Smaller Scanners Gauge Finer Wire & Tubing
An ultrasonic wall-thickness gauge has been redesigned with smaller scanners so as to fit inside a vacuum tank or cooling trough close to the die exit. This change permits quick recentering and die adjustment and also allows the four compact transducers to provide on-line measurements of much smaller tubes and wire products. These new scanner models, UMAC A10CF-4K and A20CF-4K, come from Zumbach Electronics Corp., Mt. Kisco, N.Y. Model A10F handles product diameters from 0.04 to 0.4 in. Model A20CF measures 0.25 to 0.75 in. Both measure wall thicknesses as thin as 0.005 to 0.250 in.

Find & Mark Film Faults With Up to Five Colors
A recently introduced spray-marking system integrates with a video web-inspection system to offer five-color coding of faults detected in moving film. The Multi-Color Spray Marking System Model 1280 from R.K.B. Opto-Electronics Inc., Syracuse, N.Y., is believed to be the only five-color system available. Previous versions have three colors. It communicates with R.K.B.’s CCD video-inspection cameras, which detect and analyze streaks, spots, holes, or gels. The spray marker then marks the edge of the film with the color designated for that fault. These marks can be detected later by on-line sensors and visually identified on the end of the roll.

Kinder, Gentler Puller for Delicate Profiles
The new “Air Lift” belt puller maintains just the right amount of contact pressure on delicate profiles using a pneumatically adjustable upper belt. Ankele Kunstoffmaschinenbau in Maulbronn, Germany, which has no U.S. representative yet, offers the patent-pending Air Lift system with belts 100 to 200 mm wide and with 1000-mm contact length. The first installation has been running commercially for a year. The Air Lift is also available for caterpillar pullers.

Biax Film Sensor Has Finer Focus
Enhanced optics on this near-infrared (NIR) sensor give it much finer focus, namely a 1/8-in. beam size instead of 1 in. That allows it to detect cross-directional streaks in biaxially oriented films and to measure films as thin as 0.5 micron, says Eurotherm Gauging Systems, Billerica, Mass. New MicroBeam HR (high-resolution) measures the film from edge to edge, including beads, with 10 to 175 times greater repeatability than standard beta gauges, Eurotherm says. Like the original MicroBeam model, the HR sensor is also said to be 100 times more accurate than beta gauges. Its new optical sensor is reportedly unaffected by ambient temperature, humidity, film orientation, or crystallinity.

Narrow-Web Cleaners Go Wider
A new compact line of electrostatic narrow-web cleaners just gained a 24-in. size, the widest to date. The new system from ElectroStatics Inc., Harleysville, Pa., uses an antistatic bar that delivers two to four times the ionization level of competing systems, the company says. Another reportedly unique feature is two successive arrangements of a compressed-air blower followed by a vacuum chamber in order to prevent reattraction of surface contaminants.

Blown Film Control Comes at a Lower Price
A simpler, lower-priced version of a PLC controller for blown-film lines is available for up to three extruders. Italycs-LT is a new stripped-down version of Italycs-II from Brampton Engineering Inc., Brampton, Ont. The new mid-priced version offers recipe-based touchscreen control and monitoring of gravimetric feeding of up to six ingredients at each of three extruders. It also controls the extruders’ rpm, hauloff speed, bubble diameter, barrel and die temperatures, and melt pressure.

Freeze-Clean Your Dies
A new approach to tool cleaning freezes and then heats and vibrates dies, tips, and other metal tooling parts in a chamber until baked-on plastic can be brushed off. The patented process developed by Genca Corp., Clearwater, Fla., reportedly eliminates tool damage caused by other cleaning methods, such as blow torches and scraping, and eliminates environmental hazards and effluents. The plastic, once removed, can even be reused. 
   Genca’s new CVC (cryogenic vibrational cleaning) unit is a stainless-steel holding tank with 44 cu in. of treating capacity. It cleans by thermally cycling a part–cooling it with liquid nitrogen, followed by gradual warming and vibration. The cooling cycle also improves surface hardness of tools, Genca says. In the third quarter, Genca hopes to introduce a larger model to clean screws.

Here’s Auto Control for Internally Deckled Die
Two new developments are said to improve operation of the internally deckled R.O.I. MOLD for extrusion coating from Black Clawson Converting Machinery LLC, Fulton, N.Y. One is a new support system that limits bending of the long deckle rod and eliminates the need for the machine operator to hold and guide the rods when changing widths. The other is a new auto profile control system designed to work with the very rigid sliding die lips on the R.O.I. Die. The Auto Bolt system reportedly eliminates heat migration from the thermal bolt into the die lips for more reliable control.

Special Tooling Modifies Profile Shape on the Fly
“Variable Extrusion mold” makes a gradual transition from one profile shape to another using sliding blades in the tool. Developed a few years ago by Japanese molder Tokai Kogyo Co., the technique has been used to make auto windshield surrounds by U.S. affiliate Green Tokai Co., Brookville, Ohio, and by licensee Rehau Inc. in Leesburg, Va. Rehau modified the technology for use on 1998 Ford and 1999 General Motors cars. It coextrudes windshield moldings from three different durometers of PVC at its plant in Baie d’Urfe, Quebec. The profile changes gradually from an “E” shape at the A-pillar to an “H” shape at the roof. The tooling must withstand internal pressures of over 5000 psi, which is one reason that the process is suitable for soft PVC, not rigids, according to company sources. Extrusion speed is slower than usual, but the process saves fabrication time and eliminates joint lines. The straight profiles are softened with heat and bent before being installed on the car window.

Off-Line Pipe/Tube Gauge Is More User-Friendly
An upgraded benchtop, non-contact laser gauge for pipe and tubing has new touchscreen and display features. Model 283 Benchmike from Beta LaserMike, Dayton, Ohio, automatically displays O.D., I.D., and wall thickness. LaserMike says Model 283 is the only system that measures opposite walls of a tube separately and subtracts them to determine inside diameter. The new system has Windows-style graphics and can record statistical quality control data. 
    The new off-line model can also be used to calibrate on-line ultrasonic sensors.