Smell this process quality control

There can't be many people who would mention smell as an important feature of paper. Yet for Enso Paperboards, a Finnish manufacturer of Performa (a paperboard used in food, candy and tobacco applications), controlling sensory properties is crucial because "off" smells could taint customers' products.

09/01/1998


There can't be many people who would mention smell as an important feature of paper. Yet for Enso Paperboards, a Finnish manufacturer of Performa (a paperboard used in food, candy and tobacco applications), controlling sensory properties is crucial because "off" smells could taint customers' products. As a result, quality control at Enso's Imatra Mill will soon include an "electronic nose," a system that mimics biological olfactory capabilities by processing signals from different kinds of sensors. Unlike human senses, its sensors are objective and resist fatigue. "The basic idea is to teach the system the typical odor of each board grade," says Henry Lindell of the Enso Research Center. "After the teaching process, the instrument recognizes samples having different chemical characteristics from teaching material. This quality control system is simpler, and more accurate and efficient. It's a development of an instrument, MDG-1, originally constructed in Finland to help the defense forces detect chemical warfare agents. It was fine tuned during several months' of research to correlate with sensory results by human test panels," Dr. Lindell says. The new system will complement present measurement methods.





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