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Ultrasound measures tiebar stretch.

A new handheld troubleshooting system from Hydratight of Houston takes an unusual approach to measuring tiebar stretch on molding machines. Foregoing the usual hydraulic and mechanical measurement methods, the Boltscan system relies on an ultrasonic "pulse-echo" technique, which senses tiebar stretch from changes in a sound wave's time of flight through the metal.

According to market development manager Jorg Albrecht, the device is "far more sophisticated" than a simple thickness gauge.

Before taking any measurements, users program Boltscan by downloading a tiebar's physical-property and dimensional information from a personal computer. Boltscan then measures and saves reference length of the tiebar while it's in a slack state. Once the clamping cycle has begun, the tiebar measurement is repeated to yield a relative elongation reading. The device can also tell users if elongation falls within pre-established limits. "This is a very useful function since it allows the unit to be used as a go/no-go gauge to check tie-bar stress," says Albrecht. Relative accuracy is better than [+ or -]0.5%, he reports.

In return for a price premium over other measurement methods, users get a system that's reportedly far easier to install and to use. Aside from a hand-held computer and a short cable, Boltscan's only external component is a small magnetic transducer about the size of five stacked quarters. "As quick as a mechanic can touch the transducer to the end of the tiebar, installation is complete," says Albrecht. What's more, all calculations are performed automatically; measurements simply pop up on a digital readout.

The Boltscan system first saw use in the power and petrochemical industries, but Hydratight has yet to make any installations in injection molding. However, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. has started to evaluate the system at its Bolton, Ont. plant. Don't be surprised if machinery OEMs and larger molders make up Boltscan's main user base. The system costs $10,500.
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Title Annotation:Hydratight Houston's Boltscan system
Author:Ogando, Joseph
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Feb 1, 1995
Words:313
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