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Written By Mark Batson Baril

I have recently been given a SCORE BEND TESTER by my superior, and have been instructed to start using it. I have been in the industry for 20 years and have had no need for this device. Can someone please tell me how I go about implementing this into my daily routine, and what are the parameters for it's use. I do about 25 - 30 make-readies on Bobst Diecutters a week. Thanks in advance for any help...

A Score Bend Tester
Made by Thwing-Albert Instrument Company

The Score Bend Tester is a device used to test cartons, after they have been die cut, for their strength at the scores. The main result the tester is there to calculate is how much force it takes to open the carton up, from its flat, ready to fill, condition. There are other testers out there that measure the board strength before it is converted into a carton or before a score is formed, but for this question we are focusing on the testing of the scored board only. There are several machines on the market The ones we have researched cost between $6,500.00 and $10,600.00 USD.

The main purpose of having and using the Score Bend Tester is to control the quality of machined filled boxes. As companies that use automatic machinery in their packaging lines become more sophisticated, they are demanding equal sophistication from their carton producing vendors. Most of these machines find themselves within the Quality Control and/or testing labs of medium to large sized box shops. Typically, parameters are set-up for how much strength it should take to fold open the carton during the machine filling operation. It is then the job of the carton manufacturer to stay within those parameters. The only way to properly test and document what is actually being produced is to run tests on some type of bend tester. As in any statistical process control situation, every production runs' quality control will vary slightly from one to the other. Many companies will take test measurements at the beginning, middle, and end of the run. Each test sampling will usually have at least ten cartons and again will vary depending on the size of the run, the number up the tool is running, the parameters set-up by the final customer, etc...

We have learned that the testers are used all the way from the sampling process for new cartons, up through the first article inspections done on press, and on to the final production runs. By using the tester as a guide from start to finish, the manufacturer can get controlled information in order to make educated decisions on everything from paper parameters to tooling specifications. To try to insure maximum speeds in their finishing operations, some companies also use the machines to test the flat diecut cartons throughout the run to insure consistency and conformance with their own gluing departments requirements.

So, those are the basics of what the machine is typically used for. As far as putting it to use as a regular part of your day to day operation, it would seem that this will be a combined effort between you, your quality control department and your customer. The same combined effort holds true if you are using the machine for extra information for your own production improvements. Instead of including your customer in the mix, just include anyone effected by the bend strength of that scored paperboard. Sounds like you have your work "cut-out" for you.

Many thanks to the Thwing-Albert Instrument Company, who sells 15 - 20 of these machines worldwide per year, for their pictures and candid information.

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