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FLEXO Magazine : June 2013
When a TSM BAW device is placed in a liquid, a layer of flu- id couples to the cyclical shear displacement of the vibrating surface. Increases in viscosity increase the damping of the TSM BAW. Also, the loading of the device reduces the BAW sensor 's frequency. The viscosity measurement is achieved by correlating the measured BAW electrical parameters to the acoustic viscosity (AV) of the fluid. The general relationship between acoustic viscosity and kinematic viscosity (in centiStokes (cSt)) is: AV = kinematic viscosity x density2 (in cSt x (g/cm3)2). The solid-state sensor is a fraction of the size of previous viscometers, has no moving parts, is insensitive to vibration, and provides an alternate design approach for users. Offered strictly as a sensor, Vectron's ViSmart sensor solution allows system integrators and OEMs to implement viscosity control system designs without having to compromise their requirements. The sensing solution readily measures aqueous or sol- vent based printing inks. As shown in Figure 2, the ViSmart viscosity sensor system consists of two to three components depending on the application requirements. For solvent- based printing inks and other hazardous applications, the viscosity measurement solution consists of a hazardous loca- tion certified viscosity sensor, a hazardous location certified shunt-diode barrier and a DIN rail mount converter. Figure 3 shows how easily the ViSmart viscosity sensor sys- tem components can be incorporated within a flexographic printing press. The sensor easily integrates in-line with the fluid to be measured, while the shunt-diode barrier ensures excessive energy does not get supplied to the sensor in the hazardous classified area. The DIN rail mount converter al- lows continuous and easy access to the sensor temperature and viscosity data on a CAN or RS-485 physical layer utlizing a variety of protocols. For aqueous inks and other non-hazardous applications, the shunt-diode barrier is not required and the sensor can be directly connected to the DIN rail mount converter. The sensor's small size and other capabilities can have a significant impact in printing equipment design. For example, the sensor can be used in ink management delivery systems, including modular type designs that can be quite small or complex. In many cases, the sensor integrates so well into the equipment that the sensor may become virtually invisible and unnoticeable by the end user. Buried in the design and so compact that it is becomes hard to see, the limited space for the sensor precludes the use of other available viscometers. In the highly competitive printing press arena, the sensor allows flexibility in design, provides significant differentiation, and enables system designers to add value and customize ink delivery to suit the specific needs of their customers. www.flexography.org JUNE 2013 FLEXO 93