The FinalView before the first impression

Inspecting the finished product with the HEUFT FinalView check device ensures that even the producer´s most exacting requirements are met and he is protected from loss of image as regards the consumer.

The FinalView device ensures that the product undergoes an extensive check. In addition to a complete inspection of the label the device can check the closure, the filled products and the container. This is important because the customer´s first impression is a crucial factor when buying a product.

The heart of the inspection is a measuring bridge consisting of an optical mirror cabinet with several image processing systems. Each system consists of a high-resolution camera and a fast processor card. The processor card is an in-house development especially optimised for the task of inspecting containers. This development is based on over ten years´ experience in the field of empty bottle inspectors, sorting systems and case checks and this has been realized in the design of the card.

The container passes through the measuring bridge whilst on the conveyor. Pictures are taken from four angles each staggered by 90°. The pictures are then put together into a two-dimensional developed view. The result can be compared to a photocopy of a bottle which has been rolled synchronously. This method of putting together the views in real time at a container speed of 72,000 containers per hour is unique. However the views are not just put together in purely geometrical terms but their contents are compared with another in the overlapping areas and brought together as one picture. Therefore a precise bottle guidance is not necessary and variations among the bottles are more likely to be accepted.

The label inspection is an integral part of the HEUFT FinalView check device. Not only the presence of a label can be subjected to an absolute and relative check but also its positioning. Containers with labels which are folded or not straight can be just as reliably identified as those which are not within the permissible variation e.g. they have not been correctly applied as regards their height or distance from other labels.
The contents of the actual label are also inspected. Has the correct label been applied or have the labels in the magazine not yet been changed? This can lead to problems regarding the taste of a product (e.g. lemonade with an orangeade label) but this question can also have health or legal repercussions. For instance if a label states that it contains a drink without a sugar content but the contents do not comply with this then it could present a health risk to the consumer. Under certain circumstances the producer may have to pay damages. The difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is a similar example.

Another very important inspection concerns the presence of the best-before date and the barcode. These generally filigree elements can be checked in an enlarged section of a picture where a fourfold picture resolution makes it possible to identify smaller details. The areas are only enlarged where a higher resolution is required and therefore the resources of the image processing systems can be used to their best effect. The model for this skilful technique is the human eye. Admittedly a large field of vision is pictured but for optimum recognition small areas can be checked with a higher resolution. The resolution increases considerably towards the centre of vision. When reading a book only a few letters are ever shown in high-resolution. In the corner of one´s eye a rough image is sufficient.

Another important area of inspection before the product leaves the factory is the closure. Ensuring that no "old" caps are in the reservoir and the closer supply is a widespread problem in a bottling plant after a brand change as in a closure production plant when producing caps for different customers. A new type of image processing system takes a picture of each closure. This picture is centred, "unfolded" around its mid-point and transformed into a rectangular field. At first glance this new method has few similarities with the original but it is extremely well-suited for a further fast and effective evaluation. When comparing the subsequent evaluation with sample pictures taken previously, misprints as well as "false" closures can be identified.

In the case of aluminium screw closures the closure seal below the lower edge can be checked. The closure can also be checked to ensure that it has been correctly rolled-on. This check is particularly important in order to guarantee that the product is perfect up until its best-before date. Besides which there is a real risk of injury (cuts) due to a tamper evidence ring which has been incorrectly rolled-on or which has protruding parts. Closure faults can also be allocated to a certain closer head with the locator function. In this way it is possible to identify and deal with production faults at an early stage.

Various other inspections are available with the HEUFT FinalView. A scuffing detection can be carried out parallel to the inspection of the labels using the same components. Other types of packages can be inspected in different ways. Thanks to the modular system, camera inspections can be combined with other modules i.e. X-ray fill-level checks.

A combination of the appropriate checks ensures that only a top quality and properly "dressed" product leaves the production line.