©Corbis

©Corbis

©Corbis

Did You Know…

…how Baby Bottles Stay Leak-Proof?


The father fills a bottle with hot milk for his little darling And then checks the temperature once more to be on the safe side – that’s all there is to it. But… what’s this? The milk is leaking out from under the lid between the bottle and the nipple. To avoid this kind of a nuisance, manufacturers measure and test all product parts very carefully. Silicon parts acting as seals present a particular challenge, since it is very difficult to predict how the elastic material will react under the strain of use.

Starlim//sterner, an Austrian producer of silicon parts, used to use elaborate testing procedures for quality assurance. Random samples would undergo strenuous simulated use for an extended period of time, a process that inevitably destroyed them. These long, drawn-out tests resulted in major delays for the development process. Now the company uses computer tomography to X-ray the inside of the product without damaging it. To do this, it uses the METROTOM 800 from ZEISS, which is able to produce a 3D image called a volume model that is accurate down to 4.5 micrometers. This model allows any number of virtual sections of the part to be generated and analyzed. It is even possible to take a virtual “light” through the entire part.

"“In the past, we primarily relied on the experience of our product developers and common sense. But now we can measure every detail with absolute certainty and reproducibility,” starlim//sterner R&D Manager Johannes Pichler explains. The advantage lies not so much in the measuring speed, but in the quality. After all, with volumes amounting to several hundred million units per year, defects would be financially devastating. And when it comes to the car steering wheel switches and medical products that the company also produces, even a few defective items have the potential of leading to much more serious consequences than just a stained bib.

18 October 2011

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