New regulations for caps are coming to the EU in July 2024. Antares Vision Group’s solution, featuring FT System technology, inspects tethered caps with high accuracy, ensuring compliance without interrupting operations.
Directive 2019/904 of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union introduced new requirements for caps that are scheduled to come into force in July 2024. From that time, all caps must remain attached to containers after they have been opened to prevent plastic from entering the environment and to promote recycling in tandem with the containers.
In response to the challenges the Directive creates for beverage companies in terms of inspection and control, Antares Vision roup, empowered by FT System technology, offers tethered cap inspection solutions for both existing and new lines. When the Directive was published in 2019, we immediately began assessing what impact it would have on bottling lines so we could offer effective and efficient solutions to the bottling industry.
Thanks to our well-established presence in the European market, we have been able to test prototype caps using our systems, with satisfactory results. With only a few minor, low-impact changes to our line systems, we efficiently controlled all the cap parameters, including position, height and seal.
Different types of tethered caps have different features, which makes the inspection stage even more challenging and important. For example, carbonated beverages use screw caps and flat beverages use press-on caps. We have solutions suitable for both, and the flexibility of our systems allows us to adapt our controls to the needs of different types of closures.
In addition to their inspection systems, bottlers will have to analyse the impact the tethered caps have on their entire line, including application systems. A distinctive feature of the solutions is their ability to control the upstream process in addition to ensuring quality. For example, they monitor individual filling valves and individual capping heads and correlate product waste to a specific capping head. This allows the manufacturer to perform preventive maintenance and optimise the efficiency of their capping systems.
Furthermore, our solutions make it possible to continue performing quality control on PET cap-preform coupling and torque measurement using Robo-QCS, the automated robotic system on the line. Robo-QCS automatically performs multiple quality controls on the line, simultaneously picking up and depositing a bottle directly on the belt at full line speed. We can also integrate application angle into tethered cap inspection. This ensures the correct closure between the cap and bottle.
Collaborating with major cap manufacturers has been and always will be crucial to Antares Vision Group. Thanks to these strong relationships, we can anticipate proposed changes to tethered caps and continue to evolve and improve our solutions. We can study new features and confirm if our inspection systems are capable as is, or if they need to be adapted.
A significant challenge with tethered caps is minimising false rejects. With full accuracy, our solution recognises actual rejects; it does not reject a bottle because of the space between the lid and the tamper-evidence band that is characteristic of tethered caps. We can also inspect symmetrical and asymmetrical caps with a protruding hinge that deviates from the usual rotation symmetry. All this is possible because we deploy up to five cameras — four for side views around the cap and one for a top-down view — and dedicated illumination systems to achieve a clear contour inspection of the tethered caps, especially the tamper-evidence band. Integrating the application angle guarantees complete closure detection via the correct alignment of caps with bottles.
We understand some types of tethered caps might require dedicated solutions. Antares Vision Group with FT System technology is also ready to meet these needs. Our flexibility and capacity to perform dedicated studies is what has always set us apart from other solution providers.
We hope to see you from 12–16 September at Messe München. Visit us in Hall A6 at Stand 115 to learn more about our solutions, including for inspection for tethered caps.
For further information please contact [email protected]com or visit ftsystem.com.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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