Process integration and data feedback

Process data feedback at Vetex

Vetex has embarked on the path of more and more data capture and data-based decision making. Specifically for medical laminate, Vetex avoids that excessive coating, which results in poor comfort, reaches the customer. Through data capture, it is possible to identify excessive coating sections which can be removed further down the process.

Thanks to the new measuring system, it is possible for Vetex to better monitor the quality of their product and look at process optimization itself. This allows Vetex to improve their process in the future and possibly reduce costs by also reducing the amount of scrap.

Automatically adjusted coating knife

Hammer-IMS installed an inline multi-sensor quality control machine at Toiltech in France, a manufacturer of technical and industrial textiles. The machine configuration applies a closed-loop feedback system. It uses measurement data to automatically adjust the coating knife in the production process of coated textiles. This way, Toiltech consistently maintains textile thickness and basis-weight. Multiple M-Ray sensors measure textile grammage inline as an integral part of the textile manufacturing line. In addition, the system contains L-Ray laser sensors for measuring textile thickness. Both the M-Ray and L-Ray sensors are integrated into the Hammer-IMS Connectivity 3.0 software as a single point of interaction. The Hammer-IMS system enables Toiltech to automatically safeguard premium coated textile quality.

Advanced Monitoring and data feedback as part of our Industry 4.0 story

To maximize production quality, Hammer-IMS supports remote connectivity, real-time feedback to the process, closed-loop production adjustment as well as data logging and analytics.

Any Marveloc-CURTAIN or Marveloc-CHARIOT measuring solution is controlled through the Connectivity 3.0 software of Hammer-IMS. It is easy to use, contains various industry-specific visualizations, and is available pre-installed on a rugged industrial PC or a desktop PC (for lab applications) offering a widescreen experience. The software offers various time-stamped and position-based visualizations, which enable operators and managers to monitor production quality and take corrective actions when necessary. Furthermore it enables the following four Industry 4.0 features:

  • Remote connectvity
  • Real-time feedback to the process
  • Closed-loop production adjustment
  • Data logging and analytics

Real-time process feedback and closed-loop adjustment

Maximize production quality through advanced monitoring and data feedback

Remote connectivity and real-time feedback to the process

Our Connectivity 3.0 software can be connected to the internet, or to a customer network by means of TeamViewer or a VNC-VPN-combination, allowing engineers from Hammer-IMS to guarantee quick service response times. Furthermore, remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance and firmware upgrades minimize machine downtime and service costs for you. Alternatively, the customer may want to use the VNC-VPN-feature, in specific, acting as a remote visual on the computer system's screen.

Our Data Connection extension module allows for interconnecting our scanner products to third-party PLC systems through the following industry-standard bus protocols:

  • Modbus TCP/IP
  • OPC UA

Data logging and analytics

Data monitoring and analysis on plant level allows product quality to be safeguarded more effectively and efficiently. To support automatic measurement data logging and analytics, we offer integrations with commercial database systems such as Microsoft SQL Server or data transfer over FTP or SFTP. This is practical for quality engineers to analyze measurement data in Microsoft Excel and draw conclusions on product trends or production line trends. If the customer does not have any SQL server of (S)FTP server at its disposal, it can transfer data files manually as well. For that, there is also a front USB socket on our rugged industrial computer platform, which can be configured to support a wide range of USB-sticks.

Continuous inline die adjustment

As an option, we feed measurement data directly to automatic process controllers, or provide you with our industry-specific controller. Think about controlling the die in a plastic sheet extrusion line or controlling the calender or a coating knife for coated textiles. Such closed-loop feedback solutions respond quickly and operate automatically to systematically keep your production within specifications.

Plastic film extrusion is certainly an industry using plenty of control loops. Tuning the flat-die opening on the basis of thickness information is the most important control loop for cast film. It does not matter whether you are using thermo or piezo die-bolts, or using a robot or manual feedback. The knowledge about which bolt to tune is indispensable to optimize your products’ thickness profile. We identify the right tuning bolt for you and your production equipment.

Another control application concerns neck-in. This is a condition in which the width of an extruded film narrows while the film edges become thicker than in the middle film regions. This phenomenon only occurs with flat film extrusion and not with circular blown-film extrusion. Neck-in results in a situation where edges are required to be cut off, which creates material waste and thus financial cost. Even if the cut-off material waste is being recycled in less virgin-grade film products, the financial cost may be considerably high when significant neck-in occurs. Appropriate visualization of neck-in tendencies by tracking the position and thickness of the film edges is therefore important. The Hammer-IMS Connectivity 3.0 software can assist in this. A similar phenomenon is film shrink.

Closed-loop adjustment for any process

Biaxially-oriented films, such as BOPP and BOPET, need stretching in both machine direction (MD) and cross-machine direction (CD) in order to create materials which exhibit similar mechanical properties in both directions. The process is carried out on specific machines which simultaneously and sequentially perform the stretching operation in the MD and CD. The degree of stretching the film determines the thickness of the film. More stretching creates a thinner film, less creates thicker films. Hammer-IMS is able to deliver the appropriate feedback information to support such processes.

Especially in the field of blown-film applications, haul-off control is applied to ensure rolls of extruded films that are ‘cylindrically-shaped’ without containing bumps. Blown films typically face a systematic microscopic waviness due to the nature of the circular die. The discrete portlines in the mandrel cause this waviness. Non-cylindrical film rolls may occur if inappropriate randomness is introduced during haul-off. Hammer-IMS is However not active in the field of blown-film extrusion, Hammer-IMS is able to introduce randomness during haul-off, which is increasingly seen as part of the cast film extrusion process. Contact Hammer-IMS to discuss your specific application details.

In textile coating, doctor-blade control enables to equally distribute coating materials on the textile substrate. Hammer-IMS can provide actuator information for two motor drives controlling the blade’s stand-off and tilting. Contact Hammer-IMS for further information.

Calendering lines require gap control, cross-axis control and even bending of the calender’s rolls. Discuss your case with us to see what is possible.

The Hammer-IMS hardware and Connectivity 3.0 software directly support ModBus TCP/IP as its main connection technology. Compatibility with any other industrial bus can be foreseen as protocol converters are commercially available, which is typically the case.