Last year, we introduced a unique gauge to the marketplace called HazePro that measures the haze of plastic films. This is a very exciting technology to us who are involved in the gauging industry, and especially to the end users who are responsible for the quality production of film products. This is not a new measurement method, as companies have been measuring haze in their quality control labs for many years. The big innovation is that we figured out how to do it precisely on-line (during the manufacturing process) for real-time, true quality assurance and greater insight into changes in process conditions.
Let me take a couple of minutes to explain what haze is and why it’s so important in the production of plastic films.
It’s all about quality
Haze is that milky or cloudy appearance you see in plastic film, and it’s a critical quality parameter for manufacturers. Haze is typically caused by the scattering of light in transparent material. It can be affected by several factors, such as choice of resin(s), the extrusion process, additives, regrind content and various surface conditions. In scientific terms, it is the percentage of light transmission that deviates greater than 2.5 degrees. The lower the haze measurement value, the higher the clarity of the material.
Here’s why it’s important
In flexible packaging applications, first impressions are everything. A hazy film can make a product appear low in quality in the eyes of the consumer. In certain applications, a film with high clarity is desirable to clearly see the packaged contents. In other applications, a high level of haze in packaging may be necessary to make colors, graphics and text appear vibrant and deliver a visual impact.
Haze as an on-line tool is more than just a haze measurement. Changes in the haze level can indicate problems with your process conditions, such as cooling too fast/slow, shear, flow issues, plasma surface treatment, variation in regrind content, an issue with an extrusion layer and more.
How we measure haze
During the extrusion process, NDC’s HazePro gauge accurately measures the amount of light that is diffused or scattered as it passes through a transparent material. These on-line measurements enable manufacturers to immediately confirm the product quality and adjust the film extrusion process to tightly maintain the desired product appearance. Manufacturers receive critical process information in real time, enabling them to make process adjustments to control the level of haze.
Let us know if you’re interested in learning more about our HazePro measurement solution. We’re here to help.