History of the Viscomat

The Manual viscosity analysisstandard method for determination of the viscosity in pulp, as described in the test methods SCAN-CM 15:99 and ISO 5351:2010, is to use a manual stopwatch to determine the efflux time of pulp dissolved in 0.5 M CED through a 1 mL glass capillary viscometer tube. This method is not only time consuming and prone to errors (especially related to differences between operators), but also liable to expose the operator to hazardous chemicals.

The original Viscomat 32020 was released in early 1985 as the result of several years of research and development at SCA Research in Sundsvall, Sweden. The system was sold through SCA Control Systems. The purpose was to improve the repeatability and reproducibility of the SCAN-C 15:62 analytical method and to simplify the measurement procedure by developing a reliable and easy-to-use automatic instrument. Each of the three viscometer tubes was controlled by a separate Zilog Z80 processor. The system was sold as a stand-alone unit, with optional computer interface and connection to an analytical balance.

The product was later transferred to BerTech, a small company run by one of the original developers of the Viscomat in Sundsvall, Sweden, valid from July 1:st, 1985. BerTech further developed the Viscomat 32020, improving the connection to a balance through the Scale Terminal unit and modifications to the computer software. The electronics were updated several times, but the core design and functionality was maintained. In total, more than 70 units of Viscomat 32020 were sold, whereof approximately 25 systems in Sweden.

Lagge acquired the production right for the Viscomat in March 2009, and in January 2010 the Viscomat II was released. Some of the changes in Viscomat II include:

  • New, modern electronics, prepared for i.e. temperature measurements, automatic valves, etc.
  • Electronics placed hidden so that spill of CED etc cannot damage the electronics
  • Balance connected directly to the control computer, thus removing the separate balance terminal
  • Improved temperature control system, with a more reliable pump and an optimized flow system
  • Reduced footprint and weight, and with adjustable work height
  • Updated software, with improved documentation, quality, performance, work-flow, and a range of new features
  • Extensive documentation and quality control