Highlighted at Silgan’s booth at PACK EXPO Las Vegas was its new Silgan Equipment 2D-X2 inspection system, which employs dual lasers to scan the surface of the cap on a packaged beverage or food product to determine proper cap sealing. The side-by-side laser beams scan the top surface of each cap to immediately detect cap tilt and overall cap height. When the lasers detect an uneven cap height, the cap is cocked; when they detect a non-standard package height, the cap is either low (not present) or is high (not completely seated). These results indicate a package that is not securely sealed.
In an effort to save floor space, Silgan noted that the 2D-X2 system installs over an existing conveyor line. The lasers are mounted in a protective housing rated NEMA 4X, resistant to washdowns and the harsh conditions of the processing environment. The sensor height is adjusted by a handwheel and the beam-spread adjustment is done with a rotary knob, for fast and accurate placement. As filled and capped containers pass, the lasers scan the surface of each cap to identify rejects for removal downstream.
Operators access the 2D-X2 system controls through a full-color touchscreen HMI located next to the line. The PackML-compliant system software stores and recalls job files for quick changeover, displays inspection results, and generates production statistics.
Operators set up an inspection by stepping through the HMI-directed set-up procedure, using samples of good and bad cap placement on containers to adjust the inspection parameters. When the inspection is configured and runs well in production, it can be saved as a job file for instant recall when that same container and cap combination is run in the future.
During a changeover to a new container and cap, the line operator selects the previously stored job file on the HMI screen and sets the height and beam spread of the laser unit. Running a few test containers ensures the system is properly adjusted, and production proceeds. The 2D-X2 can inspect container caps at rates to 800/min, depending on container and cap size. The system software records production statistics, including number of rejects, for use in Continuous Improvement efforts. This data can be immediately recalled in the event of an FDA inspection visit.
The 2D-X2 system can inspect plastic, metal, and composite caps ranging from 30 mm to 110 mm in size, on containers ranging from 1¼ to 14 in. high. The system is compact: The laser housing and stand occupy only 6 in. of conveyor length, and the HMI control box measures 15 in. H x 15 in. W x 9 in. D and features adjustable tilt. Power requirements for the system are 100-240 VAC.