Thai Glass Industries (TGI) and Thai Malaya Glass (TMG) have invested in hot end sensor technologies from Xpar Vision.

Four production lines have been equipped with InfraRed Dual camera systems (IR-D) and InfraRed Gob weight Control systems (IGC). Another two production lines at the container glass manufcaturing plants (one in TMG and one in TGI) are preparing to use this equipment.

The IR-D camera system inspects all bottles in real time, to detect critical defects. Rejected bottles are removed immediately, still in the hot end phase.

All information is transferred to process information on cavity levels, which allows the operator to act quickly on any form of process deviation. In general, implementing an IR-D at a production line ensures better bottle quality, less customer complaints, faster operator reaction time, efficiency improvement, fast learning (real time), improved process understanding and more consistency in actions amongst operators and specialists.

Constant gob weight
With the InfraRed Gob weight Control systems (IGC) the weight of the gobs is automatically kept constant over time. The IGC works in cooperation with the IR-D.

The IR-D measures the amount of radiation/intensity of every single bottle and relates it to its weight. Bottles are actively measured on a weight scale every X minutes. From there, the actual weight is related to radiation/intensity. The radiation/intensity can be kept constant. Every tendency to deviate is corrected through a signal/motor in the tube/plunger. As such, the gob weight is regulated automatically on a constant level.

Trial and try again
The first collaboration with the two companies began with a trial with the Xpar Vision InfraRed Dual (IR-D) camera at TGI’s factory in Bangplee in 2013. Despite the efforts of all parties, the trial failed. After consideration and active support by Mr. Boonsak Stitmannaithum, Executive Vice President of Operations for Thai Glass Industries and Thai Malaya Glass, it was decided to discontinue the trial at TGI but to continue to trial at TMG’s production facility at Saraburi.

Mr. Boonsak said: “Due to many reasons, we could not create enough organisational mass at TGI’s factory in Bangplee to adapt to this new technology effectively. I was convinced that this trial failure was not about the system, but about the organisation of the trial project team. For that reason I decided to continue the trial at TMG’s production facility at Saraburi.”

Peak performance
Thanks to the support of the Senior Vice President of Operation of TMG’s production facility at Saraburi, Mr. Somporn Nasuphan, a project organisation was lined up and Mr. Krittin Boonyaphat was assigned to drive the IR-D and eventually also the IGC trial on the shop floor level. The trial was a success.

Mr. Somporn said: “Implementing Hot End technology allows us to take an important step to control our forming process performance. This is a necessity, to reach better performance in both efficiency and product quality to meet increased customer demands.”

Following the success of this trial, Xpar Vision and TGI/TMG created a strategic partnership. Mr. Boonsak said: “We chose Xpar Vision as our partner, for its experience in developing and implementing Hot End sensor technologies and its commitment to assist us using these technologies. Having a nice system is one thing, making good use of that system is another. During the last few years Xpar Vision has shown dedication to our success.”

As part of the strategic partnership, more systems will be introduced at the Saraburi factory throughout the coming years. “It is our dedication to continue to be the leading container glass manufacturer in South East Asia. Therefore we simply need this type of technology,” Mr. Boonsak concluded.

Shop floor experience
The shop floor experience is very positive. Mr. Krittin Boonyaphat explained: “We are using the IR-D/IGC systems for defect detection and inspection, glass distribution issues (intensity, asymmetry), review hot end rejects and fast remedial action for any process deviation. As such, the systems help us to improve our efficiency and maintain our efficiency on a higher level.”

Besides the expected effects of IR-D/IGC implementation, Mr. Krittin has pointed out another advantage: “An IR-D/IGC system acts as a point of reference for any hot end operator or specialist. All operators have the same information. There is less room for opinions and more focus on working on solutions. Logically, we have organised ourselves around this. The result is a stronger organisation, in which it is easier to line up and align new and unskilled staff.”

Automation & robots
Following the good results by the end of 2017, TMG – Saraburi will operate five IR-D/IGC systems. Mr. Somporn said: “We will have this equipment on all our lines within the next five years. This equipment is an important door opening to a future of glassmaking in which we will have more process automation and robots.”

New installation at TGI – Bangplee
Following the successes of TMG – Saraburi, by the end of 2017, TGI – Bangplee will have implemented one IR-D/IGC too. Knowing that this implementation in Bangplee is following the failed trail a few years ago, this new step can be seen as a breakthrough of Xpar technology within TMG/TGI.

“I am very proud to have earned our customers’ confidence,” said Paul Schreuders, Xpar Vision CEO. “Our support going back to TGI – Bangplee after so many years, is for me the ultimate proof that TMG/TGI management has chosen our InfraRed technologies to be the standard.

“With their commitment, Xpar Vision has started to have a solid base in South East Asia. From this base - together with our customers - we will further optimise the glass production process, in order to realise maximum quality glass containers with minimum quantity of resources and emissions.”

Pictured above: Mr. Somporn shows his satisfaction
Pictured below: The shop floor experience has been positive: “We have organized ourselves around IR-D”.