Spotlight – Quality assurance

Materials World magazine
1 Jan 2015

Natalie Daniels explores how companies are improving standards
by using and developing new technologies. 

Raising the bar of quality control is an improvement a number of companies are making to ensure a product is of high standard. One firm enabling this is UK-based Zund with its G3 digital cutter, an automated cutting and trimming system for the packaging industry. The system can handle thicker materials of up to 110mm and has increased beam height to 120mm. It has been designed for 24/7 operations and a 60mm clearance between beam and cutting surface ensures an optimised workflow. The technology also includes a safety system with light barriers and four emergency stop buttons.

Also improving quality in the UK is Intrinsiq Materials, with the LAPS-60 system. The 2D system is controlled with an IR laser for sintering off fine lines, and is used for printing electronically conductive structures. It has a thick layer penetration, so printed layers of more than 30µm can be cured. It can be used with a compatible range of high-thermally conductive materials, and has a high laser power and lens system. The technology can be designed as a pre production or standalone device.

Meanwhile, European firm Ishida has launched the IX-G2-4027-H X-ray system for manufacturers in the food industry. It checks the quality of packaged meat and other foods by looking for bones and contamination. It can also identify missing pieces, any deformations, and estimates weight. The model features a 43cm thin-film transistor touch-screen with 100 product settings to allow fast changeover times. It has transfer speeds of between 10–60m/min and transfers weight up to 5kg. Inspection range can reach 400mm in width and up to 150mm in height. IX-G2 conveyor belts can be removed and replaced.

Quality is also monitored for various packaging applications. Sick Sensor Intelligence, based in Germany, has created the Lector 620 scanner for quality checking. The machine can verify plain text letters, symbols, QR codes and numbers at distances between 30–300mm while stationary and at speeds of up to 4m/s. It can decode all common 1D, 2D and stacked codes, and has optical character recognition. Its M12 quick disconnect swivel connectors allow for mounting in tight spaces, such as against railings and walls. Its compact size also allows the scanner to be mounted in small spaces. The Sick Lector 620 offers USB ethernet connection to a factory communications network and for remote reading and data logging. It also comes compatible with CAN bus or Profibus protocols.

It is these quality control instruments that are helping to ensure manufactured products are of high standard.

Next month's Spotlight is on heat treatment