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Articles from 2000 In May


IMM Review: Plastic part technology

As prefaced, Ed Muccio's Plastic Part Technology is designed to serve as a primer for people who design, inspect, manufacture, purchase, and use plastic products. It is written at a level that assumes the reader has little or no experience in working with plastics, with the focus on the technology rather than the engineering aspects of plastic part design. 

Muccio bases his book on the premise of plastic part quality. That is, to design and manufacture high-quality plastic parts, one must understand how part design, mold design, processing, materials, and the customer relate to one another. 

The book begins with a brief look at the evolution of the plastics industry, some early history, and the historic commercial importance of plastic's substitution for metal products during World War II. Chapter 2, which discusses materials, defines the two major types of plastics—thermosets and thermoplastics—and covers the development of custom plastic formulations to create specified end-use applications. 

Chapter 3 reviews and defines such processing types as injection molding, compression molding, transfer molding, extrusion, blowmolding, thermoforming, and composite processing. Chapters 4 and 5 emphasize the economics of material selection. Much detail is given to mold design considerations applicable to the various processes available today. 

In Chapters 6 and 7 Muccio covers proper wall thickness transitions and how melt flow is affected by gate sizing, style, venting, and part geometry. 

Chapter 8 relates part quality to the quality of the design, showing that in order to enter the market successfully, the quality of the initial design is critical. Various statistical tools for effective, continued quality monitoring and improvement must be used to stay competitive. 

Muccio discusses finishing and decorating techniques plus assembly in Chapters 9 and 10, which include an excellent table of plastic machining guidelines, material selection charts of plastics properties, and comparisons of common decorating methods. 

Plastic Part Technology concludes with a first-rate appendix of the relevant formulas and conversion factors used in plastics processing, plus sample tolerance guidelines. I found Muccio's work to be well done, easy to understand, and in general an excellent background source for gaining a well-rounded understanding of plastic part technology.—Reviewer: Rich Allen, MGI International, Dallas, GA. 

Plastic Part Technology is one of many books selected for injection molders that are offered through the IMM Book Club. For more information on this or other books, call Renee Barker at (303) 321-2322; fax (303) 321-3552; e-mail [email protected]; or visit www.immbookclub.com

Muccio, Edward A. Plastic Part Technology, (1994), 320 pp., illus., tables, appendix, references, index, $97.00.

New Welding Systems Introduced At NPE 2000

1 NPE logo 4/cNew Welding Systems Introduced At NPE 2000


Sonics & Materials will introduce new welding systems at NPE (Booth E-14411), including a servo-controlled hot plate welder, a hand-held ultrasonic welder and three new spin welders.

Hot plate welder is servo-motor actuated (rather than pneumatically or hydraulically actuated) so it is claimed to be capable of welding parts with wall thick-ness down to 1 mm. Model HPS 152/152 can be used to assemble single and multi-cavity parts produced by injection, extrusion or blow molding. Pricing is said to be competitive with that of pneumatic and hydraulic systems.

All system actuation is programmed via a password-protected keypad interface. Bolt-on tooling allows for fast set-up. Dual-axis positioning allows for independent control of the part melt depthand ensures accuracy to ±0.001 in. A variable-speed control can be programmed for precise melt during heating and assembly cycles.

Unit has radiant and conductive heating modes. These modes are ideal for abrasive materials or for materials that tend to stick or 'string.' Digitally controlled, independent heating zones allow for welding parts of different materials. A safety mechanism restricts machine operation if temperatures fall below the target range. 

Spin welders Three new models have been added to the company's standard line of spin welding equipment. LTR3000, 4000 and 5000 Series spin welders are small-footprint systems that are designed for bench-top production. They can also be custom designed for automated in-line assembly systems.

Specifically designed for assembly of parts up to 3 in. dia, these units have variable-speed digital rpm control with PLC-timed power supply. Other standard features include an adjustable stroke control to cushion and maintain spin feed rate at the part-to-part contact point, a 1-in. thick aluminum fixture plate and 3/4-in. aluminum anodized frame construction. Dual anti-tie-down cycle start switches with a front-and-center emergency stop are designed to protect operators.

The LTR spin welders are designed with a 1/3 to 3 hp electric motor drive system capable of a maximum of 7100 rpm. The pneumatic head has a down stroke of up to 7.5 in. The hard stop feature enables positive weld depth control.

Options include external wiring for spin start and stop, depth control and 'head home' position for automation. 

Hand-held ultrasonic welder, Model H-520, is a 500-watt, 20 kHz unit designed for staking, inserting and spot welding applications. It is also said to be well-suited for manual operations with low-volume production or for assembling parts with difficult-to-reach weld areas.

The 1.5 lb hand gun is supplied with an integral 1/2-in. dia titanium front driver with a replaceable flat face tip. Other tips are available for various applications. Tips can also be custom designed to meet specific customer applications.

An autotune feature allows the use of different tips without having to retune the system. The power supply regulates line voltage and provides constant amplitude throughout the weld process. A microprocessor-based programmable timer provides for weld times from 0.1 to 9.9 sec.

Unit has two overload protection circuits, one for the power supply and the other for the converter. The system's overload circuit protects the power supply from exceeding its maximum wattage. The advanced converter protection circuit is designed to protect against excessive voltage or current caused by the application. Response time is rated at less than 2 micro-seconds.

The power supply has a standard input/output connector that can interface with automated machines via PC or PLC. This connector allows the user to control amplitude and ultrasonic 'on/off' times, as well as reset overload conditions. Users can also monitor power in watts and frequency.

Optional accessories include a manual press, a stapler attachment and a pistol grip. The manual press is said to provide better ergonomic movement and control of the final welded part. This press is available with foot switch actuation or cam actuation.

The stapler attachment isfor sealing low-production-rate clamshell packages. It is designed with a pivoting mechanism that is attached to the standard hand gun. The mechanism contains a steel anvil that applies pressure to a small area on the flanged outer edge of the clamshell package.

The Pistol Grip accessory is designed to provide better handling of the handpiece. This lightweight device slips onto the standard model hand gun. The operator activates the ultrasonics by pulling on the 'trigger.'

The standard hand piece is supplied with a 10-ft hardwired cable. This straight diameter cable is small and light. Cables up to 25 ft are available. Sonics says it will soon introduce a 40 kHz hand-held welder with the same features.

Sonics & Materials, Inc.
Newtown, CT

Interchangeable Mold Plates Are Shipped Within 24 Hr Of Order

1 NPE logo 4/cInterchangeable Mold Plates Are Shipped Within 24 Hr Of Order

PCS Co. will introduce a new family of interchangeable mold plates at NPE (Booth N-7562). The company says that a molder can reduce downtime by quickly changing the plates that make up a mold base for maintenance or when damaged.

Instead of a mold maker taking time to fit up replacement mold plates, the PCS Interchangeable Plate System allows them to order plates off-the-shelf. This eliminates the time to fit the plates to the mold.

Plate thicknesses offered: 7/8, 1-3/8, 1-7/8, 2-3/8, 3-3/8, 4-3/8 and 4-7/8 in.

Mold base sizes offered: 7-7/8 x 7-7/8 in., 7-7/8 x 11, 9-7/8 x 8 in., 9-7/8 x 12 in., 9-7/8 x 16 in., 10-7/8 x 12 in., 10-7/8 x 14 in., 10-7/8 x 18 in., 11-7/8 x 12 in., 11-7/8 x 15 in., 13-3/8 x 15 in., 13-3/8 x 18 in., 14-7/8 x 17-7/8 in., 15-7/8 x 16 in., 15-7/8 x 20 in., 15-7/8 x 23-1/2 in. and 19-1/2 x 23-3/4 in.

Plate tolerances are held to ±0.0004 in. Plates will be available in various types of steels, as well as in aluminum and other alloys. They are pre-machined for ejector pins, return pins, pry slots, vented leader pins and hoist ring holes. They can also be machined to accept a mold insert.

The Interchangeable Plate System is also designed to reduce a molder's overall costs; instead of buying a complete set of plates for every mold, some of the base plates can be reused and only one or two interchangeable plates for the mold insert need to be purchased.

PCS Co.
Fraser, MI 

Planning For The Future? 'Forecast' Module Added To ERP Software

1 NPE logo 4/cPlanning For The Future? 'Forecast' Module Added To ERP Software


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software producer, IQMS, has released a forecast module (IQForecast) for use with its IQWin32 ERP software program. The company says the software will allow users to make informed business decisions, increase control over inventory, eliminate out-of-stock problems, improve resource planning, improve customer service and simplify the budgeting process.

IQForecast builds a forecast based on actual order history, showing forecasted, shipped and on-order quantities, and corresponding dollars. Forecasted quantities can be manipulated manually for even more control. Viewing methods include the traditional spreadsheet or a graph. Forecasts can be refined to view by customer, part or by 'e-plant' (separate physical or logistical plants defined for IQWin32).

From there, users can analyze theprojections and make necessary adjustments by comparing actual to forecast numbers, by month or week, as far back as necessary. 'What-if' capabilities allow users to view the impact of projectedscenarios.

The program also lets users extendthe forecast over years for long-range planning. This helps in making adjustments to material requirements and capacity planning.

Processors will be able to see a number of different scenarios, including:

  • Months typically reflecting upturns (and downturns) in production
  • If monthly production is consistent with monthly income
  • If monthly income is consistent with profitability
  • Seasonal trends (high- and low-demand periods)
  • Current budget and forecasted future budget

IQMS says that IQForecast has theability to view changes in actual shipping and sales in real-time, and claims that this is what sets it apart from other similar programs on the market. These changes are instantly compared against the forecast so they can be evaluated quickly.

And because this module is integrated with IQWin32, it can reportedly perform tasks that 'third-party' modules can not:

* Automatically consume the forecast. Conversion of forecasted orders to actual orders elimin-ates the need tore-enter order information. Actual ordersare updated as forecasted quantities change, while maintaining their identity as a forecasted order.

* Move the forecast orders into the schedule. Forecasted items can be scheduled and converted
to work orders.

*Populate the budget. Tight integration with the IQWin32 financial modules supports building a budgeted forecast by cost elements, which are linked to specific General Ledger (GL) accounts. These include sales, raw material, overhead and labor accounts.

* Update the forecast based on orders received via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). IQWin32 handles orders received by EDI as back-order releases, if manually entered.

* Tie the forecast periods to established GL periods: The forecast generated is automatically tied to the established GL periods. Comparing a forecast to actuals that are based on different periods can lead to confusion.

* Link to shipping activity: A click of the button provides access to sales and shipping information, so projected sales and quantities can be compared monthly, by customer, by order and/or by part.

IQForecast will be included with the next release of IQWin32. Existing customers can upgrade for a 'minimal' price. IQMS says it will be offering special pre-NPE pricing. (See company at booth S-319)

IQMS
Paso Robles, CA 

Adjustable Weir Replaces Standard Weir Plate For Tube Extrusion

Adjustable Weir Replaces StandardWeir Plate For Tube Extrusion


Extrusion Solutions has introduced the MicroCenter, an adjustable weir that uses three micrometers to position the weir opening in relation to the extruder. Before, the extruder-to-weir alignment was achieved by moving the entire water trough, which can disrupt the cooling water level and stability.

Designed specifically for extruders making tubing, the Micro-Center allows the distance between the weir opening and the extruder to be controlled to within 0.001 in. Also, the vertical and lateral position of the weir opening within the water bath can be controlled. This is said to help keep the tubing round, especially small-profile tubing.

Unit includes a stainless steel iris assembly and a set of 12 PTFE sizing inserts. The iris assembly has a center opening of 12 mm (approximately 1/2 in.), which is designed to allow for easy string-up of the extrusion line, and which can be adjusted to the desired size with a lever. The sizing inserts are provided in 0.012-in. increments from 0.050 to 0.300 in. One blank is provided so users can machine it themselves.

MicroCenter units are custom manufactured within three to five days to fit any water trough. The transparent polycarbonate mounting plate aids in setting the desired water level. Please contact the company directly for pricing information (use the Key Contact Directory).

Extrusion Solutions, LLC
Las Vegas, NV

Surface Treatment System Replaces Flame Treaters

1 NPE logo 4/cSurface Treatment System Replaces Flame Treaters


Lectro Engineering will introduce the LT 2000 surface treatment system at NPE (Booth S-4006). Unit is designed to replace or eliminate the use of flame for treating plastic parts and is 66% smaller, treats parts faster and is a fraction of the cost of the standardLectro-Treat system.

From a technical standpoint LT 2000 operates on a capacitive electrode system creating an oxidized cold plasma inside the treating tunnel at atmospheric pressure. Because there is no vacuum, all parts pass through the tunnel on a continuous conveyor system.

The unit reaches a higher level of energy by supplying what is referred to as a directional plasma in air. The equipment normally operates on an input electrical requirement of 240 v, 60 cycle current but can be modified to fit specific electrical needs. This input is then transformed into high voltage and supplied to specially designed capacitor type plates.

Electrical operating parameters are factory-set for maximum operating efficiency. The only variable for treatment of the part is the conveyor speed. Conveyor speed is variable so the surface treatment may be optimized for each particular part.

Lectro Engineering Co.
St. Louis, MO 

Sprue-Picker/Parts Handler Is Designed For Presses Up to 350 Tons

Sprue-Picker/Parts Handler Is DesignedFor Presses Up to 350 Tons


The EA-Mini 2001 SLI pneumatic sprue picker and parts handler from Geiger Handling features a high-speed positioning system, which includes self-regulating hydraulic shock absorbers on the Y axis. This is said to allow for take-out times of0.7 to 0.8 sec. Speed canbe programmed via a hand-held programming device, or the unit will self-regulate its speed.

Payload capacity (including the gripper) is 4.4 lb; unit is designed especially for injection molding machines up to 350 tons.

The rotation module on the Y axis is separately controlled to ensure maximum flexibility of the motional sequences. The gripper can be pivoted to an angle of up to 17 deg.

In addition to the drilled holes for the standard gripper, there are a variety of mounting possibilities for an end-of-arm tool with vacuum cups (a vacuum circuit with monitoring capability has already been integrated). This allows for easy removal of difficult-to-reach sprues and parts.

The removal stroke (X axis) is from 0 to 190 mm. The vertical stroke (Y/Z axes) can be adjusted between 400 and 700 mm or 300 and 500 mm. And the pivoting axis (A axis) is from 54 to 86 mm.

The robot sits on the fixed platen in the center of the injection molding machine. A sliding console with 20 in. of travel lets operators slide the robot out of the way when pulling a mold. It can be configured to slide to either side of the press or to either the front or back.

Prices start at $8400 for a unit with an X axis of 7.5 in. and extended Y axis of 31.5 in.

Geiger Handling USA
Madison, Wisconsin 

Save on Drying With Vented Injection Screw/Barrel

Save on Drying With Vented Injection Screw/Barrel


Nypro North Carolina Inc. and Xaloy have teamed up to develop a way to vent the barrel of an injection molding machine in such a way that it allows molders to eliminate the drying process. In Nypro's case, the savings amounted to about $7000/yr.

Xaloy developed a proprietary screw and barrel , in this case just 22 mm diafor a 30-ton all-electric Ferromatikinjection molding machine processing filled polycarbonate. The screw andbarrel combination work with no vent flooding and no pre-drying of the material.

Says Jay Needham, molding group leader at Nypro North Carolina, "we've made non-stop production runs of up to four weeks without a single stoppage related to venting." Needham also says that the hopper dryer consumed more energy than the molding machine itself. That, of course, is in addition to the four to five hours of time saved in drying the material.

Xaloy
Pulaski, VA 

Source: PLASTICS Daily News wire
service, Business Intelligence Group, Columbia, NJ

Valve Gate Nozzles Address Problems Found In Competitive Units

Valve Gate Nozzles Address Problems Found In Competitive Units


ALBA Enterprises has a new single-point valve gate nozzle with several new features said to eliminate problems found with competitivesystems, including leakage around the pin. The flow path in the Thermoplay nozzle is parallel to the pin, rather than around the pin, and melt is introduced just in front of the gate.

Thermoplay nozzles are available with either air or oil cylinders for actuation. They are offered only in 44 mm diameter sizes, with the piston mounted at 90 deg to the nozzle to minimize heat transfer to the seals. This configuration is also said to accommodate various part configurations. The nozzle is designed to withstand high injection pressures for thin-wall, high-fill-rate applications.

Please contact ALBA directly for pricing information by using the Key Contact Directory.

ALBA Enterprises Inc.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

A Slew of New Control Products

1 NPE logo 4/cA Slew of NewControl Products


Barber-Colman and Eurotherm Controls will introduce a range of new control products at NPE (Booth N-6016). Please contact the companies directly for pricing (see the Key Contact Directory on p 100). Included are:

I/O system The Model 2500 input/output system has two PID controllers and is capable of mathematical functions, combination logic and remote analog and digital I/O monitoring. Future expansion to four and eight PID controller versions is planned. Unit also provides adaptive tuning, cascade control and gain scheduling.

The product line consists of a DIN rail mounted base (rack), processor, terminal units, input/output modules and an externally mounted 24 v dc power supply. It is designed to be interfaced with any device running Modbus RTU or Profibus DP master communications, such as Eurotherm Controls' Model T2900 operator interface, PC-based supervisory software packages or a programmable logic controller. Up to 16 bases can be connected in a communications network.

Three base sizes allow for efficient use of space while obtaining the input/output needed. One base can have a maximum of 32 analog and 64 digital inputs and outputs. DIN rail-mounting allows the 2500 to be mounted where the control action is required, minimizing the cost of the enclosures and wiring since only the twisted pair communications cable is taken to the user interface.

Model 2500 is configured using the Eurotherm Controls/Barber-Colman Windows-based configuration software package, iTools (see below). This software is used to set up the PID blocks and to configure the input/output points to the PID blocks or to internal variables. iTools is also used to set up the Toolkit Function Blocks contained in the 2500controller. These blocks allow local mathematical calculations and combination logic.

Highly stable control with a range of control options is available in the 2500. Each PID block offers one-shot and continuously adaptive tuning to optimize control performance. Each PID block can be configured as asingle PID, cascade, ratio or override control loop. A gain-scheduling feature allows the control strategy to automatically switch between three sets of PID terms based on processing conditions.

The 2500 can also be used as expansion remote I/O for the Eurotherm and Barber-Colman Model 2604 (see below) and Model 2704 multi-loop controllers. The master communication feature of these units enables serial digital communications to the Model 2500. This combination of instruments provides a compact and economical system for complete control of small plastics processing machines. 

Multi-loop melt pressure controller Model 2604 (1/4 DIN) high-stability pressure controller is a new member of the Series 2000 family of controllers. It is designed for plastic melt pressure applications. Strain gage inputs can be energized from an internal 5- or 10-v dc supply on the 2604. The controller is also equipped with a precision melt pressure control algorithm and includes an automatic calibration routine to remove zero and span offsets.

The 2604 is available with Modbus RTU or PROFIBUS DP slave communications. This controller is ideal for connection to PLC- or PC-based systems in which the security and high accuracy of an independent melt pressure controller is required.

All parameters are available over the communications interface. Configuration is achieved either via the front panel or by using iTools configuration software. Software tools also simplify Profibus GSD file generation and run under the Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT operating systems. 

Extrusion control system is designed to save extrusion equipment OEMs time and money. With the EM3 OEMs no longer need to design and manufacture their own control systems to keep routines confidential.

Originally introduced at K'98 as the Maco DS, the system is based on a building block architecture that is designed to adapt to the changing needs of plastics processors. The result is an open and scaleable system that contains more than four decades of extrusion knowledge.

The EM3 is actually a family of control products: the PC-based Operator Station (OPtima PC), Application Specific I/O Blocks (ASBs) and Terminal I/O Blocks (TBs). The OPtima PC, ASBs and TBs can be networked together to form an overall control scheme. It can be applied as a total line system or as individual components.

According to Barber-Colman /Eurotherm, there are many benefits and cost savings associated with the EM3:

  • Labor and materials savings by directly wiring to terminal I/O blocks
  • Fewer failures due to the use of robust hardware
  • Higher productivity from advanced control
  • Scaleability (one control solution for large and small lines)
  • Fast installation (DIN rail mounting)
  • Shared data base between screen programming tool (Wonderware InTouch) and sequence editing tool
  • Global application (unit ismulti-lingual)
  • Flexibility of distributed orcentralized I/O
  • Connectivity to third party devices
  • Small profile to reduce panel space
  • Large color graphical interface for easy use
  • Pre-configured screens and sequence for rapid start ups
  • Efficient sequence programming tool for reduced development cost (on-line editing, diagnostics and simulation)

The OPtima PC human-machine interface (HMI) is packed with 'superior' software and incorporates the Wonderware InTouch Interface. Standard features include multiple windows, on-line documentation, animated objects, statistical process control (SPC), on-line trending and recipe management.

The OPtima PC is housed in an industry-hardened cabinet to minimize the effects of electronic noise. A 233 mHz Pentium processor and a 15-in. active matrix display provide 'super fast' and crisp graphics. Recipes can be stored internally on a hard disk drive or externally on the floppy disk drive.

The OPtima PC comes standard with one serial port, one parallel port and one keyboard port. For greater expansion, three 1/2 length add-in cards can be placed inside. They are compatible with ISA and PCI type cards.

Operators and technicians can access the OPtima PC from anywhere in the world. Connect a modem or local network and view/control the application from a remote site. Or browse a web page for troubleshooting information or material specifications.

Application-Specific Blocks can be configured for any extrusion application. The EM3 uses a distributed control structure that features intelligent I/O modules with on-board microprocessors. In addition to the on-board microprocessors, each Application Specific Block can be populated with a central processor for custom control and local I/O drops. The central processor supports true IEC 1131-3 programming (Ladder Diagram, Function Block Diagram, Sequential Function Chart, Instruction List, Structured Text and Runtime Controller Simulation) for discrete I/O, on-line monitoring/editing and Custom Control Capability.

The custom control capability is said to be unique to the EM3. Through the sequence-programming package, a low-level C++ block can be downloaded to modify or enhance Eurotherm Control/Barber-Colman routines. The six card slots in the Application Specific Block can be populated with temperature, analog or discrete I/O cards.

Application Specific Blocks include an easy-to-use, full-feature temperature controller and a drive and pressure controller.

The temperature controller includes adaptive auto-tuning control, designed to let users quickly bring temperatures to within 1° F. Smart routines watch for process high, low, deviation ±, heater burn-out and thermocouple break alarms. The Automatic Heat Start-Up allows users to enter the time and date, and the controller heats by itself. Advanced users will benefit from the melt temperature control (cascading temperature) and temperature ramping.

Advanced software routines manage digital drive communications, drive speed ratio control, bumpless transfers, ramping and closed-loop melt pressure control.

The EM3 Terminal I/O Blocks comprise four kinds of assemblies, which snap together to form varying automation control elements. Once assembled, these I/O elements can be networked to form a control solution.

Each Terminal I/O Block has a base. A base is comprised of 20 different types of dc, ac and analog I/O configurations. Each base is specifically designed so that it can be wired directly to eliminate the need for intermediate terminal blocks or marshaling strips.

On top of each base rests a slave communication adapter or a processor. When coupled with a slave communication adapter, the two form a remote I/O drop that can be directly connected to the Application Specific Block or to virtually any standard fieldbus I/O network.

When local distributed intelligence is required, a processor can be added on top of the Terminal I/O base. This offers the same processing capability as the Application Specific Block, but without the Application Specific Cards.

A second variation of the processor base combination is available with a master communication adapter, which fits between the processor and the base and provides the processor with additional communication ports.

Replacing and troubleshooting the modules is said to be easy. The terminal connectors snap in and out, and the communication adapter snaps on and off, allowing for the quick change of a base. The processor and slave communication adapter also contain a label for field wiring identification. Just look at the wiring identification, inspect the LED status on the base and touch a digital voltage meter to the accessible screw on the connector. 

New version of Windows-based configuration software, iTools Version 2.3, is a 32-bit program designedfor configuration and cloning of thecompanies' Series 2000 family of PIDcontrollers and indicators. There are three editions of iTools Version 2.3:Demo, Standard and Open. The Demoedition of iTools is available for evaluationfree from the Eurotherm web site (www.eurotherm.com).

The software operates on any PC running Windows 9x or Windows NT and uses Modbus RTU to automatically detect Series 2000 controllers via a PC's serial port. Non-communicating controllerscan use the optional Series 2000 Configuration Station that does not require the controller to be line powered.

iTools includes a Modbus RTU OPC Server (EuroMBus) that provides high-speed data links into other OPC client software. iTools also ships with the Setpoint Programmer Editor (SPE) and OPC Scope. The SPE provides visual programmer generation for Series 2400 programmers from Eurotherm and Barber-Colman. OPC Scope is used to browse any local or remote OPC Server and provides sophisticated trend plot and data logging capability.

Version 2.3 of iTools was released in February 2000. Improvements include support for the new 2604 multi-loop controller, support for the new Model 2500 V2.2 I/O system, OPC Data Access Version 2 interface compliance and a Parameter List ActiveX control in addition to the Replication Front Panel ActiveX Control. 

Parison programmer Maco DS, a complete blow-molding machine control system with 100-step parison programming for precise, uniform wall thickness in blow-molded products, now offers a Windows based display.

The parison profile shows the product thickness set points and values by positioning a cursor along the profile display. Once programmed and parison points tried, the wall may be found to have thick or thin places. Processors can now use the visual display to locate these spots. As few as two master points can be placed on the screen and five types of interpolation create the profile.

A tabular pop-up window quickly shows the individual point along with the percentage die gap opening of that point. Prove-out time is reduced because the entire parison profile or master points can be shifted in either direction. There is no need to locate a point on the blow-molded part; instead, users just enter a lock point at the minimum or maximum thickness. Profiles can be saved to the hard disk or floppy drive. 

Two families of non-PC based operator stations are now available on the new Maco DS/EM3 plastic control system. Both families are designed to be easy to use and to reduce start-up costs. Every operator station wires and programs the same. Equipment OEMs can lay out and program their machines using a lower cost gray scale display and let their customer upgrade to electro-luminescent or color displays.

All operator stations ship with screens for injection, extrusion or blow molding. Screens can be changed or added to suit customer-specific needs with the OptiGrafix screen editor software. Internal or external Insta-Set job recipe storage is standard. A single cartridge or floppy disk can store multiple recipes. The cartridge or floppy disk can be used to back up or restore screens and/or sequence programs.

On power up, the first screen displayed contains a field to enter a security code. This code allows access only to screens where the security level is equal to or lower than the code entered. Once the security code is entered, the operator can easily page through all of the authorized screens with the six 'path' keys on the display.

Twenty-four machine function buttons can be used in place of hard-wired momentary, toggle and selector switches. Slide-in legends identify each of the individual buttons and their independent LEDs.

The Maco Lite family (Dec '98 PA, p 17) is designed for applications that need a larger screen with more capabilities in a small cabinet. The Lite offers a 7.4-in. gray scale or 6.4-in. color display with 640 x 480 resolution. The display supports fonts, graphics and sprites.

The OPtima is a full-size, full-featured family of operator stations. One cabinet is used for a 10.4-in. 640 x 480 grayscale LCD, active matrix TFT color LCD or an electro-luminescent display. 

PID controllers with Profibus communication are new members of the Series 2000 family of controllers. Models 2408f (1/8 DIN) and 2404f (1/4 DIN) are said to offer all the standard features of the Eurotherm Series 2400 controllers, but are now available with Profibus DP slave communications.

Both are available as high-stability PID heating and cooling controllers, valve positioners or setpoint programmer/controllers. They are reportedly ideal for connection to programmable logic controllers or PC-based systems where the security and high accuracy of single-loop PID control is required. All instrument parameters are available over the Profibus communications interface.

The 'ready to run, right out of the box' design of the 2408f and 2404f reduce installation and configuration time. Windows-based software tools simplify Profibus GSD file generation and provide off-line controller configuration and instrument cloning. 

New communications interface, called the REMote I/O or REMIO, is for solid-state contactors.PLC- or PC-based control systems can communicate digitally to the REMIO. The REMIO can control solid-state contactors via the time proportional module(TPO module) or the on-board digital input/output (digital module).

The REMIO can have up to three TPO modules, each capable of controlling 16 independent zones of proportional heating, firing TE10S solid-state contactors. The REMIO can fire the TE10S in burst firing mode for use with low-temperature coefficient loads or intelligent half-cycling mode, for use with high-temperature coefficient loads, such as short wave infrared (SWIR).

Intelligent half-cycling is said to reduce thermal shock to the heating element and to lengthen the life of the element. The REMIO is economical and is designed to eliminate the need for expensive phase-angle-fired SCR power controllers in non-transformer fired applications. Alternately, the REMIO can have up to three digital modules controlling up to 8DI/8DO or 16DO per module.

The REMIO is available with digital communication via Modbus, Profibus DP or DeviceNet. It is said to be a cost-effective solution for such multi-zone-heating applications as die bolt control, thermoformers and infrared dryers. 

Advanced load diagnostics in Series 2000 controllers were developed specifically to enhance safety in demanding temperature control applications and are now a standard feature of the 2200 and 2400 range of PID controllers. Instant detection of solid-state contactor short circuit failures and load open circuit faults, as well as steady visual display of 'on state' current, is provided on the controller display.

An intelligent CT module is used to transmit load current values and fault diagnostic alarms to the controller. Signaling is by means of Eurotherm's patented pulse density signaling (PDS) communication technique and requires no additional wiring to the remote solid state contactor. This technique is said also to eliminate time delays and enables processors to recognize and diagnose fault conditions the moment they occur, thereby minimizing safety risks.

The intelligent CT module is available as an integral option in the EurothermControls/Barber-Colman TE10 range of single-phase solid-state contactors or as an externally mounted product(PD/CTX) foruse with a variety of industrial solid-state contactors and mechanical contactors. 

DeviceNet communications have been added to the 2200e Series of PID controllers, which are available in 1/16, 1/8 and 1/4 DIN sizes. The 2216e, 2208e and 2204e controllers support DeviceNet communications and are said to be ideal for connection to aPLC- or PC-based system where high security and accuracy of single-loop control is required.

The DeviceNet implementation supports both Polled I/O Messaging, for high-speed transfer of primary parameters, and Explicit Messaging for programming operating and configuration parameters. The controllers are available with selectable DeviceNet baud rates of 125K, 250K and 500K bits/second.

Standard features include universal inputs with Instant Accuracy, auto and adaptive tuning, power feedback, dedicated fan, water- or oil-cooling algorithms, high noise immunity, UL/cUL and CE approval and comprehensive diagnostics. 

AC and dc input options have been added to Series 7 power controllers. These devices are designed to control resistive loads using a 24 v ac, 100/240 v ac or 24 v dc on/off logic output from a temperature controller. They are specifically tuned to ensure quick temperature ramping, precise operating control and immediate temperature stabilization.

The controllers are DIN rail mountable and feature a 'finger safe' design and on/off zero cross switching in 400 Vrms and 600 Vrms ratings. The Series 7 is available in 15 through 80 amp ratings, single- or three-phase models. All models carry the CE mark.

Series 7 units are also said to be a cost-effective solution to environmentally unfriendly mercury contactors in extruder barrel control, die bolt control, blow molding and injection molding.  Barber-Colman Co./Eurotherm Controls Inc.
Reston, VA