Manual testers typically take measurements at only three positions across the machine and the process can be adjusted using these measurements. Automated systems, however, can make more frequent measurements, e.g. every 30 cm across a 10 m wide machine, in the same time or less.
This not only gives a more accurate average, but constantly provides profile information that can be used to verify online sensors and adjust the cross-machine profile of parameters such as moisture, basis weight, thickness and gloss. Without accurate measurements, these parameters cannot be controlled, and quality suffers. To achieve this manually, more resources and more budget are needed, whereas with automated testing, no extra labor or material costs are required to obtain this increased testing frequency as well as detailed CD profiles.
The latest automated testing systems are simple to operate, requiring minimal training. For example, with ABB’s newest L&W Autoline, the intuitive touchscreen interface and trouble-free paper feeding systems further reduce operator involvement compared with previous generations. Once a paper sample is fed into the device, testing starts by touching the screen, with results automatically collected and organized into reports that are available mill-wide. Maintenance procedures are very similar to those of the benchtop instruments when they use the same measurement principles.