NIR analysis of tobacco

NIR analysis of tobacco

Perten offers at-line and on-line NIR tools for analysis of tobacco.

The new Diode Array based NIR technology brings precision analysis of the multi-component parameter “Oven Moisture” and more. Our Lab and On-Line NIR instruments help you save costs and improve product quality further still.

  • Simultaneous analysis for “Oven Moisture”, Menthol, Nicotine, Sugar, Humectants and more
  • Placement in Lab and On-Line
  • One calibration/adjustment for multiple blends and measuring points

Read more in an article fromTobacco World International, that you can download here.

2012 Golden Leaf Awards

“Golden Leaf Award winner 2012
– Most exciting newcomer to the industry”.

Recommended products

DA 7200 NIR


DA 7200 NIRThe DA 7200 is a recently released full-spectrum NIR instrument, designed for use in the tobacco industry. In six seconds it precisely determines multiple characteristics in tobacco samples. By measuring a continuous spectrum, complex multiple component mixtures like “Oven Volatiles” are also determined, thus measuring not only water but also TOVC’s.


Existing NIR tools at tobacco plants worldwide are typically filter technology and only use a few wavelengths for analysis. This makes them limited in both capabilities and accuracy. It is not uncommon to have to adjustment for new tobacco batches, and to recalibrate often. The full-spectrum DA 7200 uses the entire spectrum of infrared light rather than just a few select wavelengths, and can therefore analyze many more parameters, and do so with greater accuracy.

Go to DA 7200 NIR page

What you can analyze

A large variety of characteristics can be determined with fantastic accuracy using our NIR instruments. Included in these are moisture, menthol, nicotine, sugar and humectants.


Assessing moisture in the quality control lab and online in production is of the highest priority because moisture equates to the levels of efficiency of the different productions steps and therefore the quality of the end product. Also, the final moisture in the cigarette is an important quality characteristic which, for example, determines the smoking properties and the colour of the cigarette provides valuable information for process control.

The Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) technique is highly appropriate for this purpose, but in the past the problem with the generally used reference method loss-on-drying (LOD) or “Oven Moisture” is that on the one hand the NIR Instruments presently in use only measure water in tobacco. On the other hand, water is not the only volatile component present in tobacco: there are also several other components present such as essential oils, humectants like propylene glycol and glycerin, volatile components of casings and flavours and the like. These components which are referred to in the literature as Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) are evaporated in the oven to a larger or lesser extent. The ratio between water and TVOC’s may change considerably due to the changes of up to 2% in essential oils. The TVOC’s however, are not measured by standard NIR instruments; therefore the NIR instruments have to be reformatted against LOD to give the correct “Oven Moisture” value; and this can require many samples to be taken to compensate for these variations for each new batch of a blend.


Measuring Menthol content in fine cut tobacco after the maker i.e. in cigarettes is required to keep the specified menthol levels in menthol cigarettes; this applies also for fine cut menthol tobacco for “roll your own” and for snuff tobacco.

Currently Menthol is measured by Gas Chromatography (GC); cigarettes are randomly taken right after the producer (when Menthol is applied directly in the maker) or out of cigarette packets (when Menthol is applied to the filters before the maker). This measurement including sample preparation can take several hours to yield results; meanwhile millions of cigarettes with an incorrect menthol content could be produced which often cannot be recycled; even recycling in this case is expensive.

Other than that the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) of the FDA is currently investigating the impact of menthol additives in cigarettes to public health; a report on the findings of this should be published shortly. This may set up new limits of menthol content in cigarettes and other tobacco products, which will have to be monitored closely. A fast laboratory method for menthol is therefore required in order to avoid excessive costs for recycling or disposing of whole batches.