Consumer Product bottles on conveyor belt

Consumer Products

Squeeze Tube Sealing Inspection System

Confirm the integrity of the bottom seal in plastic or aluminum squeeze tubes

Vision system inspecting the seals on the ends of squeeze tubes for defects as they pass by on a high-speed carrier system.

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Retailers sell an extensive variety of personal care products, such as cosmetics, creams, and ointments, to consumers in squeeze tubes for easy use. A squeeze tube is filled through the bottom and then the end is sealed. There are many ways of sealing the end, including hot air, hot jaws, and ultrasonics, which also heat the tube. The choice of sealing method depends on the tube material, the desired speed, and the type of product. The softened tube material is crimped or otherwise pressed together to weld the open end closed before it cools.

If there is any flaw in the resulting plastic or aluminum weld, the tube will leak. This can cause contamination of the contents, contamination of other objects by released contents, or a shortened product life, which is either unpleasant, messy, or reduces the product’s efficacy.

There is a wide range of appearances for both good and bad seals, with an overlap between these ranges. Some seals are functional but have minor cosmetic irregularities. Traditional rule-based machine vision might reject these. Some seals have subtle defects that a standard inspection might miss.

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Cognex AI-enabled solutions can distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable seals even if their appearances are similar.

The defect detection tool learns through a set of labeled images of acceptable and defective package seals. These flaws may have been discovered after a considerable time by consumer returns or retailer complaints. Images of seemingly good crimps that eventually lead to leakage are particularly valuable for deep learning training.

Using these varied examples, Cognex AI-based solutions can distinguish good from bad seals, catching small variations that human inspectors would miss. This seal inspection system also identifies seemingly good seals that will leak later.

Benefits

  • Prevent leakage from squeeze tubes
  • Prevent contamination of squeeze tube contents
  • Ensure long product life

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