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News

Surge of interest for scanning vibrating needle curemeter

Rapra Technology Limited : 31 March, 2006  (New Product)
Rapra Technology, Europe's leading polymer research and test house, reports a surge of interest for its own-invented Scanning Vibrating Needle Curemeter whose principal use is in monitoring the cure of foam and liquid polymers, right through from the liquid to the solid phase in liquid curing systems for polymers, paints and resins.
Rapra Technology, Europe's leading polymer research and test house, reports a surge of interest for its own-invented Scanning Vibrating Needle Curemeter whose principal use is in monitoring the cure of foam and liquid polymers, right through from the liquid to the solid phase in liquid curing systems for polymers, paints and resins.

Inventor Bryan Willoughby notes that 'the instrument's use is always evolving. Materials-based niches as diverse as cast elastomers, PU foam systems, thermosets, unsaturated polyesters, silicone and liquid rubber, epoxies, polysulphides, PVC plastisols...all of these chemicaly reactive polymer sectors,' says Willoughby, 'are now using the SVNC in different ways; producing all sorts of high abrasion products such as golf balls, automotive, aeropspace and defence industry components and all manner of adhesives and sealants.'

Historically, formulators and materials producers in these areas have been the principal purchasers and users of the SVNC to help determine grades of material composition. Now, however, in a trend led in the USA, customers and materials processors are also using the SVNC to check the quality and composition of the material being supplied to them.

It is a quality control method that has paid off. 'Thanks to this technology,' says Willoughby, 'small companies are no longer being intimidated by big suppliers. Through this technology they are able to demonstrate batch variation in their materials supply, are able to screen their incoming material and are becoming increasingly competent at being able to specify, mix and match the materials that they actually need for their products and processes, rather than accept what is written on the supplied specification sheet. No material is entirely adequate or standard for everyone. The SVNC gives processors the power to determine more exactly how their materials should perform.'

When one UK customer used the SVNC online in this way it paid for itself in a month, via the return of faulty material to the supplier that would, without incoming measurement, otherwise have been written off as scrap from so-called 'faulty' processing.

Willoughby notes that traditional rule of thumb QC methods 'such as sticking a cocktail stick into curing polymer' are no longer becoming acceptable in the industry or in today's business environments. 'Issues of product quality and product liability mean that the industry has got to do much better than that,' he says.

And though capable of far more sensitive measurement (and data capture and archiving) than a hand-held cocktail stick, the SVNC curemeter has been made to an extremely robust design. 'The final test of the worth of the SVNC is that it is more versatile than any other competing instrument,' says Willoughby. 'It has even been used to monitor and determine the setting of the concrete in plastics.' Disposable carbon needles and removeable sample holders ensure ease of operation.
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