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360° view provides extremely fast surface check

Syscona inspecting labels on cylindrical objects

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In a strained economic situation, it is more important than ever to be able to optimize processes and make them more efficient. The Expert ETK inspection system, integrated with Cognex Vision technology, combines many different quality control requirements into just one compact system.

There have been two key challenges to implementing machine vision to aid in the quality control of labels on cylindrical objects. First, vision systems require the bottles be consistently aligned within the labeling machine, and second, labeling machines offer unfavorable ambient conditions and lack appropriate space within to contain the vision system. But now, the innovative vision technology from Cognex integrated in the Expert ETK inspection system from Syscona Kontrollsysteme and Weber Systemtechnik has a 360° complete view of the bottle surface which provides new potential for the inspection of bottle features with much greater reliability.

Expert ETK creates better inspection conditions
Industrial bottle-labelling facilities are not kind places and inspection technologies have always been required to make individual checks inside labeling machines. Heat, moisture, and label glue place vision systems under severe strain and there is less space available, as production facilities become smaller.

The answer is to take quality control out of the labeling machine. Expert ETK makes this possible. The checks are made outside the labeling machine as the non-aligned bottle travels freely along the line. The result is a complete inspection of all bottle features with maximum identification reliability and maximum flexibility.

At a throughput of 72,000 bottles an hour, the inspection data and 360° image for each bottle is available after just 50 milliseconds. The vision technology creates a complete and perfect image from four individual images provided by four industrial cameras arranged at angles of 90°. An additional camera mounted above inspects the quality of the cap.

With its specially developed and parameterized tools, Expert ETK checks the quality, presence, position, and completeness of neck , back, and front labels, as well as the location, edge waviness and logo on the cap.

The tolerance limits are specified by parameters set for each type of bottle. Expert ETK also detects damaged products, date code presence, and whether the right label has been applied to the right product. The intelligent system can also read 1D barcodes and 2D Data Matrix codes.

The system visualizes QM data in fractions of a second. Specific fault characteristics are quickly detected so that potential sources of faults can be identified immediately. In the inspection tunnel, high-performance LED lights ensure that the lighting environment adapts to suit the different exposure requirements for each type of label.

The stainless steel inspection system meets the high standard demanded by the beverage industry and the system is easily converted to different types of bottle at the press of a button or by using the touchscreen with stainless steel scroll mouse. Every detail of the system configuration of Expert ETK can be adapted for the specific requirements of different bottles at any time.

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