ABB Adds Color Profiles to Color Measurement Sensor for Enhanced Paper Quality

November 19, 2020 by Seth Price

ABB added its Color Profiles feature to its High-Performance Color Measurement sensor.

The Color Profiles feature can detect tiny variations in color, opacity, fluorescence, and whiteness. The sensor is expected to improve the consistency of products in the paper industry.


The Need for a Color Measurement Sensor

Small variations in paper color can be a significant nuisance for anyone in the printing business. Professional-looking printed items, such as business cards, flyers, and booklets, require a uniform, consistent color. 

An informational brochure with one off-color page would stand out as unprofessional and could cost the business a client. Many paper products are coated, and the coating thickness must be uniform and consistent across multiple sheets. 

Otherwise, the texture, glossiness, or opacity could be affected. Paper manufacturers must tightly control their dyeing and coating operations to ensure uniform paper.


The Color Measurement sensor. Image courtesy of ABB.


The challenge with paper manufacturing is keeping the cost down. Paper products are ephemeral, and while they must look professional, they will be discarded quickly.

Therefore, the cost difference between a high-quality product and a low-quality product is not very much, meaning that quality improvements must be affordable.

ABB has added the Color Profiles feature to their existing color measurement sensor to hopefully improve the speed and accuracy of color defect detection. ABB claims these sensors feature the latest advances in LED technology, which allows for the detection of color in the visible and ultraviolet bands. 


The Color Profile Feature 

The LEDs provide consistent lighting of the paper during processing, and the reflection is measured through an onboard spectrometer and displayed on a digital dashboard. Variations are recorded for future data analysis or process control purposes.


A screenshot from the Colors Profile feature. Image courtesy of ABB.


In a well-designed control system, data can be collected from the sensor, and corrections to the dyeing or coating operations can be made automatically. Instead of waiting to see the paper slowly change color until some product is unsaleable, the Colors Profile feature can detect changes early, making adjustments while the color is within tolerances but still varying. 

This type of statistical process control will reduce scrap and increase the throughput of any paper dyeing or coating operation. 


Calibration Capabilities

These sensors integrate with other ABB products and aim to reduce the time required to program control logic for these systems.

The High-Performance Color Measurement Sensor with Colors Profile has no moving parts and promises a long, trouble-free service life.  Calibration is done very quickly, and new sensors can be put into service with little downtime. The LEDs are said to last many hours and promise to produce uniform light throughout their lifetime. 

The ABB Colors Profile feature aims to add value to paper products without significantly increasing the unit cost. After the initial investment, the sensors are designed to have a long lifespan. 


Overall, the Colors Profile feature aims to improve the papermaking industry's throughput while reducing waste and maintenance and control adjustment downtime.