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Articles from 2000 In August

Vision preform inspector

Vision preform inspector­AGRInternational showcased new features on its Vision Preform Inspector (VPI).

Designed to inspect PET container preforms for defects, the VPI is now capable of inspecting preforms with finishes from 28 to 43 mm.

Also new is remote access for monitoring and diagnostics (via modem) and control and data export capabilities. Standard VPIs are configured for inspection of the sealing surface, but now the VPI platform has provisions to permit a second camera for other inspections.

The VPI is normally placed in-line between the preform unscrambler and theblowmolder and requires less than 3 ft of floor space. 

Hand-held thickness probe­The HHTP 2000measures container wall thickness and is designed for lab and factory-floor use.It uses capacitance technology, which is said to allow a user to 'touch andmeasure' without the need for target balls or coupling fluids. AGR says thedevice is ideal for hollow products where only single-sided measurement ispossible.

Unit has a large display, a built-in database and RS-232 port. It weighs lessthan 2 lb and has an average battery life of 50 hr. 

AGR International, Inc.
Butler, PA


Spectrophotometer-HunterLab introduced the new ColorQuest XE color measurement spectrophotometer, which is designed to measure such parameters as color, transmission haze, opacity, colorant strength, yellowness index, whiteness index and APHA (Hazen).

Unit features diffuse/8° geometry and measures both reflectance and transmittance. The instrument uses double beam optics and a xenon lamp for long life. Other standard features: a reflectance measurement sample clamp designed to support a range of sample sizes, automated specular component inclusion/exclusion for measuring the effect of gloss and a large transmission measurement sample compartment.

Options and accessories include large/small area measurement with automated lens change, true UV calibration and control for measurement of optically brightened materials, transmission cells for measuring clear liquids, a reflectance shelf for measuring powders, a transmission clamp for measuring thin films and a preform holder for measuring preforms. Other custom holders are available.

Unit comes with Universal QC software that collects, displays, analyzes and stores data.

Reston, VA

Ultrasonic lateral actuator

Ultrasonic lateral actuator-Unit uses a shear motion that allows for assembly of delicate parts that are not weldable with normal plunge systems. To demonstrate the unit at NPE, Branson was welding a micro speaker.
Other applications include delicate and precision electronics parts, contacts, coils and semiconductors. It is also said to be an effective way to join molded components that have thin wall sections or materials that have high melting points (such as polyphenylene sulfide and liquid crystal polymer). The process can also provide a hermetic seal. The Lateral Actuator is available in frequencies of 20, 30 and 40 kHz.

Branson Ultrasonics
Danbury, CT 

Joining/welding technologies

Joining/welding technologies-Demonstrating that the company is not limited to ultrasonics anymore Dukane Corp. showed a range of new welding machines at NPE. Among those notcovered, or covered in little detail inpre-show coverage, are a line of spin welders, a line of thermal presses, a hot plate welder and a mini ultrasonic slitter. Also new: platen thruster technology and Magnum transducers.

There are two spin welding models available: a 3 hp, 3500 rpm unit and a 5 hp, 1750 rpm unit. Both feature a pre-spin cycle mode, which spins the part before applying pressure (this is designed for softer parts that might collapse under pressure), and a pre-load cycle mode, which applies pressure first then spins (designed for rigid parts).

The direct-drive units have adjustable head height, a 7-in. stroke and can weld by time or distance. Up to 20 set-ups can be stored.

Prices range from $14,000 to $20,000, depending on options and tooling. 

There are six units in the Thermal Press line: 1/2-, 1- and 2-ton models with either simple of advanced control. They can be used for heat staking, swaging, thermal insertion or data and code stamping. Head height is adjustable and stroke is up to 3 in.

The advanced models have a touchscreen interface with up to six individual temperature zones. A post-cool staking mode and hydraulic speed control are standard. Shuttle loading is optional.

Prices range between $6500 and $30,000, depending on the number of inserts, temperature zones and other options. 

The hot plate welder features a 12- x 24-in. platen size in either horizontal or vertical configurations. It has rack-and-pinion platen motion, which is said to counter-balance the tools so there are no problems in determining the proper tooling weight settings, pneumatic actuation, vacuum part pick-up and multi-zone temperature control.

Unit comes with an Allen-Bradley Micrologix controller and operator interface. Controller holds up to 10 set-ups. Price is $45,000.

The new 40 khz mini slitter seals and cuts in one pass without fraying, beading or smoke. The flat-face horn can be rotated for a fresh cutting surface, as can the 1-in. slitting anvil, thus saving on spare parts. The base can be positioned in a track (with wheels) so it can traverse bolts of material easily and accurately. 

Dukane also demonstrated its platen thruster technology, which is designed for automotive and other multi-point welding applications. It can be integrated into any multi-head automated machinery or platen system, such as assembly systems for attaching shoddy pad or interior trim impact crush rib attachment.

Dukane says the unit is usually more efficient and cost-effective than adhesives, hot melts and pressure-sensitive adhesives.

Two frequencies are available: 40 and 20 kHz. Unit can tie in with the Dukane's Dynamic Process Controller (DPC) Level 3 to prevent blemishes and other marks on the cosmetic side of the part. Depending on the number of points to be welded, prices range from $60,000 to $250,000. 

Here are some additional features and details on the company's new vibration welders, which first appeared in our May Pre-NPE show issue. p 35:

  • Digital electronic drive
  • Force range up to 3100 psi
  • 10, 15 and 20 hp models
  • Operating frequency range of 200 to 240 Hz
  • Upper tool weight range of 35 to 110 lb
  • Auto-tuning
  • Programmable amplitude from 0.040 to 0.070 in.
  • Closed-loop amplitude control
  • Allen-Bradley SLC 500 Series controller
  • Touchscreen interface
  • Rexroth hydraulic system that welds by time and distance

* Price: $78,000 to $85,000 (withouttooling) 

Finally, Dukane is now offering Magnum transducers on all of its new ultrasonic welding machines. Existing units can be retrofitted.

These transducers are said to extend service life, increase amplitude and power, improve cooling and reduce over-loading due to a patented 'crush fill' technology that directs energy more efficiently to the horn.

In addition, Dukane has replaced the holding pins that hold the transducer driver in its housing with a keyed mechanism that is said to prevent rotation of the driver in the housing. Cooling holes have been added to the front of the driver to dissipate heat. 

Dukane Corp.
St. Charles, IL

Motion controllers

Motion controllers­Delta Computer Systems introduced RMC100-Q1-Profi two-axis linear or rotary motion control modules. These motion controllers use ProfiBus DP 12MBaud and ASIC's open-architecture fieldbus communications technology. It combines ease of programming and positive control of position of velocity within an 'intelligent' self-contained two-axis system.

The module incorporates position or velocity control and other flexibility advantages needed for automating, converting or upgrading production line automation systems in electric, hydraulic and hybrid injection machines.

The RMC100 modules also provide pressure inputs along with the benefits of seamless transfer from pressure to position control in casting and encapsulating, injection and blow molding, extruding, thermoforming and reaction injection molding applications.

The module measures 4.16 x 5.8 x 4.05 in. and weighs 2 lb. The ProfiBus DP interface communicates via input andoutput registers. Unit is also software-configurable so no jumpers or switches are needed. Wiring is via unpluggable terminal blocks.

Each module comes with Delta's monitor software to speed set-up and tuning. This software is said to provide troubleshooting and diagnostic information, calculate scale and direction parameters, allow access to auto-tuning functions, permit changing control parameters from a keyboard and includes a cubic spine algorithm for a 'teach mode.'

In addition, Delta's Event Control Firmware software program is built in to each module where position and discrete motion control even sequence information is performed. Once programmed, an external proximity switch input can trigger production line machinery position changes at a 1 millisecond update rate.

Delta Computer Systems, Inc.
Vancouver, WA

Blown film corona treater

Blown film corona treater-Corotec is targeting the budget-conscious blown film industry with a low-cost, maintenance-free corona treater that incorporates pneumatic operation for easy drop-through thread-up and external electrode adjustment without tools. The system starts at $16,000.

Other features include an open-frame design for easy access, two side treatment capability, swing-out electrode assemblies to simplify cleaning and fixed-width treatment for easy set-up.

The treaters user Corotec's Track-Free insulators, which are made of aproprietary material that is said to bearc-track-proof. In addition, because the material is very hard (as compared to the fiberglass typically used), contaminants and moisture can be wiped off and are not absorbed by the insulator.

Corotec Corp.
Farmington, CT 

Barrier screws for extrusion

Barrier screws for extrusion­ Extrusion equipment maker Davis-Standard says it has taken barrier screw technology for extrusion a step further with its new DSB-V and DSB-V1 barrier screws, introduced at NPE. These screws incorporate a new complicated geometry that is said to enhance melting and performance. They can be used on any brand of extruder.

The DSB-V uses a variable-pitch barrier flight with a new design for the melt mechanism incorporating a modified solids channel that is actually divided into two channels, each with a variable depth. The variable depth is said to assist melting through heat generation via plastic energy dissipation while improving the quality of the mix.

Deformation of the solid bed creates a driving force for flow re-arrangementresulting in early mixing within the melt zone of the screw. At NPE, companyengineers noted that experimental evaluations of the new design havedemonstrated that excellent melt temperature uniformity across a wide range ofscrew speeds is attained, a result they have not seen in other screw designs.

The DSB-V1 is a similarly designed screw developed specifically for groove-feed extrusion. In the DSB-V1, the barrier section creates a balanced radial force aimed at minimizing wear within the highly aggressive environment of a groove feed extruder. Davis-Standard says it creates high output rates that are not attainable with smooth-feed screws.

The design of the DSB-V1 offers similar solids conveying capacity to the DSB-V in groove-feed extrusion but increases melting capacity by some 40%. A variable-lead design for the barrier improves the polymer melting rate, which results in improved stability in head pressure and melt temperature.

The DSB-V1 also has provisions to fit numerous mixing sections to the screw for production of uniform melt properties in order to homogeneously disperse additives, colorants, and polymer blends. Davis-Standard has applied for a patent on both screw designs.

Davis-Standard Corp.
Pawcatuck, CT


Nozzles­Xaloy introduced two new nozzles: the StreamLine shutoff nozzle, which is said to deliver higher flow (30 to 40%, depending on the application), reduced pressure drop and lower maintenance and price, while retaining the reliable shutoff and leak resistance of earlier Xaloy nozzles, and an improved version of the company's open filter nozzle, which is used to protect hot runner systems from contamination.

The new StreamLine shutoff nozzles are said to provide resistance to wear and corrosion because key wear parts are protected with a proprietary CVD (chemical vapor deposition) coating. This also makes them easier to clean, according to the company. In addition, the nozzles can be coated all the way through, so resins do not need to act as a lubricant; this helps to eliminate leakage or drool.

The new design also makes wider use of standard parts than earlier models, resulting in lower maintenance costs and lower initial prices. Prices range between $1000 and $6000, depending on the size and the need for special tips (for example, for gas-assist molding). 

The company also introduced an improved version of its open-filter nozzle, which is used to protect hot runner systems from contamination. Unit is a screw-on nozzle but the flushing port can be fully adjusted (it used to be fixed) so the processor can locate it anywhere.

The filter is based on a gap principle, where gaps are positioned along the cams. This design is said to have an advantage over hole filters because there's less shear on the material so it won't plug the nozzle. 

Pulaski, VA

Heat distortion tester, MFI data acquisition software

Heat distortion tester, MFI data acquisition software-Atlas Electric Devices introduced two new testing products: the Vista6 heat distortion tester andWinPlast, a Windows-based data acquisition package for its MFI2 melt flow indexers (extrusionplastometer).

The Vista6 heat distortion tester was developed in cooperation with resin producers to include features that meet the testing needs of high-volume quality laboratories. The Vista6 hardware and PC-based Vortex software are designed for high sample throughput, increased automation, ease of calibration and operation and more data output and custom report options.

Unit has an immersion bath and dual-stirrer design for temperature uniformity. A pneumatic lift system semi-automatically raises and lowers the test station platform into the bath. This lift, in conjunction with the 'quick-set' LVDT transducer positioning, is said to provide fast and easy sample loading and test set-up by any technician.

Built-in twin water-cooling coils provide rapid cool-down; compressed air clears the coils of water during temperature ramping.

The software control operation involves a 'Methods Editor' window that allows users to access four main areas:

* The General Information section includes selection from ISO or ASTM test methods and units of measurement

* The Test Station Information section allows selection of the applied stress and contains other test station defaults and details

* The Specimen Informationsection contains information on specimen dimensions (exact measurements can be manually keyed in, generic default dimensions can be selected or automatic entry is possible when the unit is interfaced to an optional Mitutoyo micrometer)

* The Report Setup Information section allows grouping of test stations for statistical calculations and report formatting options, including header and user logo.

The Test A Sample screen selects from predefined test set-ups, provides for final editing of test parameters and sample information. Security functions include password protection for changing calibration or test conditions.

Other features include: test station calibration and correction, calculation of added weights to deliver the precise loading force based on actual specimen dimensions, the ability to graphically display and plot entire deflection/penetration curves, the ability to combine ASTM and ISO specimens in the same test run and the ability to easily change from HDT to Vicat testing. 

Testing software The WinPlast package consists of Windows PC software and a 'smart' interface cable to convert the MFI2 output to be compatible with a PC's standard RS-232C serial port. Noseparate cards are placed in the PC so installation, compatibility and networking is simple, according to the company.

WinPlast replaces the earlier DOS-based PC Communications Packageaccessory; up to nine MFI2s can bedaisy-chained to a single PC port. Each MFI2 is coded with a unique address so the software can identify the transmitting instrument in the chain. Test condition parameters, raw test data, calculated results (including rheological properties) and final reports can be sent after each sample run or stored and manually transmitted to the PC later.

From the PC, users can view, annotate and print all the same data. The data is automatically saved and named. A key benefit cited for WinPlast is that it can convert reports to Microsoft Excel format for custom analysis and formatting. Users can compare test runs, generate SQC charts and other graphics, flag off-spec results and generate customized quality or end-user certifications.

For security purposes, only operator or sample-related information and test comments can be edited in WinPlast. Actual test conditions and results are sent 'as run' by the MFI2 and can't be edited in WinPlast. This is done to comply with requirements of such quality systemsas ISO 25/17025 and ISO/QS 9000.Test method set-up is done directlyon the MFI2 and can't be altered bythe PC.

Existing MFI2s, and those currently using the PC Communications Package, can be upgraded to use the WinPlast system; a simple programming (EPROM chip) change is required. New MFI2s will beWinPlast-enabled. 

Atlas Electric Devices Co.
Chicago, IL

Pressure sensors

Pressure sensors­Dynisco Instruments introduced a variety of pressure sensing devices for injection molders and extruders

The new IPX II Series of 'smart'pressure transmitters are designed to remove ambient and sensor temperature effects on pressure measurements,thus allowing high accuracy (0.15%)measurements from up to 25 to 350 C (at pressure ranges up to 750, 1500, 3000, 5000, 7500 and 10,000 psig).

In contrast, conventional smart process transmitters are said to be limited to operation at process temperatures of less than 100 C and their performance accuracy decreases as process temperatures increase.

The transmitters are able to do this because they use a thin-film element and proprietary processing methods to produce an 'ultra-stable' pressure measurement. Current microprocessor-based circuit technology and proprietary software algorithms digitize the pressure measurement and correct for process temperature effects.

Dynisco introduced the first generation of these pressure transmitters last year (Jul '99 PA, p 12). Along with the benefits cited then, the IPX II comes with new SmartLink software, a Windows-based program that allows users to set up and make transmitter adjustments and check sensor diagnostics from the control room or other remote locations.

Cavity pressure controller­The new CPC832 cavity pressure controller from Dynisco Instruments was demonstrated at NPE as part of the cavity pressure control system on an operating injection molding machine in the firm's booth.

This unit is said to offer sophisticated control and reporting features at a lower cost (around $2000) compared to similar models.

The new controller can monitor two channels of pressure in a molding cavity or one pressure in the cavity and the hydraulic pressure. A graphic display at the operator interface presents the profile of each cycle of the machine superimposed on an ideal standard curve.

The CPC832 controls the transition from filling pressure to holding pressure. In addition, it can determine whether a part should be rejected based on failure to achieve a predetermined pressure, or in the event that an excess pressure is detected. Each cycle can be saved to a flash memory card for later review and analysis.

Other features include an RS-485 port with ModBus protocol, 1-10 v dc inputs to accommodate strain gage or piezoelectric sensors, automatic zero at each cycle to eliminate drift between shots and touchscreen display menus for easy programming. 

Piezoelectric cavity pressure sensors­Dynisco's new line of piezoelectric cavity pressure sensors includes Model PCI4012 slide pressure sensor, Model PCI4006 miniature slide pressure sensor and Model PCI4013 button-style miniature load sensor. All offer indirect measurement of cavity pressure from behind the ejector pin.

These units measure loads of up to 2250 lb-force at a resolution of 0.002 lb/force. Standard or high-temperature sensor cables can be used, either of which can be replaced at the machine for easy maintenance.

For direct measurement of cavity pressures up to 30,000 psi and temperature up to 300 C, the new PCD4025 and PCD4040 are offered. These sensors have diameters of 2.5 or 4 mm and an O-ring sealed shaft. As with the PCI units, standard or high-temperature sensor cables can be used.

Also new is a standard charge amplifier to line the piezoelectric pressure sensors and data analysis equipment. Model CHA40XX substitutes for most piezoelectric sensors, including load, pressure and acceleration. It is designed to be compatible with most commercially available units. 

Dynisco Instruments
Franklin, MA