In order for an end product to deliver flawless results, the raw material must be of excellent quality. In order words, when printing and processing foils, it is necessary to ensure the highest quality standards and eliminate potential errors, starting with the foil extrusion process. This can be done particularly easily and economically with the iPQ-Surface surface inspection system from BST. Intuitive to operate and reliable at detecting errors, it supports companies with the foil extrusion process by combining modern hardware with smart software and comprehensive service. Innovative camera technology with a live image and a new additional module for the detection of color deviations make the iPQ-Surface an economical, high-performing alternative, designed with the user in mind. As a result, manufacturers can optimize their foil extrusion processes long-term by saving resources, lowering costs, and ensuring the consistently excellent quality of their products. In addition, customers benefit from BST’s status as a full-line supplier: the company is not limited to the detection of defects in foil production, but also includes inspection and web monitoring systems for further processes, such as foil printing, in its portfolio. The generated quality data is mutually compatible, allowing a multi-system, connected approach to quality. “SMARTData allows customers to digitize their production processes with open interfaces. This enables the collection, analysis and processing of quality-related data across all processes,” says BST expert Jan Jostmeier, explaining the holistic approach.
Reliable defect detection, thanks to state-of-the-art hardware
While assembly space is rarely an issue in large extruders, when it comes to e.g. cutting systems, a small assembly space is decisive for the easy integration of the inspection system in the industrial infrastructure. As the leading provider of quality assurance systems for the web processing industry, BST has always set the standard and enables seamless integration with individually adaptable solutions, even for retrofits. As well as the cost-effective standard solution for errors in the range of 50–200 µm, BST also offers customer-specific configurations based on modern camera technology. With 300 KHz line frequency at 16384 pixels, iPQ-Surface meets the highest requirements within the smallest possible amount of space. The high-performance technology can combine a wide variety of illumination types (RGB or UV lighting, bright field, dark field, lateral light, transmitted light) with innovative, modular Multiplex lighting. As a result, tasks that would previously have required multiple inspections lines can be completed with a single line. The latest new feature is a specially developed additional module for the detection of color deviations. This can be used to reliably detect up to 100 percent of even the slightest discoloration, and display and track Delta E deviations. Warning thresholds can be used to generate e.g. alarm notifications for the user.
iPQ-Surface also offers an efficient solution for the processing of recycled materials: the typical specks seen here are ignored and not reported as errors – only relevant defects are displayed. “This keeps the error list manageable and the system practical, so that users actually want to use it,” says Product Manager Jostmeier. Thanks to reliable error detection, process problems are recognized in real time, so rejects are prevented before they occur.
Seamless quality documentation with iPQ-Surface software
In order to improve foil-extrusion-based production processes, it is not enough to simply detect defects during production. In the long term, a quality optimization can only be successful if there is a comprehensive understanding of the process, in which the further processing of the collected data leads to improved standardization of production. That’s where the software of the iPQ-Surface comes in, which, along with the hardware components, is essential to ensuring the reliable classification, documentation and evaluation of errors. With numerous interfaces and flexible architecture, the software solutions can easily be integrated in connected smart data worlds.
The system is intuitive and easy to operate: this ensures consistent quality, regardless of changes in personnel. “Simplicity is a property that cannot be underestimated in securing the procurement investment. Nobody needs a system that operators simply cannot use. A system like that would go unused at times of uncertainty, e.g. during a night shift,” says Jostmeier. If any questions should arise, manufacturers can receive support from BST experts directly on the system, thanks to the remote access service.
To allow the correct conclusions to be drawn for purposes of process optimization, the AI-based classifiers separate errors by type and severity. Manufacturers can also control the error detection based on individually configurable quality classes, whether they want to achieve 100-percent fault-free quality or lower quality is sufficient for the further processing of the foils. Thanks to seamless digital documentation of quality and meaningful statistical evaluations, such as role and quality protocols, quality data can be analyzed for the purpose of optimizing production long term. When doing so, the system learns in the process: users can train the AI of the iPQ-Surface to recognize error classes, leading to improved automatic classification.
Application-specific solutions and comprehensive service
For large or small companies – every industrial landscape has different infrastructural and technical prerequisites. iPQ-Surface is able to adapt to the respective requirements and conditions flexibly and precisely. “What’s special about iPQ-Surface is the optimal combination of the individual components,” explains Product Manager Jan Jostmeier. “This provides the ideal solution for every application. Flexible, modular, and optimized to the user’s needs – in other words, 100-percent thought-through.” As well as iPQ-Surface, BST offers other industry-specific solutions, such as iPQ-Surface Energy for battery and fuel cell production, and iPQ-Surface Coldseal for printing and packaging. BST’s comprehensive service doesn’t end at installation: with more than 30 years’ experience in surface inspection, its highly qualified experts support customers pragmatically, professionally and holistically – always with the long-term goal of improving processes in the web processing industry.