DotEye Powder is based on a technology originally developed for pulp suspensions. In a project involving PulpEye, AkzoNobel and SP Processum the technology was developed further to detect dots in powder streams. The first DotEye Powder analyser is now installed in an industrial application.
One of AkzoNobel’s products is Bermocoll, a thickening agent for paint, which has to meet very high demands on cleanliness. It is therefore of outmost importance that the amount of dots and other impurities is kept to an absolute minimum. So far the method to measure the level of dots has been to manually detect and identify impurities, which limits the possible number of samples that can be taken and analysed.
The joint project between PulpEye and AkzoNobel to develop the PulpEye technology was partly financed via SP Processum’s R&D council. The behaviour of powder is very different to suspensions and innovations were therefore needed, both regarding sampling units and layout of the measuring cell as well as image analysis and calculation of the results.
“Normally this technology is used to detect dots in pulp suspensions. In order to be able to measure dots in a powder stream we were forced to develop a totally new sampling system which can transport powder through the analyser’s optical unit,” says Elias Sundvall, project manager at PulpEye. “The powder stream flows through a measurement cell where it is photographed. The picture is analysed by an advanced image analysis programme and impurities are detected. The result is displayed on a screen to the process operators so that process problem can be corrected quickly before the product has to be rejected.”
DotEye Powder 2: The sampling unit takes a sample every tenth minute for analysis.
“The outcome of the project is that a manual analysis a couple of times a day has been replaced by an objective eye taking and analysing samples every tenth minute,” says David Blomberg Saitton, R&D Engineer at SP Processum. “One of our missions is to facilitate development of different processes and products for commercialization. This project is a good example of that.”
“DotEye Powder has given us an efficient tool to very early detect possible process problems which could cause dark dots on the finished product,” says Maria Ånger, process engineer at AkzoNobel in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. “We have therefore bought a DotEye Powder analyser for detection of dark dots and we use it in our continuous production. By over time building up measurement data and knowledge we will get an efficient analysis and control tool which will increase the quality of our product even further.”