Northfield, Minn.-based LiteSentry LLC came up with a version of its distortion inspection technology for sheet plastic extrusion applications, including architecture.
The Osprey 9 CW provides real-time inspection and measurement of optical distortions over the entire web of polycarbonate and acrylic in continuous products.
The inspection happens soon after the forming process but prior to cutting into sheets so extruders can recognize distortion issues and use process control information to adapt forming variables, such as thickness.
LiteSentry says several sheet plastic extruders that service the architectural industry use the equipment, which is a refined version of the technology it has provided glass fabricators for 20 years.
The system was developed for monitoring continuous product and works with all clear and colored polycarbonate and acrylic by quantifying the distortion measurement. The data and images are saved for traceability and audibility.
Sheet plastic manufacturers face increasing expectations of quality aesthetics from their customers, according to LiteSentry Founder Mark Abbott.
“The quality of architectural glass has improved tremendously since manufacturers started measuring distortion and controlling their processes based on the results. Plastics manufacturers are starting to discover that they can benefit from this same technology,” Abbott said in a news release.
Compared to manual inspections, the distortion inspection technology saves on costly scrap generated when quality defects are discovered too late.
In addition to the glass and sheet plastic, LiteSentry serves the solar photovoltaic market.
The company has installed over 450 inspection systems measuring distortion, flatness, defects, blemishes, size, and geometry; and 1,000 measurement sensors to monitor thickness, coating and air gap.
LiteSentry says the first inspection system it installed back in April 2000 is still running 24/7 nearly two decades later.