T Bur Associates Announces Process-Monitoring System

ROCKVILLE, MD /PRNewswire/ -- T Bur Associates, a Rockville, MD manufacturer of scientific instruments, has launched a new instrument system for online, real-time monitoring of plastics and chemicals processing. The instrument design is based on a central platform concept that incorporates multiple sensors that are capable of simultaneously measuring electrical, optical and rheological material properties. The instrument is easily customizable and can utilize dielectric, optical, fluorescence spectroscopy, pressure, ultrasonic or temperature sensors that are positioned in ports along a slit die. As processed material flows through the slit, sensors monitor its material's properties and variations in those properties caused by changes in process parameters.

The full instrument package consists of dielectric, optical fiber, pressure and temperature sensors along with dielectric and optical spectrometers with an option for an ultrasonic sensor and instrumentation. However, individual sensor modules are available separately and users may choose a platform with only those sensors, software and data acquisition packages that yield adequate material characterization for their particular application. Sensor data provides a continual stream of real-time information that is analyzed with the system software and deposited into archival spreadsheets that can be the basis for developing process models and optimizing product quality. Using multiple and varied sensors to measure a range of physical properties during processing can preclude the need for additional off-line, post-manufacturing quality control measurements.

The conceptual design and development of the sensor platform, called a dielectric slit die, was carried out at The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by the same principal scientists now directing R&D at T Bur Associates. Research using the dielectric slit die to monitor materials mixing and nanocomposites compounding has been described in many published scientific papers that are available from the TBA file sharing site.

More information on the dielectric slit die and other process monitoring instruments can be found at the T Bur Associates Web site.