Ampacet LIAD has just introduced Spectro 4.0 Smart Technologies™, a lineup of innovative continuous in-line quality control (QC) solutions for colour management. The line includes Spectro 4.0 Smart™, 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, CISystems/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. Multiple and interchangeable probes will be available for simultaneous multi-point measurement of haze, opacity, reflection 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 SpectroMetric™ system, a major advance in colour accuracy technology. SpectroMetric integrates all the benefits of the Spectro 4.0 in-line spectrometer 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.
See Spectro 4.0 Smart Technologies™ in action at Ampacet/LIAD Booth 514 at the Injection Molding & Design Expo 2022 in Detroit, May 25-26.