Dynisco eliminates mercury in sensors

By James Snodgrass
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: October 24, 2013 10:49 am ET
Updated: October 24, 2013 10:52 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Process Controls & Software, K 2013, Business News & Features

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — Walking around K, it’s all “green” this, “blue” that and “eco” the other. But when Franklin, Mass.-based Dynisco LLC introduced Vertex, its mercury-free melt-pressure sensor in October 2012, Matthew Carrara, vice president and general manager of Dynisco Plastics, didn’t intend the “green” connotations of the brand.

“We didn’t realize until afterwards that “vert” was French for “green.” I thought of the name “Vertex” meaning “apex,” the top of the pile. And the “ex” in the logo symbolizes the diaphragm flexing,” he said.

Whether or not the branding was intentional, the intention behind the product was green — getting rid of mercury.

Carrara explained: “If you go back historically, the typical melt-pressure sensor transmits flow by mercury. So inherently there’s a belief of toxicity with mercury in any product, even though it’s a very small amount.”

Several companies over the years have tried to perfect making a pressure sensor without mercury that still gives the features and benefits of mercury. Dynisco (Hall 10, G20) spent nearly 10 years researching different types of technology.

“Four years ago we nailed down a technology that’s a capacitance-based technology,” said Carrara, “Two plates move and measure the distance and capacitance, and that gives you a corresponding output through a voltage that you can convert to a signal.

“The beautiful thing is it’s simple. It really only has two moving parts. One of the benefits of it is that the diaphragm is about 7½ times thicker than a typical melt-pressure diaphragm, which are about the thickness of a piece of paper. So if you drop it, or nick it, or ding it, you can actually render the unit inoperable, because it’s so thin. The increased thickness provides protection not just on the bottom but up the sides as well.”

The ill-effects of mercury are obvious. “The waste stream was the big problem,” Carrara said. “If a unit fails, the plastic goes up and clogs it, so you don’t have much concern of [contaminated] plastic getting back in the process. But people never want to take the chance.”

Traditionally, Dynisco recalled sensors that failed in the field and reclaimed and refined the mercury, because “not many people are mining mercury in the United States these days.”

The advantage of Vertex, being mercury-free, is that it can be used in food extrusion, medical packaging and other applications where the possibility of mercury contamination would be unthinkable.

Carrara was keen to point out Vertex’s four-year warranty. In wear tests, Dynisco claims that Vertex will last three or four times longer than a normal pressure sensor.

He said that, in the field, sensors are used in really rugged applications, with temperatures up to 400° C, and materials that are sometimes corrosive and sometimes abrasive.


Comments

Dynisco eliminates mercury in sensors

By James Snodgrass
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: October 24, 2013 10:49 am ET
Updated: October 24, 2013 10:52 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Design group Hexagon buys Vero Software to upgrade CAM capabilities

July 22, 2014 9:51 am ET

Stockholm-based Hexagon AB, a design technology company, has announced its acquisition of Vero Software, a leader in computer aided...    More

Image

NDC, Beta LaserMike create new business, NDC Technologies

July 14, 2014 3:45 pm ET

NDC Infrared Engineering and Beta LaserMike, sister companies that make high-end part measurement and control systems, launched a strategic merger to ...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events