Introducing a new product, in line with our original vision

A company vision is a powerful thing.

In my younger days, I thought the concept of a vision was mostly hot air. Day-to-day concerns were far more important to me. But I later learned that once you solve some initial problems and achieve a base level of success, you get a chance to step back, take stock, and reset your focus. And, as time goes by, the importance of having a vision starts to become clear.

At least that’s what it was like for me. I know some people have a well-formed vision right out of the gate. But in my case, the vision came later. It’s been a long, winding road through years of product development, speaking with customers and partners, and building a business around what comes out of this process.

 Co-efficient’s Company Mission

Our mission is to make precision laser thickness gauging easy and accessible for lead-acid manufacturers around the world.

Recently, we decided that adhering to this mission meant changing tack a little. We realized that despite the huge benefit of in-line measurements, not all our customers have the capacity to install a gauge in-line. 

We came to this realization simply by speaking with our customers. When we asked the question: how could we help as many lead battery people as possible in 2018? The answers we received led us to believe there was strong demand for an off-line laser gauge.

So we acted on the feedback and developed it. Then we installed it for our first customer shortly after.

We call this new product the Mate Gauge Benchtop.

So far, I think it was the right choice. We’ve already helped manufacturers get AGM projects, that were previously facing serious roadblocks, get fully up and running. We saw eyes open wide on the factory floor as engineers ran between lines grabbing plates, finally able to measure them properly and answer questions that had been plaguing their company from top to bottom: for example, was the weight-thickness variation between plates due to density changes or thickness changes? Now management is equipped to answer questions like this.

But determining the cause of weight-thickness variations isn’t the only reason to do off-line laser gauging.

 7 more reasons to go ‘off-line’ with the new Mate Gauge Benchtop:

1. It’s non-contact: That means it’s able to scan the entire plate profile and smooth out the microscopic ‘mountain range’. Using a non-contact measuring device is the only way to properly measure the thickness of soft pasted plates. We’ve tested Gauge R&R with competing methods, and there is simply no contact gauge that produces an acceptable result. Soft plates must be measured non-contact.

2. It’s lightning-fast: A typical plate is scanned in just 3 seconds. In that short time, the gauge captures data on a thousand individual points on the plate surface. 

3. It’s flexible: An in-line gauge has to be installed at a single point on a single line. An off-line system can be placed anywhere, so it can measure plates from any line and from any location on the line (e.g. before or after flash-dry, or even after curing). 

4. It’s affordable: The cost of the Mate Gauge Benchtop is significantly lower than our previous gauges. This is partly because the hardware requirements for an off-line product are lower, and partly because you can avoid all the extra costs associated with in-line gauging, like changing the line, modifying a conveyor, or shifting equipment around. The Mate Gauge Benchtop works out of the box. Our engineers don’t even have to travel to your plant to install it. It’s basically plug-and-play. Of course, if you need help we’re just a phone call away.

5. It’s user-friendly: The Mate Gauge Benchtop is designed to be installed and used both by QA specialists and operators. By empowering operators with the capability to take accurate thickness measurements, they’ll be able to improve quality and Cpk.

6. It’s powered by smart software: This isn’t just a more accurate hand gauge we’re talking about. It’s a software-driven, smart machine. Why does that matter? Because it’s going to make your job a lot easier. It stores all the data it collects. And it comes with an API you can use to transfer this data to your in-house quality management system. It also provides extensive filtering and statistical control, so you can record the center-line average, a peak measurement, or even a peak-to-peak measurement. It includes product recipes and an alarm system, so operators are instantly alerted if plates are out of spec.

7. It provides data you can learn from: It’s a perfect first step toward fully automatic in-line gauging and control systems. It gives all stakeholders (including product designers, manufacturing engineers, QA, and operators) a chance to gain full confidence in laser thickness measurements, and understand their thickness specifications accordingly. It can cut the time to improved quality and performance, company-wide, by 6-12 months. This is possible because once you understand the answer to key questions like what is our paste density-weight-thickness correlation, you’ll be able to tighten up your designs and make more precise, higher-performing products.

 So, is the Mate Gauge Benchtop the right choice for you? 

If you’ve ever experienced a situation where all your plates have passed QA checks, only later to be found out of spec, you could benefit from this gauge. 

You probably don’t want this to happen again. But often it’s easier to live with the status quo even if it’s not the best solution. However, if you’re curious about how you could stop producing out-of-spec plates once and for all, you might want to get this gauge.

Cheers,
Steve