In July 2019, the EU commission published the Plastic Strategy paper to reduce plastic waste, including a regulation with regard to closures on plastic beverage bottles: Plastic closures must remain attached to the bottles from July 2024 at the latest. This poses major challenges for the industry. Several cap solutions have already appeared in the market. As a logical consequence, PETplanet Insider is therefore asking about the inspection options for these closures. Find out here about the inspection solutions for tethered caps from: IMD, Intravis, Pressco and Sacmi.
Intravis, Mr Christoph Wynands, Productmanager for Preform and Closure Inspection systems
PETplanet: Has your company already developed inspection systems for tethered caps? If so, what were the particular challenges during development and what are the new para-meters of the inspection?
Yes, with the CapWatcher Q-Line we responded very early – in spring/summer 2019 – to the first indications of expected changes in closure design. Since then, we have been in close contact with our customers and partners. In addition, as an active member of the Cetie, we are always up to date with the latest developments and thus learn very early on what requirements can be expected from our partners.
About our solution: The CapWatcher Q-Line is an inspection system for the end-of-line inspection of closures, which is also ideally equipped for the requirements of tethered caps. Three inspection stations with different optics for inspecting the inside of the closure, as well as five cameras for inspecting the closure from the outside, provide a complete all-round view of every detail – at production speeds of up to 3,600 closures per minute. The special features of tethered caps pose no problem for the CapWatcher Q-Line. Take, for example, the closure aids/CAM’s located inside the closure: With our patented non-contact microhole inspection, we do not have to dip into the closure to be able to exclude microholes with 100% certainty. A normal HV inspection dipping into the closure quickly reaches its limits of reliability here. The external shape and dimensional stability of tethered caps are also challenges our CapWatcher Q-Line can handle. Our form-fitting, lateral star wheel separation copes with external features such as hinges as well as with the increasing sensitivity of the ever thinner closures – and does so with high precision even at the highest speeds. And for our software, the rotationally invariant tethered caps do not need to be aligned either – our software logic masters any alignment for a reliable inspection. In addition, temperature measurement, cavity reading and testing of the slitting quality of the guarantee band are some of the other advantages of the CapWatcher Q-Line, which has now proven itself in various applications for over two years.
PETplanet: Can any design of tethered cap be inspected with one inspection system?
Basically, there are no limits to what the CapWatcher Q-Line can do. We have solutions for injection moulded as well as for closures from compression moulding; inspect closures with cut as well as closures with moulded tether features; inspect standard PCO1881 beverage closures as well as multi-part closures for beverage cartons in assembly handlings.
PETplanet: What must users be prepared for? Are the new systems easy to integrate into existing processes? What is the technical and financial expenditure?
Customers with a CapWatcher Q-Line are already well prepared today. Here, the technical and financial effort is very low and an adaptation can be implemented very quickly. Customers with older system generations have to invest more effort here. But we also offer options and solutions for this. Customers who do not yet have an Intravis inspection system have a wide choice of solutions. Here, we are happy to support you in selecting, setting up and implementing a complete downstream concept tailored to your specific needs.