These are some of the results that can be obtained by inserting an automatic robotic system in line.
ROBO-QCS, the AUTOMATIC robotic SYSTEM developed by FT System, was developed to achieve these objectives. Let’s analyze its full potential in detail with Emanuele Melloni, Beverage Business Development Manager of FT System.
Which non-destructive inspections can be carried out simultaneously in a single analysis platform?
Usually four types of controls or measurements are identified:
- Weight and volume control;
- Checking correct cap application by measuring torque and application angle;
- Measuring the concentration of gases in the headspace (e.g. CO2, N2, etc.);
- Measuring microleaks between cap and preform.
How these inspections can be done simultaneously?
A robotic arm picks up samples from the production line and inspects them in an automatic analysis station through non-destructive tests. These controls are required by law or necessary to optimize and satisfy internal processes and procedures. Compliant samples are automatically reinserted in line. It is not necessary to change the production speed of the line and there is no operator intervention.
How is the line efficiency improved?
The inspections and quality controls on the samples are performed in real time in the automatic analysis station next to the production line and this replaces the manual checks carried out on the line. The data is automatically correlated to a production date & time and aligned with the efficiency of the filler and the correct operation of the capper. It is therefore possible to recalibrate the equipment instantly in the event of deviation from specifications, monitor trends over time and plan targeted and punctual preventive maintenance.
What are the benefits that can be achieved with ROBO-QCS?
The controls of the ROBO-QCS allows:
- Recalibrating filling valves that do not fill properly - On average, the standard procedure involves a random manual weighing of 20 bottles every 4 hours. If a deviation occurs to the filling valve during this time, overfilled bottles are produced. With ROBO-QCS there is a real-time level control preventing large non-compliant productions. The correlation of the sampled bottles to the specific filling valve provide an additional important information enabling additional controls and dedicated adjustment. This is extremely important information that with manual sampling is difficult to have.
- Evaluating the correct application of the cap - The standard manual procedure involves checking the torque on a random sampling of 20 bottles every 4 hours. With ROBO-QCS: continuous checks for the correct application of the cap through removal torque and application angle. Automation allows specific monitoring of the individual capping heads without the need for operator intervention and eliminating the randomness of sampling, as per the filling valves.
- Checking the filler and the capper at the same time with immediate possibility of maintenance - With ROBO-QCS it is possible to control two or more parameters at once. This means being able to set the equipment very close to the correct setpoint, allowing to plan interventions and maintenance.
- Reducing the production loss - The checks carried out with ROBO-QCS are all non-destructive and therefore the samples used for the inspections can be placed back into the packaging line and to the market.
- Digitizing the data - ROBO-QCS produces date and time reports that can be shared digitally and used retrospectively during an audit, to optimize internal processes or recover data from a specific batch.
- No variability due to operator when making measurements - With ROBO-QCS no operator is needed on the line; inspections and records take place automatically, thus eliminating the possible influences of a manual verification.