Lab Canada

Analyzer automates QC functions

Victorinox, maker of the legendary Swiss Army knife, needed to automate its production quality control process. The process is part of a factory automation system in which only one non-specialist worker runs the entire moulding operation. The automation system required a moisture analyzer to check the plastic granulates used to mould components of the products being made. For this purpose, the company chose and recently installed a Mettler Toledo Professional moisture analyzer equipped with a OneClick user interface.

Victorinox’s quality control experts have pre-programmed the equipment with six shortcut keys; one for each of the plastic granulates in use. This ensures that the operator simply has to load a sample and press a clearly labelled shortcut key; the assigned drying method then starts automatically.

Measurement results, displayed by an instrument on the factory floor, can be sent directly to a regular A4/letter printer anywhere on the company network, for example in the quality control office. The same data may also be transferred to a file server as a PDF for on-screen viewing and electronic archiving, as well as in standard CSV or XLS format for interchange with laboratory and office software.

Professional moisture analyzers are tested as well with SmartCal to verify the performance of the instrument’s overall functionality. After following simple instructions, normalization for ambient conditions is automatic due to a plug-in humidity and temperature sensor. Reports are generated in A4 or strip printer format as well as PDF or CSV files.

“Whether the new Mettler-Toledo Professional moisture analyzer instrument is being used in a laboratory or on the factory floor, it achieves highly reproducible results while full network support and USB connectivity simplifies data transfer and ensures convenient and secure reporting,” said Kathrin Annaheim, product manager, Mettler-Toledo Laboratory Weighing. “With OneClick graphical user interface also SmartCal tests can be started with one click. Once the test has started, the user is guided step by step through the test.”

The goal at Victorinox is to ensure that materials are matching the quality requirements at goods receipt and during the production process. Since the moisture analyzer went into service the company says it has been able to eliminate product errors and to speed up the moulding process by as much as five to ten percent.