Q: Have there been any real-world customer situations that you can share with the readers? What was the problem and how was it solved?

A: All automatic inspection systems have very accurate information as to where in the film a defect is detected. In most cases, a defect triggers an alarm of some sort, which alerts an operator to the situation. The operator then has to manually mark the film in some fashion so the defect can be removed at a downstream process. The accuracy of the manual applied defect marker depends upon many factors such as the location of the operator at the time of the alarm, their reaction time, method of marking, line speed, etc.

Typically, web-inspection systems use an encoder which tracks web travel as a component of the inspection process. Therefore they can “track” the defect as it continues through the line. Novation’s AF2 WebFlagger was designed and developed to accept a signal from an upstream inspection system, so that when the defect reaches the location of the WebFlagger, the defect is automatically and accurately marked. It does so by applying a pressure-sensitive label which hangs off the edge of the web, or “flag” to the moving web.

As operator safety concerns grow, more and more guarding surrounds lines to prevent access to the moving web and rotating rolls. There are increasingly less locations where the web can be manually accessed and marked on the plant floor. The benefit of some type of automatic marking device such as our AF2 WebFlagger in these situations becomes apparent for the safety of operators coupled with added benefit of accurate placement of the defect marker.


Q: What is new at the company? New products? New services?

A: Novation has recently added some additional styles of defect flags to address our customers’ needs. We have recently developed a flag narrow enough in the cross-web direction to be applied to the edge of the web and be completely removed with the trimmed edge at a subsequent process.

We have also developed flags which are pre-printed with unique numbers and bar codes. The flag ID can then be correlated with the exact location and defect type in the inspection system roll map or Novation’s ScrapTracker system.

We also now produce flags with a foil lamination. This was based upon a requirement to sense the applied flag on a downstream process. These foil-laminated flags can easily be detected by a metal-detection sensor or a photo eye.