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FLAKE ANALYZER to Characterize Plastic Particles for the PET Industry

FLAKE ANALYZER to Characterize Plastic Particles for the PET Industry
EAGLE VIZION specializes in high performance vision equipment designed to serve the industry in their technological evolution.

With more than a decade of experience, Eagle Vizion has established itself as one of the leading manufacturers of custom optical sorting in North America. With its research and development department, Eagle Vizion has integrated unique and innovative optical solutions to optimize processes and product quality.

The world of recycling is constantly changing. With the aim of strengthening the circular economy and being a player in the growing use of recycled plastic, Eagle Vizion has developed a machine dedicated to the characterization of plastic particles called the FLAKE ANALYZER (FA).

In this changing world where the workforce is an issue and Industry 4.0 is a necessity. Automation with intelligent management tools and accurate data is essential to remain competitive. The FA is a key building block for a solid process.

Industry Application

Developed primarily for the PET industry, the FA characterizes contaminants in the PPM levels. Furthermore, its hyperspectral SWIR camera coupled with various additional sensors (RGB, UV, etc.) makes it possible to characterize several polymer production streams. To name a few polymer streams we could include olefins, styrene, or PVC as typical applications.

For whom

  • A reclaimer/recycler
    • to assess your sorting performance (failure detection)
    • validate your regrind production quality
  • A broker/reseller
    • to ensure the quality of products purchased and/or sold
  • An extrusion line/compounder
    • To validate inbound material to the extruder
    • Quantify regrind purity received
    • Eliminate downtime or low yield inbound material

With its highly versatile and adaptive hyperspectral technology, its application sector continues to grow and now extends to the pharmaceutical and food industries.

Where is it used

The FA has been designed to be installed in two types of environments:

  •  In a laboratory environment:
    • The (FA) is manually fed sample bags to be measured in seconds.
  • In an industrial environment:
    • The (FA) is installed directly into the production line where an automatic sampler feeds a continuous stream for analysis. This continuous stream gives a more statistically valid sample size with a more accurate representation of the production quality.

How and Why

Regardless of the stream, the (FA) will provide information on the contamination levels (PPM or %) as well as the size distribution of the particles. The sample rate will vary from 15kg/h to 100kg/h depending on the product being analyzed. Designed to operate 24/7 with low operation cost, low maintenance, analytic speed, accuracy, and reproducibility that cannot be matched by any laboratory operator.

The (FA) gives out 3 information simultaneously:

  • Stream composition with over 30 polymers and polymer combination including co-blends, layered polymers, labels, and barriers. With its standard library, the (FA) can compete in terms of detection with the classic manual FTIR lab technics. This library is not static in time, it evolves constantly with the industry.
  • Color information
  • Size distribution by product type

During analysis, an ejection system can be activated to isolates the targeted contaminants. The non-destructive aspect of this analysis allows for a more in-depth study of the shape, size, and/or origin of the contaminant. Finally, it is also possible to eject ‘unknown’ particles to have them taught.

The (FA) allows for a complete and precise characterization of the production. These results can be used immediately for real-time reaction in the process, or in the long-term in a continuous improvement process.

Intelligent Design

Due to its central position in production and process control, special attention has been paid to the autonomy of the machine. It can, among other things, self-calibrate, assess the quality of its lighting or its level of cleanliness. This onboard intelligence helps ensure optimal performance in a consistent and repeatable manner.

All data relevant to the samples being tested are stored in real-time in a database. Several stakeholders and systems can thus interact with this data:

  • Plant Automation (PLC):
    • Thresholds can be programmed to let the process react to the results
    • Alarms can be set to redirect poor quality products
    • Fast response to a degenerating quality
  • Lab technicians
    • Can react live from a comprehensive data collection on screen or on computer
  • Management
    • Can read data live or historically using the database
      • To quantify the quality of vendors, inventory, and/or production teams.

What’s Next

In order for (FA) to remain a leader in production characterization, EAGLE VIZION continues to innovate in collaboration with its customers and their needs. If you have specific needs or questions feel free to ask, here are the active developments for 2021:

  • MFI extrusion prediction (PE)
  • Extrusion color prediction (PE)
  • Bulk Density (PET)
  • L.A.B. (PET)
  • What are your needs?

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