Measuring the colour of ostomy pouches
Product and Application
Range of ostomy pouches for use with colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy stomas.
Product Uses and Target Customers
These pouches are designed for adaptable use with a range of ostomates following a variety of surgeries. These are manufactured for everyday use so require a professional, discreet finish with a reliable adhesive wafer.
Common Problems with the Product
As these products are made in layers and contain many different components, issues can occur with each components.
To begin with, a varying amount of cotton or pigment being added to the softback material can result in a mottling effect. This effect is noticeable and can affect the appearance of the final product, causing it to seem defective and of a different colour. For the pouches that are covered on both sides with this material, a more mottled layer can result in a somewhat see through cover.
The beige film used behind the softback material is also subject to colour change, depending on the batch. This could also lead to non-uniform appearance and may result in the product being returned.
A major issue with the product can also include discrepancies in colour between wafers as these can change considerably from one product to the next. This variation of colour can indicate an error during the injection moulding process, such as overheating or a thicker component being produced.
Dry patches can also appear on wafers than can cause pouches to not stick to the body as effectively, causing distress and discomfort to the wearer if they become unstuck.
The taps used in conjunction with the pouches can also come in varying states of appearance. The translucent plastic taps should allow for analysis of content; some unsatisfactory taps may appear dirty, opaque or of the wrong colour.
Insight on Application
In order to achieve a high level of product quality on a repeatable basis, samples of each component should be measured before adding into the production process. This can prevent unsatisfactory products before they are made, thus saving time and money.
A reliable quality control procedure would be to measure the transmitted colour of components, such as the softback material, as any visual scrutiny will occur with a single layer sample of the material, not with multiple layers as would be needed to measure the reflected colour.
The reflected colour and transmitted colour of the wafer should also be measured as the colour of the sample would appear darker with a higher level of opacity, therefore indicating a thicker sample and an error in the manufacturing process.
The transmitted colour of all components of the ostomy pouches can be measured to gauge the quality of the end product and the efficiency and reliability of the production process.
A specialist vision system can also be utilised to address the issue of the dry patches. When dry patches are detected, the vision system can recognise these and prevent affected wafers from being added into the production process.