Recent enhancements and advantages of new in-process thickness measurement systems

Kevin Lifsey

A highly accurate and effective new means to measure the absolute thickness of thin films and applied layers, both in the lab and inline in a non contact, non-radioactive and non-destructive manner will be presented. The systems unique ability to measure individual clear or opaque coating layers to include hard coats, top coats, UV layers and adhesives will be presented. Recent product enhancements that will enable fixed or scanning in-line system to monitor one or two coating layers at the same time to significantly reduce the costs of Quality Control, with real time process control benefits discussed.

The measurement system utilized incorporates exclusive ruggedized optical technologies with applicability to the measurement of performance coatings within packaging, solar thin films, coated metals and specialty web applications. The non-radioactive and non-contact measurement systems can be readily used to monitor wet or dry coating thickness of variety of coated layers on film packaging substrates in real-time.

Measurement data and summary run results will be provided for production testing performed on UV coatings, thin top coats used on printing web applications. Measurement results of very thin thermoplastic films and ePTFE films will be presented. Results will also be presented on some wet coating measurements and the correlation of the wet measurements to the measurements obtained on the dry coatings after the coating is cured. Limitations of the measurement method for certain applications will also be identified.

Although the non-contact in-line measurement techniques used in these production and trial test efforts demonstrated great flexibility and broad applicability over a wide range of applications, only the measurement results from coatings that have been a significant challenge for manufacturers and converters to measure with conventional in-line and off-line coat weight measurement techniques in film packaging will be explored in detail.

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