On-line, Drip Irrigation QA Tests that Save Money, Time & Improve Quality

Joey MezistranoMachinery & Equipments, Pipe Extrusion

Your success as a drip irrigation pipe manufacturer hinges on your ability to produce pipe that performs consistently. Luckily with modern machinery, once your production line has been correctly calibrated the quality of your finished product should remain rather consistent.

In this article we are going to discuss how you can ensure you produce quality drip irrigation pipe with four of the most common on-line quality assurance production tests. Generally speaking these on-line QA tests are a combination of systems that can warn operators of a production issue, allowing for fast reaction while avoiding excess scrap material.

Four Common On-Line Quality Assurance Tests
  • Dripper outlet/hole inspection
  • Drip irrigation pipe dimensional characteristics
  • Drip irrigation pipe integrity check
  • Dripper spacing
Advantages of On-Line Quality Control
Automated Production Micro Adjustments

On-line quality control has evolved to feature machine interfacing with other upstream or downstream production equipment, such as the extruder, perforator, or haul-off / puller. This enables automatic communication between machines within a closed feedback loop, resulting in automatic production micro adjustments.

In turn, this allows your production line to produce drip irrigation pipe within specifications without the need of operator intervention. Having a consistent high resolution encoder signal is critical for these adjustments.

Enabling Immediate Corrective Action

On-line quality inspection, means common production issues with the your pipe can be recognized immediately. This enables taking immediate corrective action, be it either manual interventions by line operators, or automated micro adjustments. The result is the reduction of scrap or off-spec product quantities, as well as minimization of production downtimes.

Ensuring Consistent Quality

On-line quality inspection ensures production of drip irrigation pipe with consistent quality. Producing consistently quality drip irrigation pipe will ensure your company’s market position as a reliable manufacturer, enabling steady sales and minimal customer complaints.

Dripper Visual Inspection

The purpose of this test is to detect the exact position and shape of all water outlet holes punched into your drip irrigation pipe. In case of failure a closed-loop system automatically activates a servo motor in order to correct positional errors that can accumulate over time from small pipe rotations. It also makes adjustments on the activation of the perforating machine, so as to correct any synchronization errors where the perforation may happen early or late.

All these real-time corrections are performed through specific software which allows the perforator to control the position of the punched water outer hole precisely. Lastly, the system is equipped with a memory log of a set number of entries, which includes the most recent fail images, as well as various inspection parameters.

DRTS Dripper Vision System

Pipe Dimensional Characteristics

Inspection machines that check inline pipe thickness are based on the latest technology available and offer full dimensional, non-invasive or destructive inspection of your pipe. Specifically, these machines can monitor the thickness of the pipe wall both along and across the pipe, providing measurements of the inner and outer diameter, of the eccentricity, stability and ovality of the pipe measured.

Production lines of new pipe extrusion allow thickness inspection machines to achieve the most precise operation possible, keeping pipe thickness and material use low. This in turn saves about 5% of material, reduces production times and stabilizes line operation. Additionally, inline inspection machines can carry an X-ray or an optical camera system which can monitor the pipe for surface contamination or other unwanted characteristics.

Pipe Puncture Inspection

Pipe puncture inspection is performed by installing continuous quality control equipment with real-time optical measurements of the produced pipe. These laser-based detectors check for small bubbles that may form during the pipe cooling process. Such bubbles denote micro punctures in the drip pipe, that are immediately identifiable with pipe puncture on-line inspection.

Dripper Spacing Check

The DRTS round dripper inserter at the beginning of the line, sets the spacing for drip emitters. Down the line, the drip irrigation perforating machine apart from perforating, also measures the distance between drippers. This parameter is significant to monitor, since the dripper spacing determines how many drippers are used throughout the drip irrigation line, which has an impact on the number of drippers needed for production of a given length of pipe.

Moreover, the spacing of the plants once the pipe is being used for agricultural irrigation, is directly affected by the dripper distance, so it’s important to keep the distance between drippers within standard pipe specs.

DRTS Equals Quality

Quality assurance testing is an integral part of any successful manufacturing process. DRTS has worked with customers of all sizes, operating in a diverse range of markets, in order to provide top-quality services on drip irrigation pipe production and on-line inspection. DRTS can help you identify the on-line controls that are critical for your processes and would be most beneficial in terms of ROI for your specific application.

Contact us here to get a free expert consultation and learn how you can adopt the latest drip irrigation manufacturing quality assurance practices.

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