Inline color measurement automates plastics production

12-05-2015

However, the colorCONTROL ACS7000 inline color measurement system from Micro-Epsilon can inspect the color of the injection-moulded parts as they are extracted from the mould and not just after cooling down. The described method saves time and allows for a 100% color quality control.

As soon as parts from different manufacturers made from different materials are combined into assemblies, the safe adherence of required color values becomes an essential quality assurance issue. In order to provide a 100 per cent control of the exact product color shade during the plastics injection moulding, the SKZ (Süddeutsche Kunststoff-Zentrum) has developed and tested a method as part of a study for different surfaces. The system uses an empirically determined correlation of the color between warm and cold pieces (thermochromism behavior). Even with a temperature difference of just 20°C, color deviations of more than 2 ΔE units can occur depending on the coloring. Color measurements carried out with colorCONTROL ACS7000 and temperature measurements using the infrared thermoMETER CT sensor generate a master curve at several different temperature levels that describes the thermochromic behavior of the colored polymer.This allows color values determined on a warm component to be converted to room temperature.

The cooling curves pre-determined and stored in the software allow the color values determined during the de-moulding process to be converted into a reference temperature (20°C). The color is now automatically checked earlier in the process, which optimizes productivity and output compared to conventional sample checks.

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