Online X-Ray Inspection Boosts Extrusion Quality

Höhle uses Sikora’s x-ray measuring systems for inline quality control of extruded microducts.
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Extrusion processor Höhle has found that using Sikora’s x-ray measuring systems for quality control during the extrusion of microducts has allowed it to fulfill its stringent quality standards and meet the demands of its customers. 

Microducts are used as a protective channel in the building of fiber-optic networks to house optical-fiber cables. And Estonia-based Höhle leaves no stone unturned to deliver high-quality microducts at the shortest lead times possible. It runs only virgin HDPE, and has also recently included continuous online measuring and control systems in the manufacturing process. For measuring the inner and outer diameter, wall thickness and eccentricity of the microducts, the company has installed three X-Ray 6000 PRO devices from Sikora on each of their lines to measure microducts within diameter ranges between 3 and 20 mm.

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Profile Extruder Relies on X-Ray Technology to Control Quality

On Höhle microduct lines, separate monitors of the Sikora system are connected to each of the three x-ray devices, allowing operators to get immediate feedback.

“The advantage of the x-ray systems is that you are confident about the measured values and you get correct product dimensions immediately with the startup of the line with ‘one shot’,” explains Toomas Koobas, CEO at Höhle.  “For microduct production, continuous inline monitoring is the key factor when talking about quality. This can be achieved with Sikora devices.”

Profile Extruder Uses X-Rays to Maintain Quality

Toomas Koobas, CEO (left), and production manager Marko Hoolma of Höhle credit Sikora x-ray measurement technology with maintaining quality of extruded microducts. (Photos: Sikora)

At Höhle, separate monitors of the Econcontrol 6000 processor system are connected to each of the three x-ray devices. These give operators real-time access to the current measuring values. Höhle says real-time visualization is the secret of perfect process control. Compared with alternative technologies for quality control such as ultrasound, x-ray technology provides consistent measuring values without being affected by temperature or material, the company says. There is no need for coupling media and there is no calibration required. “With x-ray you get a measurement you trust and a guarantee of compliance with microduct specifications,” says Koobas.

Another quality-control tool Höhle uses from Sikora detects lumps in their extrudates. These systems detect the smallest non-conformities on the microduct’s surface. The operator receives immediate information in case of a fault and can take necessary actions. The combination of x-ray measuring systems and lump detection during the manufacturing process ensure the highest microduct quality for highest customer satisfaction.