Monitoring & tracking: more precise is better!

It can never be too precise, the consistent container tracking of our systems of the current HEUFT SPECTRUM II generation which we will be exhibiting at drinktec 2022 in Munich. After all it ensures that nothing is left out during the inline quality inspection – and that every product to be rejected is really removed from the production flow.

If you look at the production flow in a beverage filling line or in a packaging area of food production, you quickly realize that the distances between products and the transport speeds can fluctuate. This is caused by current conditions from standstill to maximum line output. Nevertheless, quality control must ensure that all products are reliably detected at all times and continuously tracked on their way from the infeed into the inspection system to behind the outfeed system. The precision and reliability of a HEUFT SPECTRUM II cannot be beaten in this respect:

To an accuracy of up to 0.5 millimetres these modern HEUFT devices now know where each individual product is currently located. Compared with their predecessor platform the precision of the position determination has thus quadrupled – thanks to considerably increased computing power and the real-time signal transmission via the HEUFT ISI, our fieldbus system developed in-house.

Accurate tracking, exact position determination

However, this high degree of accuracy is by no means exaggerated. After all, modular inspection systems from the HEUFT SPECTRUM II  kit not only check the integrity and quality of larger drinks and food packaging as well as their contents but also, for example, that of cream jars, syrup or spray bottles and many other small-format primary packaging materials for cosmetics and medical products – right down to full vials which only hold 2 millilitres.

It is not only important to measure reliably in the intended range for each operating state. The rejection system must also be activated with pinpoint accuracy. Only those who know their exact center point can ensure that faulty containers are rejected upright at all times.

Rejection verification and run-out control

With these measures, a 100% quality inspection system must ensure that every single container is actually checked at every single detection station to prove that it is completely free of defects. But that's not all: a permanently operating rejection verification system raises an alarm if something should " slip through the net" and a product identified as defective – e.g. due to a failure of the compressed air supply – cannot be removed from the production stream. At the same time, a stop signal is issued in such cases to prevent such a defective container from continuing its journey through the filling and packaging line and possibly reaching the retail trade and ultimately even the end consumer.

Therefore, it is not only the correct function that is monitored. The outfeed check also visualizes with the help of a flashing HEUFT checkPoint at the location of the event that a container with implausible detection data entries has passed the rejection system. This makes it easy for the operator to recognize the situation and correctly remove this potentially unsafe container from the conveyor manually.

Proven shifting register, new precision

Every product to be inspected is thus tracked with high precision right up to the exit of the respective quality control or inspection system. The basis for this is the so-called shifting register which HEUFT had already brought onto the market for the first time over 30 years ago and which has been developed further and further since then. It measures the movement of the conveyor chains very precisely. And by means of trigger photoelectric sensors the position of the respective product is tracked from the beginning of the control area and across each individual detection position and checked again and again. This means that it is clear throughout where each individual production container is currently located in the HEUFT inspection area. At the same time a specific data entry is made at each inspection station which records whether the empty or already filled packaging has been judged to be faulty or good before the final decision is made at the rejection position on the basis of these findings: withdraw from circulation or allow to pass.

If a HEUFT SPECTRUM II system is used for automatic quality control and inline inspection the user can therefore rely on the fact that only checked products leave the inspection point.

See for yourself: drinktec 2022, stand B4.319/513