Three years ago, Inoex GmbH had a corner of the Dynisco LLC booth at NPE, with Dynisco serving as a sales agent for the German company.
Now with a North American base established as Inoex LLC, the company had an independent presence at NPE 2003, and a first North American installation of a specialized ultrasonic testing system for pipe systems.
The company's in-line testing equipment, with real-time flaw detection, already is a standard for high-end pipe manufacturers in Europe, where it is required for gas and hot water lines. The equipment also is used in pipe production in South America and Asia.
Coastline Plastics Inc. of Yulee, Fla., now is putting it in production for the first time in the United States.
Beyond measuring wall thickness, the Inoex ultrasonic can take up to 50,000 measurements per second, providing visual inspection of pipes up to 20 inches in diameter, running at line speeds of up to 165 feet per minute.
But while the system typically is seen as something only needed for high-end pipes, processors are discovering benefits for a far wider range of products.
Ultrasonic sensors allow businesses to monitor their finished product and see quickly if there are any problems that could result in complaints from the customer.
They also can track consistency and determine through the profile if the resin is being distributed properly.
The tests, in essence, can determine if molders are losing money through production flaws.
``You might as well wrap dollar bills on the pipe when you send it to your customer, because that is money you are losing'' without proper testing, said Rainer Kottmeier, managing director of Inoex GmbH in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.
The testing units can make back their initial investment costs in just months, Kottmeier said.
``Even with a low-quality pipe, it makes sense,'' said Siegmar Schmidt, president of Inoex LLC.
The ultrasonic sensors can work independently or in concert with Inoex's gravimetric sensors to improve quality, increase productivity and reduce scrap, Schmidt said.