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Maillefer SA: detection of manufacturing defects

Published on 04/06/2018

Maillefer SA realizes production equipment for the manufacturing of special tubes. The company is willing to develop an original online detection system for manufacturing defects of irrigation tubes

The company

Maillefer SA, a Swiss company based in Ecublens (VD), realizes production equipment for the manufacturing of special tubes for medical applications, water irrigation, multilayer pipes for the automotive industry, etc. The production lines mainly consist of extrusion machines with long water cooling tanks and tube drawing system.

In the context of water irrigation tubes, molded inserts called "drippers", are automatically placed at high speed inside the tube right after extrusion, i.e., when it is still hot. During this process, the tube can be damaged and may generate small perforations that render it unfit for use (defective part). The detection of these perforations as early as possible in the manufacturing process is thus essential, but challenging as the current methods do not allow the detection of small perforations.

The project

Maillefer SA is therefore willing to address this problem by developing an original online detection system for manufacturing defects of irrigation tubes. The design of such a system presents some technical challenges like the requirements for a full 360° control in a very confined space, exposure to fluid splashing and location near a heat source of about 250° C.

Member of Alliance Association for many years, the company contacts its mentor to expose its need. After an analysis of the situation, the advisor proposes to start with a preliminary study and to do it as a student project. Contact is made with Professor Youri Lopez de Meneses at the HE-Arc at Le Locle. The project was carried out by a Bachelor student (BSc) under the Professor’s supervision. It lasted about five months and helped develop a concept along with a performing test bench. For both parties, the outcome of the project was very satisfactory: the student obtained his Bachelor and Maillefer SA was able to develop a system and equip its machines with it.

Contact: alliance@alliance-tt.ch