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Plastics manufacturers looking to avoid downtime and reduce scrap related to defect detection and color monitoring now have a single solution for inline quality monitoring and management. Eigen Innovations has partnered with global plastics leader Ampacet LIAD to integrate its Spectro 4.0 color monitoring and management solution into its machine vision solutions. Color metrics captured by the sensor are correlated with digital part records generated by Eigen’s integrated machine vision solutions.

“Our machine vision solutions are designed to capture and correlate all the data manufacturing teams require to assess the quality and start avoiding defects,” says Josh Pickard, Director of  Innovation at Eigen. “This collaboration with Ampacet LIAD is exciting because it brings color metrics into our digital records, meaning inline color monitoring and the ability to color correct on the fly through our software.”

“We created Spectro4.0 to allow plastic processors to accurately measure color during production in real-time to reduce scrap and lost production due to poor color quality,” says Douglas Brownfield, Commercial Director of LIAD Smart at Ampacet. “When we saw what Eigen was doing – generating digital records with correlated quality and process data and what those records enable in terms of analytics, insights and ultimately, defect prevention, it was a no-brainer to bring our solutions together.”

Comprehensive Quality Monitoring & Management

Eigen’s machine vision solutions feature camera sensors, Edge processors and machine and network connectivity to capture and generate digital records with critical quality and process data on every part produced. Captured Image and process data is processed at the Edge allowing operators to review records flagged by machine learning models trained and managed within the solution software. The solutions operate on an open software platform meaning critical data from other sensors and sources can be integrated and correlated to each product record.

Ampacet’s Spectro 4.0™ Smart Technologies is a patented* color measurement system that offers in-line color measuring and correction capabilities. It ensures that parts in production meet the set color specifications. Fiber optic sensors compare color data to the preset color standard throughout the manufacturing process to deliver consistent and accurate color monitoring – all without interrupting production or creating delays by collecting samples to test.

Combined, Spectro 4.0 and Eigen’s machine vision solutions can greatly reduce downtime, the consumption of expensive masterbatch, product rejects and the cost of scrap. Real-time quality monitoring and color measurements allow Production and Quality teams to make process adjustments and color corrections during production and provide historical data to improve future productivity.

“It comes down to removing subjectivity from the quality inspection process,” says Brownfield. “Spectro 4.0 removes it by delivering consistent color quality by way of L*a*b* value measurements and acceptable delta E threshold levels.”

Standardized Digital Product Records

The standardized digital part records containing quality (defect), process and color are accessible from anywhere through Eigen’s cloud platform. Teams within and across factories can collaborate, analyze, and share learnings. Learnings can be shared among machines – so when a new defect or issue is detected, the model can be updated and redeployed across machines – ensuring it doesn’t go undetected on other lines or in other factories.

“Having all that correlated data in standardized records is a game-changer for production and quality teams,” says Pickard. “It gives them instant visibility to quality assessments. It means no more reliance on sample testing. And most importantly, it gives them the ability to use the data to enable automation and control variation that often causes quality issues. It makes enabling automation and defect prevention a reality.”

Automation & Defect Prevention

With standardized records and integrated solutions, production teams can train one model and deploy it across machines. It makes machine learning scalable, allowing operations teams to automate inspection and process monitoring and giving them the ability to automate a response when an issue is flagged with a product in production.

Eigen machines vision solutions are interlocked with machines and PLCs, meaning when issues are detected, a part is removed or the process is stopped while operators investigate. The integrated Eigen/Ampacet solution can automate a signal to the masterbatch feeder to adjust dosing automatically, in real time, ensuring color consistency.

Designed for plastic injection molding, blow molding and extrusion processes, Spectro 4.0 is a highly accurate QA solution that allows manufacturers to maintain uniform color standards both in-house and with contract processors around the world. Spectro 4.0 also incorporates optional cloud services so each line’s color performance can be verified wherever cellular service is available.

Download our plastics solutions brief here. 

Upcoming Events

Eigen and Ampacet will be introducing the integrated quality management solution at two upcoming plastics events.

Injection Molding & Design Expo – September 20-21 Novi, Michigan (Ampacet LIAD Booth #923)

Extrusion 2023 – October 10-12 Indianapolis, Indiana