A volumetric Karl Fischer titrator supplied by Mettler Toledo has been helping Ricola AG maintain the high quality of their famous herbal drops for the last 20 years.
The water content of Ricola herbal drops made from Swiss mountain herbs, which needs to be carefully controlled during the entire production chain, is monitored using the volumeter from Mettler Toledo.
Ricola’s herbal drops are formulated for people with sore or dry throats. The traditional family business also offers a wide range of products from herbal teas to sugar-free herbal pearls in numerous flavours and packages. The entire Ricola herbal assortment is produced in Switzerland with around 90% of the products being exported to over 50 countries worldwide.
The herbs in Ricola drops and lozenges are grown in the Swiss mountain area in controlled, natural conditions without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or artificial fertilisers. An important parameter of the quality management is the water content of the raw materials and the drops themselves.
Rising water content, which can even be caused by surrounding humidity can impact production processes. Water content monitoring is therefore, not only crucial during product development but also required as a control parameter for process and storage stability.
The first challenge in water determination is to release the water from the material matrix. For Ricola's samples, the best option is to use a solvent mixture of formamid and methanol, ideally at 50ºC to enhance and speed up sample dissolution.
Karl Fischer volumetric titrators with a thermostatic beaker from Mettler Toledo are used to achieve this task. By using the solvent manager, toxic formamid can be pumped automatically into the titration cell and into a waste bottle after use, avoiding direct contact with dangerous solutions.
Mettler Toledo’s volumeter has been in use at Ricola since 1989 and was recently replaced by two new V30s for the production site and distribution centre. Already validated, the instruments are used daily by a team of laboratory technicians.
New features in the volumeters from Mettler Toledo include touchscreen operation for convenience and ease of use.