Drilling deeper into the data

As the volume and complexity of information gathered on canmaking lines grows, so does the value of the decision-making processes. Rick Pendrous sifts through what equipment suppliers are offering

Advances in beverage canmaker monitoring

Software has been developed that collects data from a range of beverage can plant processes and delivers it in a useful format to a wide variety of users, enabling them to monitor plants and improve operational performance using real-time data as well as historical reports.

Acumence, developed by US-based Flexware Innovation, is said to be specifically designed to meet the needs of the canmaking industry, rather than as an add-on quality control module common in many other systems. With its high-resolution tracking, trends can be clearly identified before line performance degrades unacceptably.

All real-time data and historical reports can be accessed through the software where all the information is contextualised by the plant model. This enables standard measures of performance, improved efficiency, faster response to downtime, and a reduction in spoilage or scrap.

Furthermore, specific improvements throughout the process are made possible, such as better methodologies for tracking the quality of consumables, speeding up machine changeover times, and improving inventory management through integration with quality and enterprise resource planning systems.

Production efficiency for each bodymaker in a plant, which identifies machines with higher-than-average scrap or downtime, can be viewed by users, who are able to look more closely to see if a specific machine is producing more than an acceptable number of short cans.

With this information, new tooling can be prepared and the machine serviced before major operational impact occurs. The result is higher productivity, reduction in scrap, and better production flow through the remainder of the process.

Supervisors will be notified if a bodymaker cell is creating problems downstream, while plant managers can remotely view how their plants are operating, line by line, using a mobile app. Quality and manufacturing data can also be viewed across a number of plants from a single source.

For more information contact Flexware Innovation Inc, 12 Technology Drive, Fishers, Indiana 46038, USA.
Tel: 1 317 813 5400.
Website: www.acumence.com

Smaller defects detected with light technology

Smaller defects in ends are detectable with light-based leak detection systems from Prime Controls, which incorporate Eclipse technology that uses the latest advances in light generation and detection methods.

By drawing on 20 years of experience in leak detection, Prime is able to offer half-a-micron pin-hole leak detection in a compact two-component system – the SL100H Illuminator and the LH200H Detector – that mounts directly on the outfeed plate of a conversion press.

The system operates at up to 1,000 ends per minute with a modular design suitable for any number of lanes on a press. Built-in self-test and monitoring ensures all ends are fully and completely tested.

Ambient light and severely damaged ends do not affect system operation. Designed for all conversion presses, the system is said to be easy to integrate and offers factory communication for easy set-up and monitoring. 

Two key advantages of the Eclipse visible LED illuminator are that its light generation efficiency is claimed to be twice that of conventional near infrared (NIR) systems, and its light can penetrate up to eight-times farther into microscopic cracks and fissures due to the shorter wavelength used.

The use of NIR light with longer wavelengths meant that the smallest defects detectable were one micron. Smaller defects couldn’t be penetrated.

More information from Prime Controls, 4528 Gateway Circle, Dayton, Ohio 45440-1712, USA. Tel: 1 937 435 8659. Website: www.primecontrols.com


Colour inspection at the forefront of technology

The most recent move with the Orion G6 vision inspection system from Applied Vision has been its adoption by a leading canmaker following trials at a D&I beverage can plant that pitted the system against a competitor.

Launched three years ago, the Orion G6 uses advanced camera-based technology, the development of which has been helped by the availability of powerful processors, new software and illumination, explains Amir Novini, chief executive of the US-based firm.
That development has involved some of the best scientists and engineers available and an investment of millions of dollars, he adds. As a result, it is possible to inspect labels with 100 per cent coverage at line speeds in excess of 3,000 cans per minute.

However, the world of colour measurement, comparisons and control technology is highly complex with many pitfalls, Novini remarks.

“The journey to develop and perfect this technology is a long and costly one,” says Novini. “Having been immersed in vision technology for more than four decades and applying this technology to the world of canmaking for well over three decades with special emphasis in colour and decoration inspection for over two decades, I stand confidently
by my statements.

“It has received worldwide acceptance and praise thanks to several years of real-world online testing and comparison with competing technologies.”

More information from Applied Vision Corporation, 2020 Vision Lane, Akron, Ohio 44223, USA. Tel: 1 330 926 2222. Website: www.appliedvision.com

Canmaking gauges meet CE safety standards

Canmaking gauges made by Canneed Instrument Ltd in China have been upgraded to comply with Europe’s CE health, safety and environmental certification.

At the same time, the company has also expanded its quality control product range. This now includes an automatic trimmed can measurement system, part of a modular range of gauging equipment for two-piece beverage cans. Canneed has also formed a European subsidiary, Canneed Europe Ltd.

Other modules in the range include a finished can measurement system, a buckle gauge, an axial-load gauge and a semi-automatic enamel rater. The modules can be connected, complete with a multi-lane infeed to form a tailored system for measuring beverage cans.

More information from Canneed Instrument Ltd, No 6 Longxing Road, Jindu Industrial Town, Gaoyao District, Zhaoqing City, Guangdong Province 526108, China. Tel: 86 758 278 8469. Website: www.canneed.com

In-line conveyor for beverage can gauges

Automatic beverage can gauges from Versatile Technology, which are known for their classic L-shape configuration, can now be ordered with an in-line conveyor to suit different layout requirements.

The only exception is the HD131 Automatic Enamel Rater which already features an in-line configuration for increased testing throughput at a rate of five cans per minute. Where space is limited, shorter conveyors can also be supplied made to order. These can be supplied for standalone or combined gauges, such as Versatile Technology’s MP and KW systems.

By offering this level of flexibility the company is able to offer its customers tailored solutions to suit their laboratory or factory floor space.

More information from Versatile Technology, 35 Cleeland Road,
Oakleigh South, Victoria 3167, Australia.Tel: 61 3 9548 8983
Website: www.versatiletechnology.co.au

Gauge handles shells and converted end progressions

Gauging technology for both end shells and converted end progressions is offered in a single newly-developed system from Sencon, rather than having to use two independent gauging systems.

The benefits of this combined system are said to include lower cost, less floor-space, better gauge utilisation, more measurement flexibility, less operator training and half the maintenance and calibration cost. For larger plants with higher measurement requirements, these high-throughput gauges can be operated 24/7, performing whatever measurements are most required at any given time.

Sencon has also launched the most advanced version of its light tester for ends, which now includes Quasar light-detection technology. The system is equipped with the latest electronic and mechanical advances, doubling detection sensitivity to a verifiable one micron while maintaining better than Six-Sigma false rejects.

Quasar has extended processing power not only in the main controller but also in the detection heads and light sources, delivering a huge range of live data ready to stream to Industry 4.0 smart factory devices. The new user interface is now an intuitive touch screen that gives a wide range of information including production data, system condition and diagnostics. This enables detailed feedback and improved process control.

More information from Sencon (UK) Ltd, Pointon Way, Droitwich WR9 0LW, UK. Tel: 44 1905 827800.
Website: www.sencon.com

Smart can and end inspection system

A low-priced smart inspection system has been developed for the quality assurance of cans and ends by German testing equipment specialist Ibea.

The CS system features a compact design, described as versatile and easy to operate. One of the highlights of the system is its automatic set-up, which allows a complete adjustment for standard products with just one click. The equipment does not require engineers from Ibea to commission it on production lines.

A variety of can types, including draw-redraw cans, those with easy-open ends and peel-off ends can be inspected up to a maximum diameter of 200mm and a height of 300mm. The CS-system is designed for production lines operating at speeds of 800 cans per minute and comes with an encoder, trigger sensor and eject station.

It consists of an imager and as an option is supplied with an operating unit, including monitor, keyboard and mouse. The programmable controls for the instrument are all housed within the imager itself.

The CS system complements Ibea’s Cube ‘all-in-one’ UV testing system launched in 2017. This is designed for the inspection of a range of products such as lids for jars, twist-off caps, easy-open ends, two- and three-piece cans and DRD cans in diameters up to 190mm and heights up to 300mm, and at speeds of up to 6,000 items per minute.

More information
from Ibea GmbH, Kleine Bahnstrasse 8, D-22525 Hamburg, Germany.
Tel: 49 40 689 887 11.
Website: www.ibea.de