Engelamann and Buckham
The Aquatrac Moisture Meter
Oxford-based injection moulder, OGM Limited, says the purchase of a moisture analyser has enhanced its business and increased its future potential for growth.
The company, which specialises in producing high precision, technical plastic and thermoplastic injection mouldings and assemblies, purchased a Brabender Messtechnik Aquatrac Moisture Meter at the end of 2015 in response to a customer requirement to dry a copolyester material to a precise and low level.
Paul Tinson, Technical Moulding Manager, OGM Ltd, said he made the decision to purchase the Aquatrac after first seeing it in action two years ago. “I knew that the Aquatrac would greatly enhance our material testing capabilities, but, at the time, the demand within our business wasn’t there,” he explained.
“However, as we began to process more copolyester over the past couple of years, it became more critical. When processing this type of material, it is essential that it has been dried to the manufacturer’s specifications. Failure to do so can cause degradation in the polymer chain effecting the mechanical properties of the moulded part.”
The Aquatrac, which is available in the UK through quality control and testing equipment supplier, Engelmann & Buckham Ltd, was developed to measure the water content of engineering polymers. It is a simple-to-use and accurate means for determining the moisture content in plastic granules down to 0.001 percent, or 10 parts per million. Higher degrees of moisture, greater than 0.5 percent can also be measured.
Prior to the purchase of the Aquatrac, OGM Ltd was impact testing the copolyester parts. However, this type of testing wasn’t ideal, as a failure could be due to a number of reasons, not just the moisture content of the material. With the technology offered by the Aquatrac, the drying of the material at OGM can now be directly measured and, in the event of a failure, can enable moulders to fully focus attention on either the drying of materials or other aspects of the process. Tinson has also been able to use the Moisture Meter as an auditing tool for OGM’s 30 driers, to check that they are performing at the required levels.
“I chose the Aquatrac over its competitors because of the unique way that it measures only H20. Others we tested often included plasticisers present in some polymers that were lost together with H20 in the test process. This was then included in the moisture reading, meaning we could not relate those readings with the material supplier’s specification with total confidence.
“Not only has the Aquatrac enhanced our current business but is also an important sales tool for future customers,” Tinson added. “We are able to conclusively show that we can manufacture a part to an exact moisture level, therefore ensuring a top quality product, and this sets us ahead of our competition.”