic sampling to ensure the end product is healthy and safe for consumers.

Whether your application requires an ISOLOK automatic sampler or another type of sampler, we can help you identify the best sampling solution for your needs to ensure the industry's highest quality food and beverage products.

Contact us at +1-262-567-7256, or complete our online contact form for more information.

Automatic Sampling: Why It's Essential for Food & Beverages

Topics: Food & Beverage, Solids & Powder, Liquid & Slurry

Written by Sentry Equipment

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With proven sampling expertise since 1924, Sentry products and services provide business operations the critical insights to optimize process control and product quality. We deliver true representative sampling and analysis techniques to customers around the globe, empowering them to accurately monitor and measure processes for improved production efficiency, output and safety. Standing behind our commitments, we are determined to tackle any application, anywhere.