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.
IMDvista, Mr Martin Gerber, Sales Director (CSO)
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?
IMD was already in a good position to fulfil the expectations regarding the inspection of the new tethered closure features. More than 4 years ago, IMD started a project with a major European closure manufacturer to inspect complex assembled sport closures with a hinge and tethered functions. At that time, we faced the same challenges we are now facing once again with the new tethered designs: testing complex structures with no rotational orientation of the closure when they are presented to the vision system. Working very closely with brand owners, converters and market leaders, we have over 25 running systems or prototype lines inspecting tethered closures in the European market. As the tethered designs are very different, some are simple to inspect and do not require a special camera setup or additional software changes.
Others turned out to be a challenge because of the complexity of the design. Imagine if we have to inspect a tethered closure design with a complex outside hinge structure. Rotational positioning is not an option because of the speed and the requirement for inline inspection. A simple “panorama view” does not solve the problem… our new IMDvista Neuronsoftware tool could solve it. Neuron is a vision tool using AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology. IMDvista Neuron was the break-through and key factor to guarantee a true 100% inspection of complex tethered closure designs. A “new star is born” in IMD’s closure inspection portfolio.
PETplanet: Can any design of tethered cap be inspected with one inspection system?
Yes! There are different manufacturing processes in order to produce closures with the new tethered and the warranty band functions.
Injection moulding: Complete realised by injection moulding process; Slitting and folding equipment after injection moulding process; Moulded warranty band and tethered feature in combination with an external folding equipment
Compression moulding: Slitting and folding equipment after compression moulding
IMD is able to cover all the various production processes and tethered closures designs with our well-known and market proven standard camera and sorting equipment. If our customers come up with complex outside hinge structures, we simply need to add our AI software tool IMDvista Neuron.
PETplanet: What must users be prepared for? Are the new systems easy to integrate into existing processes? What is the technical and financial expenditure?
Our customers can continue working with existing standard IMDvista vision inspection equipment without expensive system modifications for a wide range of tethered closure designs. Our IMDvista Neuron software is much more cost-efficient than a custom-made mechanical orientation station, especially for closure designs with special hinge structure designs. The IMDvista Neuron is able to inspect the closures much more precisely without any risks of closure jams or false rejects within the whole process!