If your business depends on processes where fluids are dispensed, whether they be adhesives, sealants, potting compounds, coatings, lubricants, or even just water, you know the importance of control. Control of volume, control of flow rate, control of placement – all have a significant impact on the cost and quality of your output.
Fortunately, there are a host of companies out there with a seemingly endless array of solutions to offer. Unfortunately, each says theirs is the best approach to solving your individual control problem.
So, how do you decide which way to go?
Virtually everyone agrees that price, while an important criteria in system selection, is probably the worst factor on which to base your decision.
Better to base your evaluation standards on the goals and objectives of the fluid dispensing operation in your process. That being said, when fluids are being dispensed, there is only one place where control really matters: at the point of application. This is where everything comes together to determine the outcome of your efforts.
For example, if the pressure of your fluid is held precisely at the output of the regulator, your regulator supplier will be proud of their accomplishments and declare your system “under control.” But if that pressure regulator is located back near the pump and the pressure varies 20% by the time the fluid gets to the nozzle, where it is being dispensed onto your production part, the control is functionally ineffective. While this may seem extreme, restrictions in the hoses and fittings between the regulator and nozzle, coupled with variations in viscosity caused by fluctuations in fluid temperature from morning-to-night or season-to-season, can easily result in pressure deviations of this magnitude.
In the end, you argue with your supplier that your system is not under control, and he argues that his regulator is maintaining a perfectly stable pressure – and you are both correct, though no closer to reaching your objective.
The goal, then, must be to control all of the important parameters at the point where the fluid is being applied. Whether you are:
or coating coil:
or whatever your fluid dispensing job may be, it is imperative to focus your control energies on the point in the process where the result is created – and from a control perspective, the point-of-application is that last point in the fluid path where you can affect a change on the fluid being dispensed.
As we move forward in this series, we will explore this concept in greater detail, and because this is the Business of Temperature blog, we will leverage our expertise in point-of-application process temperature control as our platform.
We hope you find it useful and invite your comments and questions to help shape our discussions!