Polyethylene Moisture in Plastic Strip/Fastener Manufacturing Critical in Winding and Binding Processes

PE Chemical Structure

Polyethylene ((C2H4)nH2) Plastic Resin

Plastic strips are fabricated in a continuous process into specific shapes based on application.  Generally any long, narrow, solid plastic shape is likely to be considered a strip.  Strips are found in new re-sealable applications every day from sandwich bags, chips, and many others.  Moisture control is critical prior to wind up because moisture impacts proper winding and binding characteristics to other materials at the end converter.  Improper moisture levels will cause expansion and contraction of the product roll which will then cause problems in the end user’s unit operations or unraveling.

A Near Infrared Moisture Transmitter is often complemented with a Thermal Imaging System to completely characterize the process.  The Near IR Moisture Transmitter communicates with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and outputs data history to an archiving PC.  The PLC controls strip moisture via an air blower.  Moisture ranges from 0.2 to 0.6% with targets usually around 0.4 to 0.5%.

Process Sensors MCT Series of Near IR Moisture Transmitters meet this need in the manufacturing of plastic strips.  Process Sensors IR Division features Thermal Imaging Systems.

PE Moistures

PE Lab vs. MCT Moisture


PE Moisture Control

PE Moisture Before and After Air Blower with Moisture Measurement and PLC Control


PE Sandwich Bag Strip

Zip Bag

PE pellets

Polyethylene Pellets

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Teflon PTFE Moisture Control is A Non-Sticky Application!


Teflon Fluorocarbon Chemical Make Up

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) is better known as Teflon.  PTFE is a high molecular weight fluorocarbon compound that is hydrophobic and commonly used to provide a non-stick coating on cookware.  It has many other applications as a lubricant and coating.  Teflon PTFE is so slippery that it is even used as a coating that most insects can’t climb.  And as with many great discoveries it was discovered by accident while an engineer working for DuPont (Roy Plunkett, Kinetic Chemicals, 1938, DuPont and GM founded company) was looking to develop a better refrigerant.  Application development took only a few more years.

Teflon PTFE

Teflon PTFE Molecular Make Up


After polymerization in the reaction chamber and draining, the stringy Teflon PTFE is dried and pulverized into a flour like consistency.  Moisture measurement and control is critical at this stage in maintaining Teflon PTFE performance characteristics when applied to down the line applications such as fry pans and lubricants.  Process Sensors MCT Series of moisture transmitters provide immediate non-contacting moisture measurement and display, analog and digital outputs.

Teflon PTFE Moisture Graph Lab vs. MCT

Teflon PTFE Graph Lab vs. MCT Moisture

Teflon Moisture Chart

Teflon PTFE Lab vs. MCT Chart

Hot Melt Thickness Measurement On Film

Hot melt data

Lab vs. MCT Transmitter

Hot Melt measurements on film are typically measured with Near Infrared (NIR) transmitters that provide a digital display in engineering units, analog outputs and a digital interface.  The NIR non-contacting Hot Melt measurement is extremely accurate and stable with no regulatory requirements.  The measurement can be fixed point or scan across the web to provide a cross direction web profile.

The Guardian Web Profile System provides a Cross Direction profile on a large flat panel LCD in an economical and attractive enclosure. The Guardian is fully automated with recipes for web width, scan speed, zone average, and data logging digital outputs. This is a complete system to provide the highest value performance to cost ratio. The system can supply CD Web Profiles and MD Trends for hot melt thickness, moisture and temperature. Multiple measurements can be displayed on a single screen.  The MCT Series of NIR transmitters can also measure hot melt thickness on film in a fixed position.

Hot melt grab

Hot Melt Lab vs. MCT

Columnated Beam Assembly for Narrow Web and Web Edge Measurement

Columnated Beam Assemblies for Narrow Webs and Web Edge measurements are becoming an increasingly important tool for packaging material suppliers in the food, pharmaceutical and other industries.  Typically these applications require a much smaller spot size to avoid the irregularity on the body of the web which may contain intentional voids or reception spots for capsules, pills, vitamins etc.  In these cases there is usually a continuous band of hot melt coating on the narrow web edge for both lab and process measurements.

There are two common methods to narrow spot size.  Masking the light beam essentially blocks light energy into a smaller profile using less light and decreasing the signal to noise ratio.  Optical lens size reduction maintains energy and a strong signal to noise ratio.  Sometimes a combination of the two techniques are employed to best optimize spot size and shape for narrow webs.  Please contact Process Sensors to discuss your application at 508.473-9901.

Narrow Web comparison of optical to mask technique

Narrow Web Columnated Lens Assembly

Nonwoven Moisture Measurement with Process Near IR Transmitter

nonwoven color fabric

Polypropylene Nonwoven

Nonwovens are usually manufactured from fibers or filaments as sheets or webs bonded together thermally, mechanically or chemically.  The term nonwoven indicates that they are not made by weaving or knitting. Sometimes a certain percentage of recycled fabrics and oil-based materials are used in nonwoven fabrics for strength characteristics for a given application. Nonwovens are generally recyclable and have gained favor in single use and disposable markets for ecological or “green” reasons and increasingly function as a substitute for polyurethane foam.  They are also used in the manufacture of bullet proof vests, very flexible material for a large number of applications.

These nonwoven engineered fabrics can have the same appearance and strength as woven fabrics.  Nonwovens can be thermally bound by adding a resin and heating up the web to melt the resin into the fibers or chemically bound with an adhesive or mechanically bound such as felts.  PET (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) are common chemical formulations used in the manufacture of nonwovens.

Near Infrared (NIR) process transmitters have several applications in the nonwoven manufacturing process that can reduce costs, increase line speed and quality control.  Primary application is moisture measurement at the dryer exit but these NIR transmitters can also measure water based binder coatings, and for low weight nonwoven webs, basis weight based on the hydrocarbon absorption peak at 2.34 µ.  Process Sensors MCT series of NIR transmitters meet these application requirements.  Please contact us at 508.473-9901 to discuss your application.

Air Purge – When Do I Need One?

Air Purge Specifications

Process Near Infrared (NIR) analyzers benefit from an air purge in dusty environments.   The optical light tube is equipped with a 1/4″ brass Swagelock fitting for filtered or plant air.  Air flow is typically 3-5 psig to provide a laminar air flow that prevents dirt and dust from accumulating on the lens and reducing light energy return to the detector.  Higher air pressures create a turbulent flow that doesn’t protect the lens from dirt accumulation.  The picture below illustrates the difference that an air purge can make in a very dusty environment such as mines, concrete processing, or other environments where dust, or dirt is prevalent.

Please contact your Process Sensors representative at 508.473-9901 to discuss your application today.

Air Purge before and after

Benefit of Air Purge

Tobacco Moisture Measurement Locations

Tobacco moisture measurement locations

Moisture is Critical in Tobacco Processing

Pack Expo Las Vegas Booth # S-7818

The Premier Packaging and Processing Trade Event

PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013
September 23 – 25, 2013
9:00 am – 4:00 pm daily
Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada USA

Register Now

Pack Expo logo 2013

Be sure to visit Process Sensors Corporation at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 (Booth S-7818), September 23-25 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We will have our application experts and top executives on hand to answer your questions. Process Sensors will be showing our Guardian Cross Direction Web Profile System, our NEW MCT460 NIR Transmitter and our MCT660 Bench Top Analyzer for on-line, at-line and laboratory measurements. Please call and schedule an appointment to meet at our booth or just stop on by to visit with us! What happens in Vegas could help your bottom line and improve product quality.

Event Overview

The Latest Advances in Packaging and Processing

The PACK EXPO show floor showcases state-of-the-art materials, machinery and methods for packaging and processing from 1,600 exhibiting companies.

  • Integrated systems for increasing line productivity, versatility and efficiency
  • Revolutionary product launches promising new heights in safety, security, automation and cost-savings
  • Breakthrough technologies that allow for next-generation product development
  • Onsite demonstrations that let you assess the compatibility, adaptability and ease of operation


Pack Expo

Packaging Machinery


Rainbow Mountains are Real!

The Rainbow Mountains in China are real, not photo shopped.  Formed over millions of years, sandstone marking different geological ages have been pushed up by colliding tectonic plates.  Wow!  Happy Friday from Process Sensors!

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Rainbow Mountains in China!