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View some recent stories about how the world of texture analysis is constantly developing in industry...

Many faces of texture analysis


Out of the top 100 food and beverage companies in the world by sales, 71 are Stable Micro Systems Texture Analyser users*.

There must be a reason for this! In fact there are quite a few. Visit to find out more.


*Incidentally, of those top 100 companies, 18 are solely manufacturers of drinks, and therefore unlikely to be involved in Texture Analysis testing.


Gel compression test



More New Patents That Utilise The TA.XTPlus Texture Analyser

The TA.XTplus Texture Analyser is frequently listed in interesting new patents such as the three listed here:

Inventors in Virginia (USA) have recently filed a patent entitled 'Jellyfish-inspired tilt sensor and artificial mesoglea' which uses a Texture Analyser for physical property measurement.

Components of an unmanned undersea vehicle are inspired by jellyfish that uses its flexible body and tilt sensing to achieve efficient swimming and turning. A tilt sensor, based on a statocyst, has a metal ball in a chamber lined with resistors. The tilt is sensed in accordance with which resistors are contacted by the ball.

A composition of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel with dispersed ferritin particles mimics the qualities of a jellyfish's mesoglea. The compression strength of the artificial mesoglea is an important metric of suitability to task. PVA and PVA-ferritin hydrogels were compressed to achieve a deformation of 50% of the specimen thickness. The number 50% was chosen because naturally occurring Aurelia aurita has a maximum compressive deformation which does not exceed 50%.

Compressive forces were applied twice to condition the specimen and readings were taken during the third applied compressive force. Compression platens were sufficiently larger than all specimens to ensure no material exceeded the perimeter of the platens during compression.

Additionally, 400 grit waterproof sandpaper was placed on the top and bottom surfaces of the compression platens to minimise specimen slippage during compression. For comparison, the compression strength and stiffness values of natural mesoglea was tested using the Texture Analyser.

Read more at:

Puratos have been using their Texture Analyser in a recent patent: 'Room-temperature storable cheesecake filling'.

Preferably, the cheesecake filling of the invention has a texture (parameter) comprised between 15 g and 200g, preferably between 50 g and 120 g.

In the context of the present invention, this texture parameter consists in the force (g) needed to insert a probe in the form of a cylinder of 2.5 cm diameter and 3.5 cm height in a distance of one centimetre of the cheesecake filling (sample) at a speed of 2 mm/sec.

Read more at:

Nestle have been using their TA.XTplus Texture Analyser to develop a new composition suitable for use as an animal litter.

In contrast to traditional clay-based litters, natural litters are biodegradable, lightweight, and create relatively little dust when used. However, natural litters typically have poor clumping strength and little odour control. Wood-based litters have desirable organoleptic properties after use but often have poor clumping strength when wetted by urine or other animal waste.

Grain-based litters often form strong clumps but do not have desirable organoleptic properties after use, e.g. have less than desirable appearance and aroma. 

Generally, all these litters function for their intended purpose, e.g., managing animal urine and faeces. Further, the litters may, in some circumstances, be used for other purposes, e.g. absorbing environmental contaminants or treating waste water.

However, as stated, these litters often do not have desirable organoleptic properties after use, e.g. an appealing aroma and visual appearance. Therefore, there is a need for new compositions useful as animal litters that have enhanced organoleptic properties after the compositions have been used. 

After 24 hours of wetting, the clumps were tested by a Texture Analyser using a 3 point bend test and recording the maximum force before break to describe the strength of each clump.

Read more:

Polymer testing results


A new polymer generation offering truly multifunctional performance has been developed by BASF of Germany.

After decades of progress in hair styling polymers, there is still room for improvement.

Many generations of polymers have been developed over the years, starting from the first synthetic styling polymer Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) in the 1950s – based upon a patent from W. Reppe.

Today's styling formulations are further optimised by the use of polymer combinations. This is especially true for styling gel and wax formulations. Combinations of styling polymers and polymeric thickeners are used to achieve the right balance of rheology profile, setting performance and humidity resistance, without sacrificing sensory properties, e.g. peaking, gel structure and clarity.

Many of those formulations still contain PVP-based polymers, acrylic-based polymers and Carbomer-based thickeners. Formulations with the new multifunctional performance polymer offer an opportunity to go the opposite way, reducing the complexity of styling gel and wax formulations by the use of only one polymer.

This polymer also has the potential to be used in combination with non-ionic, cationic and anionic polymers, to give the formulator the necessary flexibility to develop variants for differentiation of styling performance and level of hold.

Read the article: click here

For details of Stable Micro Systems' testing equipment for hair and hair products, click here

The Cake Freshness Lab

The Puratos cake freshness
testing lab

Perfecting the science of putting time and freshness on your side! Cake science is allowing major progress in extending the freshness and shelf life of packed cakes.

Certain manufacturers are taking full advantage of this progress. What do they know that allows their cakes to retain freshness long after other cakes have staled?

The Cake Freshness Lab shares with you the secrets of more and longer freshness for all packed cakes.

Delivering freshness solutions that help you increase consumer satisfaction and the profitability of your cakes is one of the most important things that Puratos does. Behind their freshness commitment, you'll find one of most accomplished teams of food scientists, engineers, bakers and market experts in the cake industry.

As users of Stable Micro Systems Texture Analysers, these experts are able to provide the ideas and innovations that are guiding new developments in cakes everywhere.

From the key trends that are shaping your business to the science of longer shelf life, you'll find plenty of fresh and provocative ideas shared in the downloadable white papers.

At the Puratos Freshness Lab, they're helping the baking industry deliver the world's freshest cake solutions.

Click here to read all about it in their two white papers...

Bread roll acoustic test with V Squeeze Rig


Zeelandia, a global bakery ingredients manufacturer, has pioneered an exciting new testing method to determine the crustiness of bakery products using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser.

Combining the texture analyser bread 'V' squeeze test with simultaneous acoustic measurements, Zeelandia obtains detailed objective analysis of crust breakage. This enables the company to develop high-performance ingredients that respond to a dynamic and growing sector of the bakery market.

Crustiness is an attribute increasingly sought by consumers, who now enjoy an unprecedented range of international bakery products, including baguettes, ciabattas, focaccias and crusty bread rolls. A dry, crusty outer texture and a crispy sound are an essential part of the eating experience.

The new test combines the use of a microphone with the bread 'V' squeeze attachment. This device comprises two 'V' shaped, rounded fingers, which are lowered onto the sample and which squeeze it for a defined period of time, or to a specified distance. Exponent software measures the force required to compress the sample and the sounds emitted as compression takes place. The higher the force reading and acoustic emissions, the crustier the product is deemed to be.

Henk Mulder, physical scientist at Zeelandia, comments: "Stable Micro Systems' equipment is extremely accurate and versatile. Manual tests, and even our previous lab testing methods, didn't give us enough detail to draw meaningful conclusions for our NPD or quality control purposes. 

"The 'V' squeeze test measures valuable parameters, but recording sound using the Acoustic Envelope Detector provides far more detailed results that can be used in new product development and for competitor analysis and QC purposes".

Coen Sander, Zeelandia's food scientist, adds: "Perfecting texture in crusty products is particularly challenging because despite the crunchy crust, we're often also seeking a soft centre - all with maximum shelf life. We're now testing a wide range of finished baked products containing different Zeelandia ingredients in varying proportions. Collating and comparing these detailed test results means we can evaluate the impact of changes to recipes and processing conditions."

Conny van Loon, Stable Micro Systems' sales manager in the Netherlands, sums up: "This is the latest example of a customer developing bespoke tests to respond to its own needs, and those of its market. Zeelandia can now offer its customers even more valuable technical support, as well as continuing to improve its own product offering".

Texture analysis patents

New Patents That Utilise The TA.XTPlus Texture Analyser

The TA.XTplus Texture Analyser is frequently listed in many interesting new patents - such as these examples:

GELS FOR TRANSDERMAL DELIVERY: Hydrogels may be used for transdermal delivery of bioactive agents, including drugs, and may also be useful as conductive compositions for use with electrodes.
LOW SOLUBLE SOLIDS ACID GELS AND METHODS FOR MAKING SAME: A gel composition including a low ester pectin - the method includes dissolving a pectin in an acetic acid solution, heating and cooling the mixture.

COATED MULTI-REGION CONFECTIONERY AND METHODS OF MAKING THE SAME: Particulate coated multi-region structures prepared from sugar free confectionery products and chewing gum.
FOOD GRADE DRY FILM COATING COMPOSITION AND METHODS OF MAKING AND USING THE SAME: A dry film coating composition comprising a cellulose film former, an oligofructose fibre, a plasticising agent, and a processing aid; also a film coating suspension.  
RAPIDLY DISINTEGRATING FILMS FOR DELIVERY OF PHARMACEUTICAL OR COSMETIC AGENTS: Disintegratable films containing a mixture of high molecular weight and low molecular weight water soluble components, and a pharmaceutically or cosmetically active ingredient.
DUAL CURE ADHESIVES: A dual cure adhesive that can be designed to have a proper balance of properties by choosing formulation materials to meet certain inequalities. 
COMPOSITIONS CONTAINING ACRYLIC THICKENER: A composition, especially a cosmetic composition, comprising at least one acrylic thickener having a high viscosity and a low solids content; methods of using such compositions.
ANTIPERSPIRANT SOFT SOLID COMPOSITIONS COMPRISING A WAX BLEND: An antiperspirant soft solid composition includes a wax blend with glyceryl tribehenate, a first wax additive, and a second wax additive.
SURFACE MODIFICATION OF PRESSURE-SENSITIVE ADHESIVES WITH NANOPARTICLES: Adhesive articles having surface-modified nanoparticles located on or near at least one surface of a layer of pressure sensitive adhesive: methods of making such articles.
ENTERIC COATING COMPOSITIONS AND METHODS OF MAKING AND USING THE SAME: An enteric coating composition including about 0.01% to about 10% resin and about 0.01% to about 10% polymer; methods for coating a substrate with the enteric coating compositions.
ULTRASONICALLY-TREATED NUTRITIONAL PRODUCTS HAVING EXTENDED SHELF LIFE: Disclosed are nutritional products and nutritional bars, manufactured utilising high power ultrasound in combination with an extrusion or slabbing process, and having increased shelf life.
CONFECTIONERY PRODUCTS CONTAINING ERYTHRITOL: The invention relates to products selected from the group consisting of hard candies, brittle, caramel, and toffee, preferably hard candies containing maltodextrin, and at least 93% w/w erythritol.
COSMETIC COMPOSITIONS OF REACTIVELY BLENDED COPOLYMERS: Cosmetic and personal care compositions having film-formers that are two-phase polymers; these provide enhanced durability for cosmetics, hair care, and skin care products.
FAT FILLING WITH VEGETABLE FATS AND SWEETENERS: A composition comprising fat and sweetener, useful as fat filling in various food products, in particular in confectionery and bakery applications. Provides a cooling effect to food products, in particular to chocolate.

Warburtons Dough Stickiness Rig

Bakery Functionality article

Warburtons and Stable Micro Systems solve a sticky problem

Stable Micro Systems and Warburtons, the number one bakery brand in the UK, recently launched a valuable new item of testing equipment for the bakery industry: the Warburtons Dough Stickiness System.

This new testing rig enables more realistic assessment of dough stickiness, as it minimises the dough's exposure to atmospheric variables by testing under controlled conditions.

Sticky dough is problematic in bakeries, causing progressive build-up of dough smears on equipment, necessitating extra cleaning and leading to waste and unplanned stoppages.

Previous test methods for quantifying dough stickiness normally require manipulation of the dough sample immediately prior to testing. This, along with exposure to drier atmospheres common in QC labs, introduces rheological changes which reduce stickiness, distorting test results.

As stickiness is most commonly evident when dough is subjected to shear, tests should ideally be performed immediately after mixing or processing, e.g. after dividing or moulding. The research, development and engineering team at Warburtons has worked with Stable Micro Systems to develop a sample testing box, compatible with the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser, into which dough samples can be placed quickly and with minimum exposure of the cut surface to the atmosphere.

A retaining plate is placed on top of the dough, applying slight compression to the sample. A narrow blade is driven through a slot in the retaining plate, to a defined distance. This action provides bakers with an accurate assessment of the compression peak and compression area of the dough, which are indicators of its consistency (firmness/softness). As the blade is withdrawn upwards, Stable Micro Systems' advanced software, Exponent, calculates the adhesion peak and adhesion area. The higher the peak, and/or larger the area, the stickier the dough.

The Warburtons Dough Stickiness System mimics certain actions carried out in commercial bakeries and is ideally suited to this sector of the baking industry, due to the high speed of the test, the ease of cleaning between tests and the reduced need for temperature-controlled environments.

The Warburtons Dough Stickiness System is a Community Registered Design and is available in two sizes, to accommodate samples of 500g or 900-1000g.

To request a reprint of an article written by Stan Cauvain - 'Assessing Bakery Functionality' - as featured in The World of Food Ingredients June 2012 (illustrated above left), please contact:

Hair testing graphs

*T Gao, J-M Tien, L Peter, Evaluation of hair softness - Texture Analyzer and Dynamic Analyzer, Croda Inc., USA

Croda and the TA.XTplus put tresses to the test

A recent study* has validated the use of a TA.XTplus texture analyser for evaluating objectively the effectiveness of personal care products on the physical characteristics of hair.

The study highlighted how analytical technology can help the industry substantiate ambitious marketing claims about shampoos and conditioners that claim to leave hair soft and manageable.

In the study, carried out by Croda, the bending force of a hair bundle was measured as an indicator of hair softness. The TA.XTplus was used to determine the bending modulus of different types of hair, comparing results before and after the application of various hair treatments. For the test, the hair samples were divided into two bundles - one to undergo treatments, the second to be used as a control. The texture analyser was used in a modified three point bend mode, with hair bundle clamped at one end and the remaining length placed on two supports. The analyser probe descended vertically on the sample ten times, applying pressure to the central section of the hair bundle and the average bending force was calculated.

Hair test samples

Texture analysis enables the determination of the bending force of hair samples under different treatment conditions. Croda's research revealed that oxidation following hair bleaching, as well as heightened environmental moisture levels, have a significant effect on measurable bending force, an indication of hair softness, in particular where damaged hair is concerned. It also demonstrated the efficacy of conditioner formulations containing new softening ingredients.

We are pleased to know that our customers continue to innovate and discover new applications for our instruments. The new test will enable manufacturers to carry out quick, objective and repeatable evaluation of hair softness, optimising their products' performance and substantiating persuasive beauty claims.

... and see some detailed case studies from our users - discover how they benefit from texture analysis...

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