Rheological Meaurement & Control in the Rubber Factory
Wilfried Emunds, Alpha Technolgies
Traditionally, compound testing has taken place in centralized quality control laboratories, although this set-up usually imposes a delay in compound release due to the time required for sample transfer from the production line and test programming. Additional advantages have been recognized of moving the point of testing into the production area, where results can be generated more quickly and efficiently, and where production personnel are able to respond faster to the test data produced. Considerable benefits are derived from transferring compound control testing to the production line. Samples can be tested with less delay and a reduced labour requirement, while test results are obtained earlier, meaning faster release of compound, and earlier forewarning of quality trends and problems. Increasingly the value of more discriminating process data to give better control over downstream conversion processes is recognized. Effective process ability testing requires measurements to be made at temperatures and strains representative of the production process. The recently introduced Production Process Analyser (PPA) combines the benefits of the Production MDR with the enhanced process ability of the Rubber Process Analyser to bring more powerful, cost-effective compound analysis to the factory floor. Test instruments must satisfy new requirements to function efficiently in a production environment, most notably robustness and ease-of-use. The range of production-based instruments produced by Alpha Technologies incorporates all features required for reliable and simple operation. Improved efficiency, lower costs and higher quality are the benefits.