During last week’s International Rubber Expo in Tenessee, we introduced our BaleGuard surface inspection system to the entire rubber industry for the first time.
Originally custom-designed in 2009 to detect defective rubber bales using multivariate image analysis, BaleGuard is emerging as the leading tool for quality-minded rubber bale manufacturers.
What Exactly is a Rubber Bale, Anyway?
Great question! Our informal poll at the show revealed that about half of the attendees weren’t familiar with rubber bales. They are block-shaped works in progress in rubber manufacturing.
At the beginning of the supply chain, synthetic rubber ingredients are all liquids. After they react, the rubber is coagulated, dried into “crumb” and pressed into bales. Rubber bales are sold and further processed into various products from tires to basketball bladders and even chewing gum.
Moisture is an important quality concern in rubber bales, and many moisture issues cause visual defects – everything from burnt crumb to high-moisture chunks that didn’t fully dry in the dryer. Contaminants such as oil spots and foreign objects are also prominent concerns. Bale quality impacts the compounding chemistry and ultimately, the quality of finished rubber products.
Customers Know Manufacturers Can Improve Product Quality
Our visitors at the International Rubber Expo included numerous rubber bale consumers who walked their suppliers over to our booth. Marlene Cardin and Jamal Alli were there to introduce BaleGuard and demonstrate a “lite” single-camera version that we use for in-plant feasibility testing.
Rubber manufacturers were excited to discover that BaleGuard was designed and built to improve product quality specifically in their industry, and that it has been tested and proven in the field over a 5-year period. Their enthusiasm made the International Rubber Expo a very rewarding experience for us, and we look forward to next year’s show.
Consistently High Product Quality Pays Dividends
We know that manufacturers who embrace our technology are poised to become preferred suppliers. The consistent delivery of high quality rubber bales leads directly to an increase in customer satisfaction. If you missed us at the International Rubber Expo, contact Marlene Cardin for more information about BaleGuard or to book an in-plant demonstration.