The cultivation, production and processing of tobacco is a labor and resource intensive process where consistency and quality are of paramount importance.
Traditionally farmers are paid per weight of the leaves at a specific moisture, based on contract growing and quality parameters. Consistent harvesting and drying ensures a quality product and maximum profits from the raw leaves.
At the processor, incoming tobacco leaf can be analyzed for moisture, total sugar, reducing sugar, nicotine, nitrates, and more for grading in order to pay farmers and for separating and binning the leaf. Monitoring the qualtiy of the incoming product gives the tobacco processor important information that helps optimize the use of the materials and the processing parameters.
In-process and finished tobacco can be analyzed for moisture, total sugar, reducing sugar, nicotine, menthol, flavoring, and many other properties. This information can be used as inputs for process control to ensure that the final product is consistent and meeting labeled and regulatory guidelines. Timely information and the ability to quickly adjust the process can mean large savings and less reject or rework production to the tobacco processor.
NIR analysis has long been used in the tobacco industry to analyze incoming tobacco leaf, in-process product, and finished product. At-line NIR analyzers can supply accurate moisture, total sugar, reducing sugar, nicotine, menthol, flavoring, and many other properties at any stage of the process in 30 seconds. This information will lead to more efficient production, more consistent products and higher profits.