The mineral water bottle manufacturer, based in Poland, has equipped each of its two KHS Blowmax Series IV blowmolding lines with a Process Pilot automated process control system from Agr International.
The system incorporates three components: Pilot Profiler (PET material distribution measurement), Pilot Vision (visual defect detection), and Process Pilot closed-loop control software.
David Dineff, director of marketing, Agr International, said the shape of the 1.5 liter PET bottle is designed for consumer comfort and easy pouring.
"This is a three-year collaboration with Nałęczów Zdrój which started as a basic quality control effort. Originally they were looking for a vision system to identify defects on two production lines they were installing to produce the Wasp-Waist bottle. However, with the design of this bottle, the company came to the conclusion that correct distribution of the PET material was key to achieving the performance it desired from this bottle, during its production, downstream operations and in the consumer’s hands," he said.
"As a result, they decided to invest in equipment to manage the fluctuations in material distribution that affects the quality of its products on these lines. When the decision was made to invest in the technology, the ability to proactively manage material distribution was key. This is where the Agr Process Pilot system came into the picture as it offers the ability to monitor every bottle produced for proper material distribution, and pro-actively adjust the blowmolder (like a virtual operation) to maintain desired distribution continuously on every bottle produced.
During the redesign initiative, Nałęczów Zdrój wanted the focus to be on the distribution of the PET material by the blowmolder, to the middle of the bottle.
The Pilot Profiler relies on an array of sensors at the mold out-take to measure the material distribution on every bottle.
The thickness data is fed to the Process Pilot controls, programmed with the dimensions of each bottle model.
The Pilot controls the blowmolder to conform to the dimensions for material distribution at all points along the bottle sidewall.
In addition to keeping the material in the right place, automatic thickness monitoring allows Nałęczów Zdrój to skip manually taking traditional, cross-section measurements, that can lead to trial and error.
Pilot Vision also resolves the challenge of sealing surface defects because its system cameras inspect the sealing surface of every preform, rejecting those with any scratches or damage.
Agr International, headquartered in Butler, Pennsylvania, US, develops and manufactures laboratory, on-line quality and process management devices for containers and similar products for the plastic, glass and packaging industry.