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Test & measurement


Productivity through process control and QA


In a successful adhesives process, the adhesive hardens into a material able to bear the required forces throughout the product’s lifetime. If a manufacturer is experiencing poor bonding, and therefore a reduction output quality, it may be time to


re-assess the process to improve output, and so productivity. Here Simon Gibbs, technical sales executive at adhesives specialist Intertronics, discusses how manufacturers can improve productivity during quality assurance (QA).


M


anufacturers of products like medical devices, or defence-grade electronics for a fighter jet, need reassurance that every product is made to specification.


In highly regulated industries, like medical device manufacturing, where both the product and the process is audited, the manufacturer must be able to demonstrate that the process has been completed as expected and that every product at the end of the line is the same, within well-defined tolerances.


If rejects occur, the manufacturer can


consider whether it is the adhesive choice, the amount or location of the material, or the curing process that has resulted in failure to meet the required specification; there are other factors as well. As we all know, the only way to improve something is to measure it, and some specific techniques will be helpful.


IS tHe mAterIAl SuItAble? Adhesive choice is highly dependent on the performance requirements of the product, under the environmental conditions it will be exposed to. For example, products in military applications may be required to withstand both high and low temperature extremes. The meeting of international standards and


demonstrated success in similar applications is a great help in narrowing down adhesive choice, but is not a substitute for full evaluation. Even if the data sheet suggests the selected material is up to the job, it is still essential to perform your own tests and trials to understand if the material will perform as expected for the lifetime of your product.


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HAS It been dISpenSed correctly? It is possible to select a suitable adhesive and apply it incorrectly — material must be dispensed in the right amount, and in the right place. Systems and processes must be set up and understood so that there is confidence in their ability to meet the quality requirements, and that means choosing the optimal dispensing technology for the project.


For example, the use of a positive


displacement dispensing methodology, such as the preeflow eco-PEN range, will provide repeatable and consistent dispensing, with an accuracy of ±1 per cent, >99 per cent of the time. Some quality control systems will require ongoing measurement of this. Manufacturers can monitor dispensing


output by monitoring system pressure, using a tool like the ViscoTec flowplus16. All other


November 2020 Instrumentation Monthly


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