Major consumers of plastic sheet include cars, trucks, planes and trains, along with medical technology, building, construction and technical products. Typically, the terminology 'sheet' is used for plastic boards with thicknesses higher than 1 mm. Plastic structures with thicknesses less than 1 mm are referred to as 'films'. Packaging accounts for roughly half of all extruded plastics sheet, and much of that is thermoformed into the packages found at the supermarket. Rigid sheets are used in construction work: acrylic glass is well-known in football stadiums, polycarbonate for ski lift bubbles but also polyethylene for toy and leisure products.
Applications significantly differ by end-use, used polymer compounds, surface texture, additives, mechanical impact and bending properties, appearing crystal clear, totally opaque and every gradation in between. The differences are endless but all plastic converters face the same issue: raw material costs can get very high.
Hammer-IMS provides products for measuring sheet thicknesses while being extruded. We measure continuously, enabling you to optimize the usage of raw materials. Contactless measurement with high stand-off distance avoids scratches on your optical-grade sheets, also for sheet thicknesses up to several centimeters.
The plastics sheet extrusion industry is diversified. Hammer-IMS can measure a myriad of materials: PE (HDPE, LDPE), PP, PA, ABS, EVA, PMMA, PMP, PC, PE, PPS, PVC, PVDF, PET, The plastic sheet applications vary by end use, material (or multiple materials), surface texture, material rigidity, appearing crystal clear, totally opaque and every gradation in between — the differences are endless.
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), sometimes referred to as thermoplastic rubbers, are a class of copolymers or a physical mix of polymers (usually a plastic and a rubber) that consist of materials with both thermoplastic and elastomeric properties. Hammer-IMS can both measure the thickness of both thermosets and thermoplastics. For instance, thermoplastic olefins (TPO) are increasingly used as a roofing material. TPEs are also widely used for catheters where nylon copolymers offer a range of softness ideal for patients.
The plastics conversion industry is highly-automated. Check out our technology section to find out which control loops Hammer-IMS can assist you with. Overall, The M-Ray based measuring solutions of Hammer-IMS offer lower total cost of ownership (TCO) compared to conventional nuclear and radioactive measuring technologies. This is good news for manufacturers with the ambition to equip their production lines with faster and more accurate quality control.
Plastic sheet manufacturers can decide on the width of the CURTAIN frame and the number of integrated measuring units. This way, the solution supports high-width production and situations where quick feedback is required. The Marveloc-CURTAIN solution measures material up to 30 centimeters thick, and uses one or more fixed or traveling sensors for maximum coverage in cross-machine direction. This enables the system to detect local deviations that are likely to correspond to individual screwing bolts of the extrusion die. Our software Connectivity 3.0 supports bolt mapping as shown in the screenshot below.
Based on studies, trials and customer feedback, Hammer-IMS could offer your company a reduction of the material thickness margin from 200 micrometer to 20 micrometer. Continuously saving 180 micrometer of material content, on average, leads to impressive financial savings. This means more than 1,000 metric tons of raw material that are saved in one year on a single 2-meter wide polycarbonate extrusion line that runs 24/7. A solution realizing this business case would look like the one as shown below. Read more here.
The M-Ray based measuring systems of Hammer-IMS can be easily placed in a plastics extrusion line on the production floor. Typically, they are located between the cooling rollers and the cutter.
Our CURTAIN integrates our Marveloc technologies enabling full-industrial solutions. CURTAINs are tailored to perform a 24/7 industrial measurement task. Each CURTAIN machine can be equiped by our innovative Marveloc measuring devices of which multiple flavors exist (M-Ray, C-Ray, U-Ray and L-Ray). The CURTAIN itself is basically a rigid metal frame that support high measurement reliability and robustness. The rigidity of the frame guarantees robust measurements even in harsh environments.
MARVELOC-CURTAIN for Labs
In addition to a range of in-line solutions, Hammer-IMS offers thickness and basis-weight measuring systems for laboratory use. Typically, lab systems consist of a single fixed measurement head, optionally equipped with a feeder and/or scanner. The incorporated M-Ray measurement technology is non-radioactive and non-nuclear, so no increased safety precautions or legal restrictions apply for your lab environment. In-depth measurements from within a lab-environment are typically performed for purposes of: production process optimization; when developing new materials such as nonwovens, plastics or coatings, ...; to investigate used specimens to draw conclusions about endurance, wear and material stability.
The CURTAIN C-frame system, displayed on the right, uses a 100% classic scanning C-frame concept. Its design is sleek and slim. The CURTAIN itself is basically a rigid metal frame that support high measurement reliability and robustness. The rigidity of the frame guarantees robust measurements even in harsh environments. Each CURTAIN machine can be equiped by our innovative Marveloc measuring devices of which multiple flavors exist (M-Ray, C-Ray, U-Ray and L-Ray). 'Marveloc' brings the power of multi-head to classic C-frame measuring technology. The pure electronic nature of the Marveloc technoloy within this fixed or scanning frame is non-nuclear and non-radioactive. C-frame CURTAIN systems are available with arm lengths up to 2 meter. Such systems are extremely flexible because they can simply be inserted on either side of a production line without interrupting production. C-frame type systems can be used on lines of any material width.
M-Ray OEM Module
Whether you are a machine builder, a sensor integrator, a scientific researcher, or just an enthusiast, Hammer-IMS can provide you with an additional M-Ray eye on your measurement tasks. Hammer-IMS is proud to present you its newly developed M-Ray OEM module.
The device has been developed with the main intention to open up the world of non-nuclear and non-radioactive thickness and basis-weight measurement to manufacturers of inline quality control systems. M-Rays - electromagnetic waves just like those used in your cell phone - can be applied to measure plastics, fabrics, nonwovens, coatings, etc. We are happy to assist you with your OEM projects.
Hammer-IMS released the brand new M-Ray based Marveloc-CHARIOT (or shorter the Chariot!) measuring machine. The compact system is perfectly suited for new and retrofit production lines of thick nonwovens, coated textiles and heavy plastic sheets. The new system efficiently measures the basis-weight or thickness where capacitive measurements are typically not an option. The Chariot is an affordable solution as it incorporates a single-sensor traveling unit that scans the entire product width.
Hammer-IMS excels in inline process and production control. With our EDGE-VISION-4.0-C product family we are adding a new eye to your product or process. We are offering this new product in the same industries we are targeting with our inline thickness and basis-weight measuring solutions (our Marveloc-CURTAIN and Marveloc-CHARIOT products).