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Monday, January 16, 2017

What if I get negative fluorescent component?

Recently a customer was measuring samples and asked, "If I have a negative fluorescent component, is it real? Should it be zero?"

As usual, the answer is not so clear.

There is not such thing as negative fluorescence. The negative fluorescent component is an artifact of the was fluorescence is measured according to:
  ISO 2469 Paper, board and pulps - Measurement of diffuse radiance factor
  ISO 2470-1 Paper, board and pulps - Measurement of diffuse blue reflectance factor - Part 1: Indoor daylight conditions (ISO brightness)
  ISO 2470-2 Paper, board and pulps - Measurement of diffuse blue reflectance factor - Part 2: Outdoor daylight conditions (D65 brightness)

This is a step-by-step process. First, brightness is measured with the appropriate UV Level for the situation, C or D65. Then a UV-cutoff filter is introduced and brightness is measured again. Here is the data:

Why is this? The cutoff filter is active at 420 nm. Therefore, data below 420 is essentially not available in the UV-EX condition, The recommended procedure for handling this is to simply replace the values below the 420 nm cutoff with the same reflectance value. This can be seen in the following graph.

Numerically, it looks like this...


Since the reflectance values from 400 to 500 nm wavelengths are used in the calculation of brightness, it yields a negative fluorescent component. So, back to the original question, is a negative fluorescent component real? According to the directives of ISO 2469, ISO 2470-1 and ISO 2470-2, the fluorescent component is negative and should not be zero. However, just as there can be some intrinsic fluorescence (from the raw fibers without any chemicals added), there can be a small negative value due to the procedure used to measure fluorescent component. Therefore, when fluorescent component is in the rang of +/-0.25, it is effectively zero.















Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Expanded Partnership and Solutions for 2017

As we wrap up another successful fiscal year in 2016, we turn our attention to the possibilities and goals set for 2017. 

There is great room for optimism in 2017. Two new products, TEST/Plus Caliper and TEST/Plus TAPPI Opacity, were released in the second half of 2016. The Color Touch X and the TEST/Plus Gloss, released in 2015, have started to make their mark on the worldwide Paper Industry, and there are far more products coming to the market in 2017. The establishment of CalStandards.com as a resource for people looking online for lab standards and tools has continued to develop. Our staff continues to grow geographically to help us continue to respond quickly to customer demands, especially in North America. Partnerships with TechpapACA and emtec/AFG resulted in our best overall performance for their unique solutions and increasing coverage for service.

We are putting the finishing touches on our goals for 2017. We are excited and energized by the continued possibilities. We have great employees who get to work with outstanding agents and engaging customers around the world.

We strive for the right people that fits our DNA:

Technidyne's passion for customer satisfaction
drives us to be the best in the world at
providing economical and creative solutions.

Expanded customer relationships are also resulting in customized solutions and allow us to become partners providing:

  • Quality products
  • Mill success
  • ROI
  • Innovation
  • Support

Contact us to see how a partnership with Technidyne can enable us both to reach even higher in 2017 to meet the challenges of our customers around the world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving in the United States gives us a chance to reflect on all the things we are thankful for in our lives.  We can reflect on the history of the country and be thankful for the sacrifices and ingenuity of those that came before us. We can reflect on our jobs and the great people we interface with: coworkers, customers, vendors, and agents. We can reflect on our family, friends, faith and blessings all around us.  We all have a lot to be thankful for. The hard thing is to take time to think about it and then to actually say, "thank you", out loud to those that have helped us achieve out position in life: spouse, parents, friends, kids and God.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lab Management Trends: Automated Testing

The quality control laboratories in manufacturing environments are continuing to evolve. Most of us can remember the typical QC lab:
  • Purchased instruments
  • Full-time employees to operate instruments
  • Employees calibrated and maintained the instruments
  • Each test was performed on dedicated instruments
  • Data was logged in a physical book
  • Physical data book was rarely looked at (usually only when a customer complaint was being reviewed)
So many of these old ways of doing things have changed or have totally disappeared over the last 10-20 years.

Automated Testing
Laboratory equipment was purchased for each individual test for many years. If an end-use customer

L&W Autoline 200 (circa 1995)
required some specific test parameter or requirement, the equipment was purchased.  Full-time employees were hired and trained on the calibration, operation and maintenance of each piece of test equipment. Several testers on each shift sat in the lab. They prepared samples for testing after each turn up or batch. Each tester would run a series of tests on the samples that were prepared.

That system and process has changed dramatically for many organizations. It is continuing to evolve around the globe for others.  Most have automated all or at least part of their laboratories. Automation gives more data in a much shorter amount of time. CD, MD, top and bottom measurements can be made in a manner of seconds with automated equipment. At the same time, the real variation in the system can be seen because the automated testing removes any effect of the tester. Many know that testers can effect the results by manually changing data, accidentally entering the wrong data, searching for the best data by manipulating the sample, accidentally damaging the sample, etc. Automated testing removes these factors from the data and provides significantly more detailed information more quickly and electronically.


Big Box vs. Modular Automated Testing

If the decision is made to automate, there are different approaches available. The big-box automation is where a large, fixed-size system is purchased with a significant cost for the "bed" and at the same time any number of tests (usually 1-8) are purchased at the same time. The cost is usually quite high (US$500k to over US$1M) and depends on the specific tests and the total number of modules. In many instances modifications to the existing laboratory are required to accommodate the size (10 ft. x 3 ft. x 5 ft.) of the device. This is an additional expense. Ongoing preventative maintenance and service work is quite high (US$30k+ per year).

Technidyne PROFILE/Plus
modular automated system
In the case of modular automated testing, each test has the same footprint (11 in. x 15 in. x 24 in.) and the modules are priced slightly higher than a normal stand alone instrument because they have the feed mechanism and software for automation built-in. The cost is usually quite reasonable (US$15k to US$350k) and as the big-box system, depends on the specific tests and the total number of modules. However, there is no need to modify the existing laboratory to accommodate the modular automated testing system. Ongoing preventative maintenance and service work is much lower than the big-box and is based on the number of modules in the system.

Choice of big-box automation, modular automation or stand alone testing equipment for lab varies with different factors. Understanding these factors helps in deciding which path to take with equipment. Some factors and the rationale behind it at different scenarios are given below.

A. Ability to get ROI/payback:

  • If the estimated cost of the equipment is high but there are a number of people that can be replaced through automation, and the ROI/payback can be achieved quickly (less than a year), the purchase of a big-box or modular automated system is suggested
  • A modular automated system is the best option when an older automated system is being replaced. This is the case when the bigger dollar figure of a big-box system is going to make ROI/payback difficult over a 1-3 year period of time.
  • When personnel reductions are not possible or practical, and smaller operational efficiencies will be achieved through automation, a modular automated system is preferred to get ROI/payback one piece at a time (6 months - 1 year per module).
  • If budgets do not allow for large expenditures at one point in time, but it does allow for smaller purchases each year, a modular automated system or stand alone testing would make sense.

B. Tenure of equipment usage:

  • If the expected usage of the equipment is more than three years and its frequency of usage is high, big-box or modular automated testing is suggested, provided the need to upgrade the equipment is low.
  • If the expected usage of the equipment is less than three years or the product mix/grade structure of the facility is likely to change in the future acquisition of a modular system is suggested.
  • Stand alone testing is preferred if the equipment will be used for a short term and its frequency of usage is low.

C. Need to upgrade:

  • Regulations and technology developments will require upgrading lab equipment regularly. High-end equipment that involves high technology is subjected to a high rate of change in technology, which results in regular upgrades.
  • It is preferable to acquire equipment with a low to moderate need for upgrades through big-box or modular automated testing, as acquiring equipment with high upgrade requirements could result in owning obsolete equipment.
  • It is preferable to procure equipment associated with frequent technological changes and frequent upgrades in a modular automated testing system or stand alone, as it is easier to upgrade and avoids owning a big-box system with obsolete equipment.
  • Stand alone equipment is suitable for all types of users irrespective of the industry or size of the company when the technology is changing frequently and there is a need for constant upgrading of the equipment.

D. Frequency of usage:

  • It is preferable to acquire big-box or modular automated equipment for medium to high frequency of usage tests, as return on equipment is high because the cost of the equipment is spread over the hundreds or thousands of tests.
  • Even if the test frequency is high for up to 4 or 5 tests, if there are very few tests that require a high frequency and others are low frequency, modular automated testing
  • Stand alone testing is preferred for equipment that is used less frequently or by ad-hoc requests. Acquiring equipment for temporary usage incurs more cost and less return.
  • If equipment is going to be used very infrequently, paying for testing by the manufacturer or a testing lab has become an option.
E. Correlated data:
Mesto big-box automated
system


  • Big-box automated systems do not have all tests according to the applicable international testing standards, therefore, correlations are used for many tests.
  • Modular automated systems offer standard testing just like stand alone equipment.
Automation has become a normal part of today's testing laboratories. There are many factors that can help determine what version of system is best for your situation. Careful consideration must be given to determine how to bring the benefits of fast testing with more relevant data (MD, CD, top, bottom) to the production facility.

Other topics in blog posts:
  • Procurement
  • Data Management
  • Outsourcing

Contact me with other blog ideas.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Technidyne Surpasses Target

In the month of October, Technidyne Corporation had its second highest single month revenue in the 42 year history of the company.

This is due to a combination of events...

  • new Technidyne products:
    • Color Touch X
    • TEST/Plus Opacity
    • TEST/Plus Gloss
    • TEST/Plus Caliper
  • strong PROFILE/Plus automation
  • great products from our partners
    • ACA - RoQ (roll hardness)
    • Emtec - TSA (tissue softness)
    • Techpap - MorFi (fiber morphology)
  • consistent, high quality service
  • dependable calibration standards
In lieu of the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday in the U.S., thank you to our employees for fulfilling their roles in such a way to help Technidyne reach this milestone. Each employee received a $100 bill to commemorate this special event and their commitment to our customers, to teamwork and to the continued success of Technidyne Corporation.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Lab Management Trends: Procurement

The quality control laboratories in manufacturing environments are continuing to evolve. Most of us can remember the typical QC lab:

  • Purchased instruments
  • Full-time employees to operate instruments
  • Employees calibrated and maintained the instruments
  • Each test was performed on dedicated instruments
  • Data was logged in a physical book
  • Physical data book was rarely looked at (usually only when a customer complaint was being reviewed)
So many of these old ways of doing things have changed or have totally disappeared over the last 10-20 years.

Equipment Procurement
Laboratory equipment was always purchased 20 years ago. Wow, how that has changed. Nearly every discussion with a customer involves payment and financing options. Everything from buying equipment outright to leases and rental and even payment per test have been discussed.


Choice of procurement models for lab equipment varies with different factors. Understanding these factors helps in deciding whether to own the equipment, which in turn helps in choosing the right procurement model. A preferred procurement model and the rationale behind it at different scenarios are given below.


















A. Need for maintenance services:

  • Customized services are necessary for end users who are into research and development in order to carry out their operations to the desired specifications.
  • If the equipment needs a high degree of maintenance services, buying or capital leasing is preferred, as these options offer not only standard but also customized maintenance services. An operational lease doesn’t usually offer customized maintenance services, as the equipment will be returned to the lessor after the lease term.
  • As the service contracts in renting are high-priced and the equipment is being used by many people, it is advisable to obtain equipment that requires less maintenance.

B. Tenure of equipment usage:

  • If the expected usage of the equipment is more than three years and its frequency of usage is high, acquisition either by capital lease or buying is suggested, provided the need to upgrade the equipment is low.
  • If the expected usage of the equipment is less than three years and ownership is not desired, acquisition through an operational lease is suggested.
  • A rental option is preferred if the equipment will be used for a short term and its frequency of usage is low.

C. Need to upgrade:

  • Regulations and technology developments will require upgrading lab equipment regularly. High-end equipment that involves high technology is subjected to a high rate of change in technology, which results in regular upgrades.
  • It is preferable to acquire equipment with a low to moderate need for upgrades through buying or capital lease, as acquiring equipment with high upgrade requirements could result in owning obsolete equipment.
  • It is preferable to procure equipment associated with frequent technological changes and frequent upgrades under operational lease, as it avoids owning obsolete equipment.
  • Operational leasing is suitable for all types of users irrespective of the industry or size of the company when the technology is changing frequently and there is a need for constant upgrading of the equipment.

D. Frequency of usage:

  • It is preferable to acquire equipment for medium to high frequency of usage through buying or leasing, as return on equipment is high because the cost of the equipment is spread over the years of usage.
  • Renting is preferred for equipment that is used less frequently or by ad-hoc requests. Acquiring equipment for temporary usage through buying or leasing incurs more cost and less return.
  • If equipment is going to be used very infrequently, paying for testing by the manufacturer or a testing lab has become an option.
Other topics in blog posts:

  • Automated Testing
  • Data Management
  • Outsourcing

Contact me with other blog ideas.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

NFL Coach Smashes Tablet and Goes Back to Paper

From Two Sides North America:


We agree with Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots - Paper is an awesome product!
Back in 2014, Microsoft struck a deal to supply the NFL with Surface tablets as a coaching tool.  I am sure it has many benefits … but seeing the video of Bill Belichick throw down his Microsoft Surface tablet in frustration made my day! 


I feel his pain and have often felt like doing the same with my laptop or smartphone on many occasions.


Bill’s reasons for chucking the tablet are no surprise - he said that the technology failed him and made his job harder because it was too undependable and inconsistent.  He is going back to simple, functional, renewable and recyclable PAPER!