Ampacet LIAD introduces Spectro 4.0 Smart Technologies™, a lineup of innovative continuous in-line QC solutions for color management.
The first of two products in the lineup is Spectro 4.0 Smart™, a color measurement system for extrusion and molding processes that helps customers control the cost of quality due to color variations, using real-time color data for QC analytics and color optimization.
Spectro 4.0 Smart ensures every part meets color specifications through Industry 4.0 advances such as optical real-time and in-line monitoring, using a fiber optic probe that can be positioned within the production line. The system automatically adjusts for color variations even when using PCR and regrind materials and operates within tight color tolerances to reduce color usage and costs.
“Parts can now be measured instantly, thanks to a fiber optic sensor that communicates real-time color data,” says Doug Brownfield, Commercial Director, CISystems/LIAD. “Spectro 4.0 Smart enables companies to reduce the cost of quality due to color issues and faciliates 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 color management. The system’s differential spectrophotometer compares the color of the new product to a reference color in real time. The fiber 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 SpectroMetric™ system, a major advance in color accuracy technology. SpectroMetric integrates all of the benefits of the Spectro 4.0 in-line spectrophotometer with the SpectroMetric in-line continuous color correction system. It incorporates the ColorSave 1000 masterbatch feeder to adjust masterbatch dosing automatically, in real time, ensuring color consistency.
SpectroMetric runs on L*a*b* specifications, not on set LDRs, and continually monitors for the lowest possible colorant usage rates to maintain correct color specifications. The system automatically adjusts for color variations even when using PCR and regrind materials and operates within tight color tolerances to reduce color usage and costs.
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 color production line standardization in multiple facilities regardless of manufacturing location; minimal maintenance, elimination of lot-to-lot variations in color commonly associated with increased use of PCR or regrind and operation within extremely tight tolerances, enabling prediction and maintenance of lower masterbatch levels.