High-Speed Bottling Line Inspection for a Bottle and Cap with a Unique Shape

EPIC re-designed a high speed bottling line inspection system to accommodate a newly re-designed bottle and cap with a unique shape. Faced with the challenge of prioritizing speed, EPIC designed, integrated, and installed the bottling line that integrated production and packaging lines into a single, highly-efficient system. Automatic QA checks that utilized machine vision systems formed the core of this innovative solution.

Epic

Project Summary

  • Industry: Consumer Products
  • Division: Vision Systems
  • Application: Damages and Defects

System Features

  • High-speed bottling line designed to prevent contact with chemicals
  • Custom in-feed line, un-scramblers, filler, case erector, robotic case packer, sprayer inserter
  • Full integration of packaging and production lines
  • Integrated control system and customized quality checks

Engineering Challenges

  • Accommodating bottle and spray nozzle’s rounded shape
  • Matching custom nozzles to bottles for a proper seal
  • Maintaining a high line speed while maintaining accuracy
  • Automatically rejecting improperly-filled bottles from production line

Project Impact

  • Automated line designed to fit brand’s custom bottles
  • Integrated vision system reduced errors and waste
  • Prioritized QA by implementing vision system checks
  • All steps automated, from filling bottles to wrapping palettes

The Epic Solution

A consumer products company approached EPIC Systems to design a vision inspection system to integrate with a newly re-designed high speed bottling line. This was a challenging project, because of the unique bottle and cap shape.

EPIC designed, integrated, and installed a high speed vision inspection system that met the client’s strenuous expectations for speed and efficiency. This involved multiple custom parts to fit the brand’s unique bottle shapes, as well as a full integration of the product’s production and packaging lines.

After a full line analysis of the client’s current processes, EPIC developed an implementation plan that centered on customized components, including unscramblers for bottles and nozzles, fillers, star wheels, and nozzle conveyors. These elements ensured all bottles and spray nozzle tops were oriented in the correct position for proper use by the consumer. As correctly-positioned bottles traveled down the line, liquid production filled directly from the production line into the bottles. 

The highlight of the solution was the automated, machine vision-based quality assurance (QA) checks. It was designed to minimize defective products without affecting the line’s speed.

To minimize employee contact with harsh chemicals, the vision inspection system checked for:

  • Accurate mating of the spray nozzle to the bottle.
  • Weight was automatically checked sending under or overweight bottles to a reject station.
  • Correctly filled and oriented bottles went to a date coder and a camera that checked for the correct code.
  • Quality-checked bottles are boxed and assembled by a case erector.
  • The weight is checked again and any under or overweight cases are automatically rejected. 
  • Correctly filled cases go to a palletizer and stretch wrapper where they are prepared to ship.

Process

Vision

Robotics