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Checking glue on bulk dry dairy products packaging

Supplier: Matthews Australasia
30 August, 2013

Amcor is one of the world's largest packaging companies, producing cartons and bags (among other items) to hold a variety of end goods.

The company wanted to improve its quality assurance process on the line producing multi- wall sacks for dry dairy products, supplied to Australian and New Zealand customers.

Situation

Hot glue is applied to the tops of the multi-wall bags for reheating and sealing by the customer during the filling process.

The glue must be in the same position, with strips all the same width and length to ensure the sacks seal properly for QA purposes. This results in a professional product and finish.

More importantly, it prevents foreign material – including the reheating glue – from coming into potential contact with the bag's contents.

Amcor had an existing vision system, however wanted greater precision to pick up any excess hot melt at the top of the sack.

Business Needs

Amcor's focus on quality is a core tenet of its manufacturing, thus the packaging it produces for foodstuffs has to be of the highest quality. Clients throughout Australia and NZ rely on the quality of this packaging, and any contaminants or associated hazards will reflect on them and their brand.

Amcor wanted a rigorous QA process to allow it to keep competing effectively in the tough marketplace, meeting both current and future needs.

Process Needs

The QA system needed to integrate with Amcor's existing production machinery and equipment footprint, as well as with their existing process, which rejected product that didn't meet specifications.

The system also needed to have flexibility, accuracy and repeatability, yet be user friendly and highly reliable.

Solution

Amcor compared systems from different suppliers, choosing to work with iQVision for the specialist's comprehensive and in-depth knowledge, experience, ability to trial, design, manufacture, install the system, plus provide after-sales support.

iQVision recommended and installed a system that enhances the glue's traceability. Due to physical limitations on where the camera could sit, iQVision used a line-scan camera (rather than an area-scan camera), taking one-pixel long shots in "slices" the length of the bag. These are then assembled into a full image by the system.

The result is a highly detailed image of each bag to check the exact amount of glue applied and its position. The camera system sits near the end of the production line, just before the reject station, where product that does not meet the stringent QA criteria is collected for disposal.

Outcome

The vision system has improved Amcor's competitive advantage in the marketplace due to the increased assurance in product quality that it provides.

On top of that, it gives Amcor the data to optimise its manufacturing process upstream, thus reduce spoilage.

While the operators were initially sceptical the process would work, its reliable performance has seen them fully accept the technology — championing it to the point of recommending other manufacturing lines where Amcor can apply vision systems to improve QA.

Originally published on the Matthews blog