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Kistler tackles in-line quality control

Kistler tackles in-line quality control

Сase studies

Mikell Knights, senior correspondent from Plastics Machinery Magazine

Kistler's latest data management system, the CoMo DataCenter 2.0, combines process and quality-related production information into one database for data management and analysis of injection molding processes. The process-monitoring capabilities of the newest Como DataCenter (CDC) can be integrated into Kistler's CoMo injection system to create an in-line quality control check for manufacturing processes, says Paul Lagonegro, application manager for plastics at Kistler.

The new hand-held sensor tester from Kistler is the firm’s first unit that tests the sensor, the cable and the insulation resistance all from one device.

Production data for both live and completed orders from multiple injection molding machines, linked to the CDC 2.0, allows users to analyze processes across multiple machines. Production monitoring information relating to the status of each injection molding machine can be viewed at a glance at the machine or remotely through a Web browser on a computer or mobile device.

CDC 2.0 features all software components integrated in an installation package that can be launched with a button click, eliminating the need to link interfaces manually. Since the CDC accesses an integrated database, the need to purchase additional database storage is eliminated. An optional expert version of CDC 2.0 allows data in the database to be integrated in a user's IT system, for unlimited data comparability.

The system comes with a range of evaluation functions to analyze process fluctuations and molding process cycles in detail.

Updated features or functionality to Como DataCenter 2.0 include a new overlay screen that allows the user to see the status of a selected machine on a single screen. The color-coded overlays make machine status simpler to assess. An improved calendar function lets users access a specific production data set more easily, using an updated scrolling function. Kistler improved the underlying code of its software so that it takes up less data storage and enhances overall system speed and efficiency, says Lagonegro.

CDC 2.0 has improved communication and monitoring with upstream material handling and downstream ancillary equipment. Production data from a dryer, chiller or temperature controller can be integrated into the system to enhance the analysis of the stability of the process. "Pulling data from thermocouples that are monitoring water temperature has helped users determine if the actual water flow rates and temperature are hitting the target numbers and pulling the required amount of heat out of the process," says Lagonegro. Critical parameters that are open loop are ideal for monitoring.

Kistler now offers its 6183C cavity-pressure sensor with exchangeable cables that allow users to quickly swap a damaged cable for a new one.

Come to your sensors
Kistler recently developed several miniature cavity-pressure sensors with exchangeable cables, which allow for on-site replacement by the molder. Its Type 6183C pressure sensor with a 1mm front diameter and its Type 6182C sensor with a 2.5mm front diameter are both now offered with an exchangeable cable or in a cableless style.

A variant of these sensors can be mounted with a charge-bearing spacer sleeve, where the charge signal from the sensor is transmitted directly to a contact element in the tooling insert through the spacer sleeve, without need for a cable. The contact element installation eases handling of the mold insert during maintenance and repair work.

Kistler also updated its 4350A strain transmitter used for toggle machine clamping force measurement and mold protection monitoring. The transmitter advancement speaks to Kistler's continued development of sensors for injection molding machines, says Lagonegro.

Kistler has also developed a new sensor for use with resin transfer molding (RTM) processes that ensures the identification of filling errors and deviations from optimized process sequences. At the same time the new sensor not only measures cavity pressure but also can facilitate measuring of the vacuum in an evacuated RTM tool. All process steps can be monitored, and cascaded filling operations for large molded parts can be managed with use of the sensor.

Kistler also developed its new 5495B hand-held sensor tester that verifies the operational sensitivity of the sensor and can test thermocouple sensors as well. The unit, released last year, determines if the sensor is properly installed, and the cable is tested for insulation resistance, says Lagonegro.

The 5495B is Kistler's first all-in-one device that tests the sensor, cable and insulation resistance. "The unit saves a lot of troubleshooting time in the field, helping molders quickly source the origin of problems. A molder installed our sensors and claimed they weren't operating. We began the test and quickly discovered that the molder hadn't connected the sensor wires to the connection plate," says Lagonegro.

Kistler's 4021 nozzle sensor brings monitoring capability to electric molding machines, says Lagonegro. The sensor, available for about two years, has become a major seller to medical molders with all-electric machines looking to validate all aspects of their molding operations. It acts as a verification of readings posted to the control panel. The sensor is calibrated in the factory.

Tool determines cost of poor quality
Kistler developed a tool initially targeting molders for automotive, aeronautical and space technologies that contrasts the costs of poor quality-system monitoring and control with the cost of investing in Kistler products. The Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ) tool calculates the return on investment of a Kistler system used for process monitoring and quality assurance.

COPQ combines Kistler's sensor technology and systems to measure and analyze cavity pressure during molding, monitor the process and reduce or reject defects immediately upon production, says Lagonegro.


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