Ampacet LIAD introduces Spectro 4.0 Smart TechnologiesTM, a lineup of vision automation solutions for in-line colour management and correction.
The first of two products in the lineup is Spectro 4.0 SmartTM, a colour measurement system for extrusion and moulding processes that helps customers control the cost of quality due to colour variations, using real-time colour data for QC analytics and colour optimisation.
Spectro 4.0 Smart ensures every part meets colour specifications through Industry 4.0 advances such as optical real-time and in-line monitoring, using a fibre optic probe that can be positioned within the production line. The system automatically adjusts for colour variations even when using PCR and regrind materials and operates within tight colour tolerances to reduce colour usage and costs.
“Parts can now be measured instantly, thanks to a fibre optic sensor that communicates real-time colour data,” says Doug Brownfield, Commercial Director, Ampacet LIAD. “Spectro 4.0 Smart enables companies to reduce the cost of quality due to colour issues and facilitates the collection of historical data to improve future productivity.”
Spectro 4.0 Smart operates in real-time on the production line to provide immediate and actionable colour management. The system’s differential spectrophotometer compares the colour of the new product to a reference colour in real-time. The fibre optic probe performs reflection measurements; multiple and interchangeable probes are in development for simultaneous multi-point measurement of haze, opacity and transmission and to allow selection from differential or absolute testing modes.
The in-line system, designed to work in harsh industrial environments, also includes automatic built-in calibration against drifts and ambient illumination. A cloud capability is available for off-site tracking and alerts.
Spectro 4.0 Smart connects with another product in the Spectro 4.0 lineup, Ampacet LIAD’s patented SpectroMetricTM system, a major advance in colour accuracy technology. SpectroMetric integrates all of the benefits of the Spectro 4.0 in-line spectrophotometer with the SpectroMetric in-line continuous colour correction system. It incorporates the ColorSave 1000 masterbatch feeder to adjust masterbatch dosing automatically, in real-time, ensuring colour consistency.
SpectroMetric runs on L*a*b* specifications, not on set LDRs, and continually monitors for the lowest possible colourant usage rates to maintain correct colour specifications –even when running PCR or regrind. The result is a system that seamlessly feeds, tests, monitors and corrects without human intervention, supporting lights-out operation.
Other benefits obtained when using Spectro 4.0 QC solutions include colour production line standardisation in multiple facilities regardless of manufacturing location; minimal maintenance, elimination of lot-to-lot variations in colour commonly associated with increased use of PCR or regrind and operation within extremely tight tolerances, enabling prediction and maintenance of lower masterbatch levels.
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