CLEVELAND—MonTech U.S.A.'s new online testing cell is the future of high-capacity testing in the rubber industry, according to the company.
The online testing cell is the first automated robotic testing system available to the rubber industry, said Spencer Bagan, national sales manager for Columbus, Ind.-based MonTech. Bagan spoke about the new technology at the ACS Rubber Division's International Elastomer Conference in Cleveland, where MonTech exhibited the online testing cell and a full line of testing equipment.
MonTech began developing the online testing cell in 2008, largely because of the interests of its high-volume customers, according to Bagan.
"With the online testing cell, we're bringing the quality lab to the mixing floor," Bagan said.
"We wanted to reduce errors, reduce costs in the lab, and achieve unbeatable repeatability," he said. "Robotics was the only answer. Every OEM has asked how to automate the process."
Housing multiple stations including binning, sample preparation, density and more, the testing cell provides relevant batch information in real time, according to MonTech.
The unit's complete automation and robotics promises faster batch release, higher sampling rates, less scrap, less rework, decreased testing variability and lower testing costs, the company said.
The online testing cell has a return on investment of less than two years in greenfield plants, according to MonTech.
So far MonTech has installed more than 90 testing cells around the world, with Europe and Asia being the biggest markets so far, according to Bagan. Each unit is made to the customer's specifications, he said.
"Each unit is unique," Bagan said. "What works for one company doesn't work for another."
While Bagan wasn't at liberty to give exact details, he said the company is at work on what eventually will be the second generation of the online testing cell, as well as other new products.
"We have a new abrasion tester this year," he said, adding that instruments to measure specific gravity, bulk density and other properties could be introduced in 2018.