ITX© is a brand new, fully interactive, multi media
training program designed for extruder operators, process engineers, technical
service personnel, and others involved in extrusion operations. REE, INC.,
a leading consulting engineering company specializing in extrusion of plastics,
developed ITX©. ITX© is a CD-ROM based program that runs on any
486 based personal computer, PC, or higher. It operates under the Windows
operating system to provide an intuitive and user friendly interface. The
student interacts with the computer on a one-on-one basis. This allows the
student to learn at his or her own pace; the student can stop the program
at any point and to proceed from that same point at any other time. The ITX©
course material is presented in full-motion digital videos, 2D and 3D animations,
text, and narration. A progress map enables one to easily navigate through
the entire session. Test questions are incorporated throughout the program
to improve retention and understanding of the material and to make sure that
the student can apply the information learned. Questions answered incorrectly
will automatically lead the student to a review of the information pertaining
to the question. The ITX©-Basics program consists of seven sessions.
- Session 1 deals with basic terminology and extrusion machinery; the
main extruder components are discussed with important design issues.
- Session 2 covers instrumentation and control; it also discusses control
of complete extrusion lines and describes the main types of extrusion lines.
- Session 3 covers main types of plastics and the plastic properties
important in the extrusion process: flow properties and thermal properties.
- Session 4 describes the inner workings of an extruder. It explains
the functional zones of an extruder and the mechanism at work in each zone.
Extensive animation is used to provide the clearest possible picture of the
actual behavior of the plastic in the extruder.
- Session 5 discusses how to run an extruder. This includes: how to
get the extruder ready for a run, how to set proper operating conditions,
how to shut down the extruder, how to clean the extruder, and how to address
the safety issues.
- Session 6 covers how to solve extrusion problems. This session, perhaps
the most important one, lists the prerequisites for efficient trouble shooting
and teaches a methodical, step-by-step approach to finding the root cause
of the problem; for each cause several possible solutions are listed.
- Session 7 is a tutorial on how to use ITXtrude©. The ITXtrude©
program is incorporated into this session, for more information on ITXtrude© see below.
A unique feature of ITX© is that it incorporates a simulation package,
ITXtrude©, that allows students to determine important parameters of
the extrusion process, such as shear rate, solids conveying rate, melting
rate, drag and pressure flow rate, and characteristic curves.
A user-friendly, point-and-click approach allows the user to apply this information
to actual extrusion operations and to make sophisticated calculations without
having to struggle through complex equations. The screen for the characteristic
curves actually shows an animation of a rotating screw, while also graphically
showing the output versus pressure curves for the extruder and the die. A
sample screen is shown to the right.
ITX© is available in English and will be available in Spanish. ITX©
also contains an optional tracking feature that allows a training administrator
to develop a database. This database automatically keeps track of who has
taken the course, what parts of the course have been completed, how well
the student performed on the tests down to each individual question. Thus,
areas of weakness can be identified and additional training can be provided
where necessary. Each session can be set up with a pre- and post-test to
determine how much the knowledge of the student improved through the session.
The price for ITX© is $5000.00 including CourseWorks. Individual
sessions of ITX will be $750.00, but Courseworks need to be purchased for
$495.00 with the first session
The fully interactive, personal computer based training of ITX©
enables not only highly efficient learning but also provides highly cost effective
training. The program can be used for as many employees as desired, no off-site
travel is needed, training time is completely flexible so that production
schedules do not need to be affected. ITX© comes with a companion book
titled Understanding Extrusion. The book Understanding
Extrusion will be available separately.