Hans Renders* explains how digitalisation of container inspection, as embodied in Heye’s SmartLine 2 inspection machine (pictured above), continues to advance, bringing increased speed, accuracy and efficiency to glass manufacture.

Pressures on customers’ businesses drive innovation in glass manufacture. Heye’s development of new inspection equipment responds to these market demands, which are currently dominated by two trends: premiumisation and the journey to net zero.

Premiumisation and customisation – as brand owners seek further differentiation through packaging design - make inspection more challenging.

Glass manufacturers have to meet demand for more non-round, complex shapes and more mini-ware (as sampling and tasting become ever more important ways to launch new ranges in the drinks industry).

Special operations like mini-ware and non-round containers are standard with Heye’s SmartLine 2.

Simultaneously, the packaging industry must also meet the need to restrict emissions throughout the supply chain.

Heye constantly updates its inspection technology to deal with these challenges because increasing inspection efficiency reduces false positive ejection and energy consumption and keep costs down for customers.

Digitalisation and AI contribute strongly to the development.

Automated production driven by smart technology makes machine-powered processes more efficient, ultimately reducing raw material use, energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Heye uses AI extensively in the new software to train machines to read and react to different faults but also to understand when what may previously have been thought a fault is actually a design feature of the new container. This is explicitly demonstrated by the new AI-enabled Mould Number Reader KSL3.

A comprehensive suite of hi-tech inspection tools

At the heart of Heye’s operation is the HiSHIELD SmartLine 2 which integrates the newest technology combined with robust electrics and an electronic control system.

Working at speeds of up to 400 articles per minute, up to six inspection stations can be configured from a wide menu according to users’ needs.

The application of servo technology results in a high degree of flexibility. Fast and easy changes to an item’s indexing positions and optimal use of the servo torque for up to four rotation stations are possible.

Optimised motion sequences allow faster reactions to changing process parameters. The equipment’s innovative design and its large and easy-to-open hood provide more working space between the inspection stations. Job changes become much easier.

The most up-to-date SmartLine 2 features extensive non-contact enhancements which include bore gauge, diameter and ovality inspection and wall thickness.

One major advantage is that Heye uses the superior chromatic-confocal method, which is much more precise than other solutions.

These non-contact features are available for retrofitting onto original SmartLine 2 machines.

Check detection is one of the most important quality inspections during the production of glass containers.

The HiSHIELD Ranger 2 enables manufacturers to fulfil the quality expectations of your customers when it comes to eliminating critical defects.

It has proved time and again to detect more than 99.8% of all critical defects.

Ranger 2 is now able to inspect pharmaceutical mini-ware. With this evolution the system can fulfill all customer requirements to container sizes and shapes.

AI inspires latest developments

The latest addition to the glass manufacturer’s arsenal of inspection technology is Heye’s new Mould Number Reader KSL 3. This technology is at the forefront of digital, non-contact inspection, utilising AI (machine learning) to improve its own performance during operation.

It has two aims. Step One is the systematic ejection of ware from faulty moulds at the cold end, by scanning mould numbers even where they are not especially well defined.

Step Two is the correlation of detected defects to repeating mould numbers and communicating this to the Hot End.

Older mould number readers sometimes struggle to recognise badly defined numbers.

These are typically caused by faulty or worn embossing in the moulds. KSL 3 features a new evaluation algorithm, based on artificial intelligence which it uses to train itself to learn shape number deviations.

These technologies allow the system to be set up faster and mould numbers that were previously not readable can now be read.

The result is that the KSL 3 increases the correct reading rate to over 99 percent of mould numbers.

It also extends the equipment’s ability to recognise standard digital mould and alpha numeric codes that are available on the market

The simplified and intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI) speeds up identification and enables more effective record keeping.

This data feeds all aspects of the production process. PlantPilot Information Management connects Cold End and Hot End and enables sifter rectification of identified problems within individual mould sections.

The system collects and aggregates data from different sources and shares information on the spot. Tracking and tracing as well as the possibility of creating user-specific analysis are additional components, allowing continuous improvement processes to increase productivity.

On SmartLine 2 we constantly reduce mechanical elements and enhances the non-contact, digitised components of the inspection system.

Powered by Industry 4.0, the new mould number reader augments the HiSHIELD suite of digital and non-contact inspection equipment to create a cutting-edge Cold End system to remove defective articles.

Hans Renders is Head of Product Management at Heye International

Further information:

Heye International, Obernkirchen, Germany

web: www.heye-international.com