PTI’s new Seal-Sensor PQX is a fully automated handling and pouch-seal inspection system that features a built-in conveyor that can be integrated into a production line. The system uses PTI’s Seal-Sensor airborne ultrasound technology to automatically scan the final pouch seal online at high speed.
According to PTI, in order to use ultrasonic inspection effectively, the seal must be placed in a direct line between a pair of transducers, and the transducers moved along the seal. The ultrasound is transmitted and reflected at the transition from one media to the next. The greater the acoustic difference between mediums, the more sound is reflected and the less sound transmitted through. The variation of the material thickness has only a minor effect, the company explains.
Any material fold, foreign media inclusion, and even a microscopic air gap between layers of pouch material causes a significant reflection, so the transmitted signal is lower. A small cut, abrasion, or missing layer in a material causes less reflection, so the transmitted signal is higher. Therefore, the level of a signal received after passing through the seal is a function of the seal quality. In this way, various types of defects, visible and invisible, leaking and non-leaking, process-related and random, are detectable.
PTI's Seal-Sensor airborne ultrasound technology is an ASTM Test Method F3004 and a recognized FDA consensus standard for seal quality inspection.
Detailing the features of the Seal-Sensor PQX, Noba Ebaid, global manager for Automation & Strategic Partners for PTI, says, “This easy-to-install system features a small footprint, with full-screen HMI to display test result data as pouches are scanned. Inspection rates range up to 350 mm/sec. A rapid linear scan of the pouch seal provides immediate seal check/verification of seal quality in-line at high outputs. Test result data is produced in seconds. A built-in reject chute quickly removes defects from the line, and a built-in stack light provides easy identification of pass/fail results.”
The sensor is also said to be easy to integrate into production lines, is adjustable for different size pouches, and offers the option of manual load or robotic pick-and-place. Says Ebaid, “For the food, nutrition, and medical device industries, this is the ideal automated solution for 100% seal quality assurance.” PW