Plastics Technology

NOV 2018

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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Thermal imaging is considered both a sophisticated and subjective method to measure temperature because it's taking an "apparent" temperature. However, it can greatly assist in troubleshooting and process development. The purpose of this article is to show how it can supplement—not necessarily replace—other types of heat-sensing equipment and be less subjective. One of the biggest benefits to using thermal imaging is the speed at which a problem can be noted and quantified. When troubleshooting injec- tion molding equipment, it is a quick way to find discrepancies in barrel heaters, water flows, dryers or mold heaters. Higher-end thermal imaging cameras (TICs) can be pricey, but there are a lot of low- and mid-grade units that can be just as effective. Over the past few months, we at Juno Pacific, a molder that specializes in medical device manufacturing, have been trying to integrate TICs into our process-development and troubleshooting toolbox. To justify the investment, we took a known, calibrated, handheld pyrometer and compared its accuracy with that of the TIC before we purchased a higher-end camera. The following information is a compilation of the data we collected to justify the purchase and substantiate the idea that the device could be used on for troubleshooting and main- taining process stability. The first big obstacle that anyone must overcome in making this leap to thermal imaging is to bridge the gap between actual temperature and "apparent" temperature. Since infrared (IR) images are non-contact, they obviously take into account things like ambient temperature and other outside factors. However, as we quickly found, the data proves that there is little discrepancy between the apparent temperatures and contact- temperature measurements in an ambient environment. The speed at which IR images can be viewed and developed is where the real benefit lies. By Michael J. Mortvedt Juno Pacific QUESTIONS ABOUT HEATING AND COOLING? Visit the Heating Cooling Zone. One of the biggest advantages of using an IR camera for process verification and troubleshooting is the non-contact aspect of getting data. It can aid in process development, production monitoring, and troubleshooting. Here's one molder's primer on the subject. What Thermal Imaging Can Do For Your Molding Process Color variation shows temperature difference based on surface reflectivity. It is a factor to consider when purchasing an IR camera for higher reflectivity surfaces. 44 NOVEMBER 2018 Plastics Technology PTonline.com Tips and Techniques

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