Inspection systems for plastics industry on show

| Environmental Testing

In process measurement of plastics

Sensors and quality control systems from Micro-Epsilon will be on show at the Interplas event to demonstrate plastics inspection technology.

Precision sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon UK will present two new groundbreaking in-process measurement systems for flat strip materials and injection moulding – thicknessSENSOR and moldCONTROL at Interplas 2017, taking place on 26-28 September 2017 at the NEC in Birmingham. Visitors to the show are encouraged to attend a presentation by Micro-Epsilon on Day 3 entitled “Innovations in IR Thermography for Improved Quality Control in the Injection Moulding Process.”

Inline thermal imager

moldCONTROL is an inline thermal imaging system for the early detection of defects and quality fluctuations in injection moulded parts, including multi-layered or transparent moulded parts. The system is particularly well suited to large, complex, multi-layered or transparent moulded parts and can be easily retrofitted to existing injection moulding machines. Materials include all plastics, polymers, elastomers and rubber.

Present inspection methods rely on the human eye, vision systems and weighing, which cannot fully identify quality fluctuations until after they occur. By looking at the temperature of the parts as they leave the injection mould, moldCONTROL is able to detect any defective areas of the component or fluctuations in temperature that may indicate a quality issue. Weaknesses or thinning in a part can also be identified, which can be used to modify the mould tool design to improve the process. A number of different defects can be detected including incomplete injected parts; temperature deviations in extruded parts; temperature fluctuations in the mould tool; temperature deviations of individual cooling circuits; low or fluctuating pressures; and missing pieces inside a moulded 2-component part.

Manfred Pfadt, Product Manager at Micro-Epsilon, is hosting a presentation on inline thermography at the event. In this session, delegates will learn how to improve quality control in injection moulding; the effects of mould tool cooling circuit issues in final part production; short shot identification, even in 2-part component moulds; and how to improve productivity through process understanding.

Thickness measurement

thicknessSENSOR is an affordable compact thickness measurement system for strip, plate and film targets. The fully assembled system is immediately ready for use ‘out of the box’ and costs less than £10,000. The system is designed to bridge the gap between customers’ own self-build solutions and the high cost, large investment thickness measurement systems that involve commissioning by the supplier’s own engineers.

The fully assembled system comprises a stable C-frame onto which two laser triangulation sensors are mounted. These sensors measure the thickness of strip, plate and film material such as plastics, metals, composites and fabrics. The compact controller integrated into the frame calculates thickness values and outputs these via analogue or digital (Ethernet, USB) interfaces.

In-process colour measurement

For those with a need to measure colour, the stand will feature a range of non-contact colour measurement systems, including the colorCONTROL ACS7000 – an inline high speed colour measurement system that measures the actual colour of the target by identifying their coordinates in the colour space. The system can be set up to continually monitor a production process and output the colour measurement via Ethernet, EtherCAT or RS422. The system can also be taught ‘pass fail/limits’ and then output out-of-tolerance alarms using digital I/O. Existing applications include automotive paint inspection, colour measurement of car interiors, coloured glass, transparent film and sheet production, printing, packaging, medical technology, cosmetics, and in the processing of plastics, paper, veneer and textiles.

Other in-process measurement systems

Other in-process measurement systems from Micro-Epsilon include its thicknessCONTROL family of C-frame systems that measure the thickness profile of plastic strip and sheet. These systems can be installed in plastic extrusion and calendar lines, providing reliable, high precision measurement results that create a basis for controlling the production process and product quality.

Other products for the plastics industry include reflectCONTROL, an in-process inspection system based on the principle of deflectometry, which analyses the reflections from smooth surfaces (including plastics), detects defects and marks these up automatically for quality control purposes.

The thermoMETER CTP7 is a non-contact infrared temperature sensor that operates at a wavelength of 7.9µm. This spectral range allows the sensor to measure accurately against thin plastic film materials such as PET, PU, PTFE and PA.

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