With increasing innovation in packaging, such as brewers developing lightweighting technology for their glass bottles, there comes a greater risk on the production line of something going wrong. As with quality control measures for what goes inside the bottle, there is a variety of equipment that helps producers make sure that the exterior—the package—is also meeting quality standards.
Sidel offers a new component of its line-auditing service that can pinpoint the exact areas on the line where bottles are experiencing rough conditions that would result in damage. While lightweighting offers cost savings by using fewer raw materials and can result in lower shipping costs, it also creates a more prone environment for breakage during production.
Sidel’s new Shock Logger, is an electronic circuit that travels with the bottle and logs shocks and pressures as they occur. The information is then relayed to a database so a Sidel engineer can know exactly when the bottle encounters bumps on the production line, according to Vincent Piron, business development director for material handling at Sidel, and then make appropriate suggestions to resolve the issue, which could include an upgrade to the system. The Shock Logger, the company says, can be used on new and existing glass packaging lines. However, it also could be used for PET packaging lines to prevent bottle deformations, the company says.
Heuft Systemtechnik GMBH recently has extended its range of capabilities for the spotter SF full container inspector, including in-line inspection for filled transparent bottles to better meet the changing needs of brewers and beverage producers.
This new feature is designed to detect things such as contaminants and foreign objects like a foil remnant, bits of paper, insects, cigarette ends, wood shavings or mold, the company says. The system also is designed to detect damage on the container like scratches, cracks, inclusions, chips and breaks.
Typically placed after the filler/closer system and before the labeling machine, the spotter SF looks for correct fill levels, and that the bottles have been sealed. The company notes that the spotter SF is a unit of the company’s Spectrum TX modular system giving it the flexibility to link to separate inspection areas, such as with the labeller. Other highlights include the newly integrated Heuft sonic module that confirms the tightness and integrity of crown corks or other closures using a highly sensitive microphone by recording the noise that occurs when closures are being secured.
Also, the new Heuft Reflexx2 high-performance image processing system can detect bottles that are being processed at speeds up to 72,000 bottles an hour. According to Jürrgen Kurz, managing director of Heuft Systems Technology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. & Heuft Asia Ltd., Hong Kong, the company’s subsidiary in China, there is large demand for the device in Asia, particularly in China. “The Heuft spotter SF meets the requirements of the Asian beer market for an extensive complete in-line inspection of filled transparent bottles to the greatest extent,” says Kurz. “The demand for this new development is accordingly high here. Several top-class brewery groups in China and Japan have already ordered it. The high level of attention which the Heuft spotter SF recently attracted at the China Brew & Beverage trade fair in Beijing, is further proof of its high market potential. We are therefore confident that it will also develop into a best seller just like our proven Heuft InLine empty bottle inspector.”
One of the first users of KHS’ Innocheck EBI empty bottle inspection system was Martens Brewery in Belgium. The brewery purchased the system in 2010. Today, it inspects more than 15 types of glass bottles in different colors, with checks including outer sidewall, bottle mouth, bottle base, inner sidewall, infrared residual liquid, high-frequency residual liquid and thread inspections. The system uses an infrared sensor and assigns ID numbers to individual bottles allowing for each one to be tracked throughout the production process.
Another benefit of the system is that it can perform bottle base, inner sidewall, and infrared residual liquid inspection in one optical block, meaning that the system is compact in size, designed to fit into small spaces and integrated into existing lines—its total length running to just 2.40 meters.
The companysays the system can inspect up to 60,000 glass bottles an hour (ranging in size from 0.2 to 1.5 liters), The company is displaying the system this month in Nuremberg, Germany at Brau Beviale 2012.