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Friday, April 28, 2017

Technidyne at PaperCon '17 in Minneapolis, MN

This week TAPPI PaperCon '17 was being held in Minneapolis, MN April 23-25, 2017. We were able to show a variety of products from Technidyne and it's partners such as Emtec, Techpap and ACA.

Technidyne has an array of new products including the TEST/Plus line of instruments and the Color Touch™ X. 

There are several instruments in a new line of stand alone instruments, the TEST/Plus Gloss, TEST/Plus Caliper and TEST/Plus Opacity.  The TEST/Plus line utilizes a tablet user interface and allows customers to purchase software features such as statistics through an App.  Other instruments in the TEST/Plus line will be released in the coming months.

Color Touch™ X
A new generation of ISO-conforming spectrophotometer with expanded wavelength capability beyond the normal visible spectrum. Touch screen user interface, built-in swing-in standard, automatic calibration and trending capability. The Color Touch™ X has already made an impact on the world-wide Paper Industry.

Color Touch™ QC
The next ISO-conforming spectrophotometer in the Color Touch™ family of instruments provides the basic functionality to perform QC functions in the lab. The Color Touch™ QC is specifically designed to replace the long-time workhorse, Technibrite Micro TB-1C, while still using the state-of-the-art technology that Technidyne optical instruments are known for.

Technidyne also represents ACAEmtec/AFG and Techpap for sales and service in North America. Some notable products include:

ACA RoQ (roll hardness)
ACA Permi (online porosity)

Techpap Morfi Compact (fiber morphology)**
Techpap 2D (formation)**
Techpap Simpatic (dirt & shives)**
Techpap Kheops (print mottle)
Techpap Pulp Inspector
                (automated pulp measurement
                - morphology, brightness, color,
                freeness, dirt & shives)

Emtec TSA (tissue softness)
Emtec EST 12 (surface and sizing tester)
Emtec PDA (dynamic penetration)

AFG CAS Touch! (charge analysis)
AFG FPA (fiber potential)
AFG DFA (dynamic filtration)

Get the same high quality customer service and support for all of your tests. Technidyne does more than brightness!

**available in lab and online

The best way to find out about these things is to follow this blog, see updates on our websiteTechnidyne on Facebook and see us at trade shows around the world.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Why Measure Roll Hardness?

Technidyne started selling roll hardness measurement equipment a couple of years ago.  The instrumentation provided much needed improvements over the Schmidt Hammer which was designed for concrete measurement, not paper hardness. Even the Parotester has its limitations. However, our customers were asking for several additional improvements in this technology and measurement area.  The ACA Systems RoQ (roll hardness profiler) provides many advancements.

By taking hardness readings across the roll, uneven, too soft or too hard winding can be detected and the roll can be rejected. This minimizes the risk of complications e.g. during the printing process on paper.

There are several reasons why a ROLL PRODUCER may want to test the roll structure of shipping rolls (or jumbo reels):

  • To determine the cause of specific roll defects such as crepe wrinkles or corrugations
  • As an aid to establishing the winding criteria of a newly installed winder or major rebuild of a winder or reel
  • As a quality control tool to check rolls before they are shipped to an end user

A CONVERTER may want to check shipping rolls received from a roll producer:

  • To determine how specific roll irregularities effect the efficiency of their machine
  • To supply creditable data to enable the roll producer to understand and resolve his concerns.

Rolls that are wound too soft typically may go out of round during transport and storage. If this happens it causes irregularities while unwinding and the only way to compensate for the effects is to slow down the speed of the unwinding machine leading to a loss in production. Rolls that are wound too tightly can lead for example, to bursts within the roll, corrugations on the surface as the web is stretched too tightly, etc.

These variations are very difficult to detect without the aid of a hardness tester, and if they go undetected, serious problems can result. Above all, “it is typically the variation in hardness across a given roll that relates most directly to such converting issues with soft edges being perhaps the biggest contributor.” (TAPPI T 834 om-12 "Determination of containerboard roll hardness")

There are several roll hardness testers available to the Paper Industry. The ACA Systems RoQ uses technology developed specifically for the Paper Industry.  It has the most current technology, user interface and fine resolution.  This device can determine the hardness of large rolls of paper, film and foil. It provides fast, accurate, non-destructive hardness profiles of rolls to assure smooth and efficient printing. As stated above, rolls that are too hard, or too soft, rolls that are unevenly wound, or rolls with different moisture contents can cause difficulties during the printing process.

Improvements in Roll Hardness offered by the RoQ:
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Integrated touch screen
  • Displays real-time profile data
  • USB data output
  • Barcode reader
  • 1 mm profile resolution
With over 60 roll hardness units already installed in North America by Technidyne, and with many of the new RoQ units on order, Technidyne customers are experiencing the cost savings associated with modern technology.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Technidyne's 2016 Agent of the Year

CLC General Manager Ankrin Kaewpralom
It is with great excitement to announce Technidyne's 2016 Agent of the Year winner is CLC in Bangkok, Thailand.  

Ankrin Kaewpralom, General Manager, at CLC was notified that he is the winner of this award which has become an annual prize.

This is in recognition of CLC's dedication to his customers as well as Technidyne products and services. Each agent is evaluated equally against the following criteria:

- Account in good standing
- Overall sales revenue
- Overall service revenue
- Overall calibration standard revenue
- Ability and willingness to assist other agents/representatives, when possible
- Commitment to marketing Technidyne products including calibration standards
- Commitment to training
- Ability to independently support customers effectively

CLC Team with Paul Crawford and Todd Popson of Technidyne
We recognize that CLC under Ankrin's leadership has successfully sold equipment, provided service and calibration standards. CLC also sent several people for training in the US in August 2015 to the Technidyne International Sales Meeting.  CLC partnered with Technidyne to install a 9-module PROFILE/Plus automated testing system along with other equipment and environmental controls at Vina Kraft in Vietnam.  All of this makes CLC a great example of what Technidyne is looking for as an agent.
CLC Team member with Technidyne PROFILE/Plus system installed in Vietnam
As the 2016 Agent of the Year Award Winner, CLC will receive:
  • a plaque/trophy,
  • a credit on their account, and
  • a free quarterly subscription of calibration standards for 2017.
Congratulations to Ankrin and his team and good luck to all of Technidyne's Agents as they move forward in 2017.

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 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

  • 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.