As the demands for product quality and compliance increase, so do the requirements for managing the entire product lifecycle. For many the spotlight is only ever on inspection at one point however modern quality standards demand that a container is continuously checked along all areas of a filling line.

The reality is that inspection systems fulfil a multitude of tasks in the modern filling plant. In this two-part post, we’ll look at the different areas of use and the inspection techniques used in each case with a line for processing returnable bottles as an example.

Checking crates with empties

Operations that feature a filling line for returnables will have a system that offers ultrasonic measuring procedures to determine the height of the containers and to detect foreign objects in the crates. The exact inspection of incoming crates is necessary to avoid interference to the unpacking process and a high quota of foreign bottles on the bottle conveyors.

Empty crate check

After the crate, has been unpacked it is examined to establish whether it can be used for the actual production. It must not be damaged or contain foreign objects and its colour and logo must correspond to the filled product. Today these three criteria are generally checked using cameras.

Empty bottle sorting

Not all the foreign containers can be rejected in the crate area because of the large assortment of bottles present at times. This means foreign bottles must be sorted during bottle transport. Generally, the most important element of the bottle sorting unit installed for this process is a camera system using an image processing technique which measures the shape of the bottle and compares it to the sample shape of the production bottle.

Don’t miss part two of our post where we look at two more uses of inspection systems in the filling plant.

When it comes to beverage bottling Heuft is the world leader in quality inspection. Heuft offer quality inspection equipment that caters to a range of requirements. Through our partnership with Heuft, Plastic & Chemical Trading can provide South Africa with world class solutions.

Resources: Translation from a report published in the “Getränkeindustrie” journal – June 2002 edition