This informative blog allows plastics professionals to discuss plastics training and technology. Brought to you by Routsis Training: the plastic industry's premiere training provider.

Material Drying, Part 1: Dewpoint Meters

Materials that need to be dried require a reliable supply of heated and dried air. The dryness of the air is measured using a dewpoint meter. In practice, there are several ways this can be accomplished. What is the best method? Which type of sensor is most accurate? In this post, we will answer some common questions about dewpoint measurement.

Onboard Dewpoint Sensors

Many desiccant dryers have the option of being purchased with an on-board dewpoint meter. We strongly recommend this option. Even though these onboard sensors are typically oxide-based — which means they can drift ±5° or even ±10° dewpoint. While not extremely accurate, an onboard dewpoint meter provides a quick and convenient indication of the relative dryness of the air.

One of the best uses for such onboard sensors to alert you to potential issues with the dryer. To accomplish this, set an alarm on the dryer to notify you when the desiccant or regeneration cycle is failing to keep the air dry. This works well as a real-time indicator of the dryer’s effectiveness, or lack thereof.

Dryers equipped with dewpoint meters are typically capable of being set to regenerate when the desiccant bed reaches a pre-determined setpoint. This allows much more accurate control over the dryness of the air — as well as ensuring the bed regenerates only when necessary, in order to maximize its longevity.

Without an onboard dewpoint meter, there is no fast method to check the performance of the dryer and desiccant beds. Keep in mind these onboard meters will still need to be verified 2 or 3 times a year to ensure they are functioning properly. This is accomplished with a portable dewpoint meter.

Portable Dewpoint Meters

Every processing facility that uses material dryers should have several portable dewpoint meters available for maintenance and materials handling personnel to use. Meters with polymer-based sensors are preferable, as these are much more accurate than oxide-based sensors. These units are typically suitcase-sized with on-board batteries so they can easily be used out on the floor.

By installing test ports in your dryers and hoppers, you can use portable meters to draw air samples and test the air being provided to the hopper, within the hopper, returning from the hopper, and at the feedthroat. These measurements can quickly tell you how well the dryer is performing.

Feedthroat dewpoint measurement can also ensure the material entering the barrel is fully dried and there are no leaks causing the material to pick up moisture. Portable dewpoint meters are a great way to field-check the dryer’s onboard dewpoint meter whenever its accuracy is in question.

Without dewpoint measurement methods, there is no way to ensure your equipment is functioning and drying the material properly.

For more information about moisture measurement and material drying, be sure to check out Routsis Training’s Material Drying Technology. This online training programs give personnel a better understanding of how different polymers are best dried and prepared for reliable processing — and demonstrate how proper plastics material handling is critical to developing a consistent process and delivering quality products to your customers.

Quality Control? Quality Assurance? Learn the difference between QA and QC

The terms “QA” and “QC” are used frequently (and often interchangeably) in the plastics industry. But what do these terms actually mean? What is the role of each in delivering quality parts to your customers? In this post, we’ll demystify Quality Assurance and Control and explain how each plays an integral in your business.

Having visited thousands of processing facilities around the world, Routsis Training has found this is more than mere confusion over the terminology. In fact, it’s quite common to see so-called ‘Quality Assurance’ departments that are actually just performing ‘Quality Control’ duties.

Quality Control

ISO 9000 defines Quality Control as, ‘A part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements.’ In practice, this process involves visually inspecting, measuring, and/or testing parts to ensure they meet the customer’s requirements.

Since inspecting every single part is time consuming, most Quality Control departments institute specific procedures designed to detect and isolate bad product, such as first piece approval and routine inspections. During this process, a sample of product is retained and then put through a pre-approved series of visual, dimensional, and/or physical tests.

The theory behind quality control is that if a routine sampling of product is good, the products manufactured between the samplings should also be good. Most manufacturers use these quality control measures to help ensure customer satisfaction.

Quality Assurance

According to ISO 9000, Quality Assurance is ‘A part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.’ This may sound the same at first. But here is the key difference: while QC focuses on verifying that acceptable product is being, QA focuses on verifying that a good process is being used to make acceptable product.

In plastics processing, there are many ways to make an acceptable product that will pass initial inspection using completely different processes. The long-term ramifications of product manufactured using a different process can be anything from basic part discoloration to catastrophic part failure.


Here is the best way to differentiate the roles of QA and QC: Quality Control focuses on part monitoring while Quality Assurance focuses on process monitoring. Remember: Your customer is expecting you to produce the same product with the same process each and every time. To accomplish this, you need to be using both QC and QA measures.

In practice. delivering consistent quality to your customers is a plant-wide initiate and not solely the purview of the QA and QC departments. Routsis Training offers extremely cost-effective in-house training for all production personnel.

Our Professional Certification Portals are an excellent tool for training and benchmarking your entire workforce. We offer Quality Certification tracks for Injection Molders, Blow Molders, as well as Single Screw and Twin Screw Extrusion.

Routsis SmartTech™: The World’s Best Face-to-Face Training for Plastics Processors & Technicians

Routsis’s exclusive SmartTech™ training focuses on the science of injection molding — not just on the workings of a particular injection molding machine. The majority of training time is spent at your molding machines, making it a better way to help your company improve efficiency, profitability and its competitive position.

Here are 5 ways in which Routsis Training’s SmartTech™ is the most effective face-to-face training system available to the plastics industry.

1.) Routsis Training is the only company to provide pre-requisite online training so your employees are prepared before the on-site training starts.

2.) All our instructors have at least 30 years of real-world industry experience to ensure your employees are getting information they can actually use.

3.) Because we use pre-requisite training to prepare your employees, they can spend at least 60% of the time on your production floor learning applicable skills.

4.) Post-Requisite training reinforces and expands on what they learned to ensure your employees retain the information they learned from the course.

5.) Completion exams are conducted after all the pre, post, & face-to-face training are complete to ensure they retained the important concepts.

The fact is that there’s only so much a person can learn in a short period of time. In order to get the most from face-to-face learning time, we instill much of the knowledge ahead of time with prerequisite online training. This information is reinforced in the classroom and forms the basis for skills development performed on your production floor. We then follow this up with more training after our onsite visit — and then test the participants to ensure the information has been retained.

Please visit our SmartTech™ page to browse the SmartTech™ Scientific Molding training seminars and workshops available to your company. Also have a look at what our customers have to say about how Routsis SmartTech™ has helped their companies succeed.

Routsis RightStart™: The World’s Best Plastics Employee Development System

Not to toot our own horn here… but we are extremely proud of our RightStart™ system. It truly has no equal in the plastics industry. RightStart™ was developed by leading industry experts and is used by many top-performing plastics manufacturers worldwide. In fact, it is more than just a training system: It’s a solution to many of the most critical problems faced by plastics manufacturers.

What makes RightStart™ so special? Here are 5 important advantages of our premium in-house training service:

Training Solutions for Every Job Position

Routsis Training is the only company who will come to your facility and work with you to create a custom employee-development system for each job title on your production floor. We also offer this process remotely for mid-sized molders.

Hands-On Mentoring Materials

Our engineers will create customized hands-on mentoring materials so that every employee on every shift gets the same focused hands-on training after completing our online training courses.

Hands-On Skills Development Training

Your in-house training plan will include our exclusive SkillSet™ Labs and worksheets. Your employees use these labs to develop critical production skills on your actual production equipment.

The World’s Largest Online Plastics Training Library

Routsis Training gives you access to the largest, most up-to-date, library of plastics training in the world.

Unbeatable Customer Support

Our company has been leading the plastics training industry in providing exceptional support and ongoing course development: constantly expanding our library and keeping up with today’s technology.

There is no better way than the Routsis RightStart™ system for developing skilled and confident workers. Have a look at our RightStart™ testimonials to learn how others have leveraged Routsis Training’s extensive knowledge, unrivaled experience, and novel technologies.

Choosing the Right Training Provider

Most companies understand that training is important. But what are the specific requirements you should demand from your training provider? In this post, we will look at some important aspects of a successful in-house training program — and why it’s critical to choose the right provider for your operation.

Industry Best Practices

There have been many advances in the plastics processing industry over the past 30 years: processing equipment and machinery, process controls, process documentation, processing theory, and troubleshooting techniques. The best practices of 30 years ago are not the best way to meet the ever-increasing demands of customers today.

It’s not always a matter of right and wrong with respect to processing. But your technicians and engineers must have the knowledge and skills to implement better ways to establish, document, optimize, and troubleshoot your processes.

In-House Skills Development

It is obvious that technicians need skills to do their jobs successfully. But how do they acquire these skills? Many companies send their key employees offsite for training seminars. Not only are such sessions often inconvenient and expensive, there is the question of how relevant the training is to your operation.

Every processing facility is unique. The best, most efficient, and safest way for your techs to develop advanced processing skills is to conduct the training in-house — using your company’s own production equipment, molds, and materials.

Scientific Processing Methodology

As we have discussed in previous posts, a modern manufacturing facility needs to take a scientific approach to process establishment, documentation, optimization, and troubleshooting in order to remain competitive. Your training must be focused on data-driven scientific processing.

Quality assurance can only occur when the technician ensures the process matches the documented standard each and every time the mold starts up or when troubleshooting the process.

Measurable Results

Training is not just some buzzword or busywork: It is essential to meeting customer demands and growing your company. Improvements should be obvious. And you should demand positive results from your training provider.

Unfortunately, most plastics training is focused on traditional processing techniques. Such techniques, at best, can only help you maintain the status quo. For example, most troubleshooting focuses on making process changes until the part looks good. We refer to this as ‘traditional troubleshooting’ because it revolves around simply making adjustments to the process — putting all the responsibility for good product on quality control.

The industry’s best practice is to have a Documented Standard Process to which the current process can be easily compared. The standard is then matched and maintained each and every time the process runs. This is essential to providing actual quality assurance to your customers. Training that is focused on this scientific approach will deliver results almost immediately. And it will not be difficult to see the improvement to your bottom line,

The right training will help leverage the skills of your entire production workforce and take advantage of the equipment that your company has already invested in. A skilled and confident workforce is the key to your company’s continued growth and competitiveness.

We encourage you to take a look at Routsis Training’s company-wide training in-house training systems — including our Certification Training Portals, which are the fastest, easiest way for your company to train and benchmark its employees.