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Checking bottle quality

Checking bottle quality


When Meridian Beverage Co.'s new high-tech bottling line needed fill-and-cap verification, services provider Hamilton/ITS specified a reliable inspection sensor from Cognex that uses patterns to detect and inspect bottles and caps at speeds of 375 per minute.

A new, high tech bottling line needs new, high tech solutions. The recent challenge presented to Hamilton/ITS of Vidalia, Georgia was to provide a reliable “Fill & Cap” verification system for a new bottling line on behalf of Meridian Beverage Company of Atlanta. The Cognex Checker® vison sensor was selected for it’s high reliability, operating speed and added features.

“The challenge is to kick out bottles that haven’t filled properly or have had the caps put on wrong.” Said Ray Hamilton, president of Hamilton/ITS. His automation company has been assisting Meridian Beverage over the years on many challenging projects. “The new line runs almost non-stop at 375 bottles a minute so down time on our system wasn’t an option” he continued. Keith Gavin was called in from TSI, a Cognex distributor, who suggested their newest sensor, the Cognex Checker.

Cognex Checker sensors are the simple and affordable solution for verifying the presence of product and packaging features. Essentially a versatile "multi-sensor", a single Checker detects features that would require multiple photoelectric sensors, or may not be within the capability of photo-electrics. The Checker model 101E has a built in PLC.

Gavin says he recommended the Checker 101E primarily because the built in PLC would accept encoder feedback, track the bad bottle location, and properly trigger the kick-out station when needed. “Keith (Gavin) of TSI and the Cognex team really helped us integrate a great solution for our customer,” said Hamilton. “We saved a tremendous amount of time in logic and software development.”

The Checker sensed 7 different features and sampled 5-7 snapshots of each bottle. The numerous snapshots reduced false negative responses. It self triggered, eliminating the need for an external sensor circuitry. Eliminating external sensors reduces costs of acquisition, design, installation and maintenance. After final in-place tuning, the system tested 100% for cap placement and proper fill level. Bottles were fed shoulder to shoulder and at 375 bottles a minute.

Charles Purcell of Meridian Beverage is very pleased with the results. “I expect effective solutions for my company’s money. The Cognex Checker that Hamilton/ITS installed is the type of answers I like to see. Simple, efficient and cost effective.”

In summary, Hamilton had only praise for TSI and Cognex for offering this uniquely simplified approach to sensor technology. “Our reputation as an automation integrator depends on quality solutions. We depend on Cognex.

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