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LaserLinc, Inc.: precision, non-contact, measurement and control solutions for wire, cable, hose, tube, pipe, and other products in medical, automotive, aerospace, energy, metrology and other industries

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Home > Applications > Bubble Tube/Taper Tube Measurement

Bubble Tube/Taper Tube Measurement


Bubble tubing, bump tubing, and taper tubing are special tubing designs in which the diameter is not constant. Medical device manufacturers use such specialty tubing for products like angioplasty balloons and catheters.

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The tubing is extruded continuously. To generate the tube profile, puller speed and/or air pressure are precisely controlled. The cycle is repeated and the tubing is cut-to-length to create one part after another.

If you produce tubing, or any product (e.g. guide wires), in which the diameter profile is not constant, contact LaserLinc for an in-process measurement solution.

In-Process Inspection

In-process inspection of non-constant diameter tubing is complicated by the need to precisely correlate diameter measurement with linear position along the tube profile. LaserLinc’s hardware and software are uniquely designed to fulfill this need.

Successful measurement in this application starts with high-speed sensing to catch the segments where diameter is changing. LaserLinc offers the fastest scanning laser micrometers available at 4,000 Hz per axis, more than enough to profile the tube.

Next, diameter measurements must be accurately correlated with length. Encoder input An encoder produces a pulsed output and each pulse represents a fixed amount of [typically linear] movement. is captured and stored at the hardware level with every OD measurement for perfect correlation. This allows accurate taper and segment length measurement.

Finally, to synchronize measurement with the start of each part cycle, an output from the PLC or puller/cutter is captured. This is also done in hardware so all inputs are perfectly correlated.

Instantly Assess Process History

Since diameter variation is expected with bump and taper tubing, a standard trend chart (which plots diameter versus time or distance) is ineffective. In order to see part-to-part variation, graphs of parts must be overlaid.

LaserLinc’s Bump/Taper Tube module includes a special trend chart that plots a new trace for each part cycle. Each trace has a different color. Because the traces are synchronized to the process and overlaid, diameter variation from part-to-part becomes instantly recognizable.

Post-Process Sample Inspection

For offline inspection of non-constant diameter proflies such as bump and taper tubing, see LaserLinc's automated Profile Vu-L™ product. Profile Vu-L systems offer recipe-based, servo-controlled measurement with all of the capabilities you will require. Read more here.