Plastics

Infrared thermography is a technique that can be used in the plastics industry for process optimization and quality improvement, as well as in the development of new tools; Important factors to consider in the plastic production processes, among others, are injection, molding, heat sealing, blowing or laminating.

Many manufacturers use integrated solutions with thermography as an essential tool to inspect, control and improve each of their processes, since temperature plays a fundamental role in them. For this, the bcbMonitor 4.0 and FLIR cameras can be perfectly matched.

Applications

Injection molding is the most widely used manufacturing process for the production of plastic parts. The production of these parts varies greatly in size, complexity, and application. The injection molding process requires the use of an injection machine, raw plastic and the mold, which shapes the plastic element. The plastic is melted in the machine and then is injected into the mold where, later, it cools and solidifies to get the final component.

Both, the temperature of the mold and the temperature of the molten plastic material, have a significant effect on the result of the finished product. Each type of plastic used in this process has a different melting point and optimum injection temperature as it passes through the nozzle to the sprue. The temperature must be carefully monitored during the process to avoid pinholes and deformations in the final product. For this application we have developed the bcbDieScan that allows monitoring in key applications, using FLIR thermal imaging cameras, such as:

  • Continuous monitoring, of polymer supply control.
  • Continuous checking of molds and parts (temperature and control profiles based on cycle-by-cycle readings).

Extrusion is one of the most widely used manufacturing processes in many industries. Any long element with a constant cross section was probably made by extrusion.

The process generally begins with a thermoplastic shaped like pellets or granules. They are typically stored in a hopper (a funnel-shaped receptacle) before they are sent to a heated keg. Then, the molten plastic is forced through a shaped hole, typically a customized steel die with a cross-sectional shape of the intended part, forming a continuous tube- or rod-shaped workpiece. The cooling of the workpiece should be as uniform as possible. With the bcbMonitor 4.0 software, this uniformity can be guaranteed, in addition to the following applications:

  • Continuous monitoring of the process.
  • Polymer supply control.
  • Continuous checking of molds and temperature profiles.
  • Internal scale detection.
  • Synchronization for machining steps.

Lamination is a process oriented to manufacture a composite element with improved strength, stability, and appearance through the use of two or more materials stacked in multiple layers. A wide range of materials are known to laminate to each other, and the process continues until the laminate has the desired properties. Finally, the laminate is permanently assembled by heat, pressure, welding, or adhesives.

Technological advancement in the field of lamination has led to different ways in which sheets can be manufactured. Hot lamination, extrusion lamination, flame lamination, and adhesive lamination are some of these processing approaches. The bcbMonitor 4.0 has been developed to control the temperature in this process and in the other applications:

  • Continuous calendering analysis.
  • Hot spots in laminates.
  • Burner temperature measurement.
  • Continuous checking of rollers.

Blow molding is a process where heated plastic is blown into a mold cavity. The defining characteristic of a blow molding is that it is used to create hollow objects. The raw plastic is heated first, then is formed by placing it in a preform and subsequently this plastic preform is fixed to the top of the mold where air is finally blown over it by stretching it through the inner walls of the mold cavity.

With the bcbMonitor 4.0 thermal process monitoring system integrated with FLIR thermal imaging cameras, blow molders with all types of equipment can continuously monitor the temperature of the preform. This information can be used with PLC systems to provide excellent quality control. In addition to the predictive capabilities of infrared monitoring, the optimal preform temperature can now be adjusted for part quality, consistency and weight. Know the applications:

  • Preform temperature control using infrared thermography.
  • Continuous checking of molds and parts (temperature and control profiles based on cycle-by-cycle readings).

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