Packaging Machine Vision Systems

Packaging Machine Vision Systems

Packaging systems are almost always made up of multiple packaging machines, though some facilities may use individual pieces of equipment rather than a completely automated system.  However, when the system is automated, sensors - or vision systems - allow the equipment to function efficiently and consistently without the need for operator assistance.
To be clear, automated packaging systems will usually still require an operator, but the responsibilities will differ greatly from those of an operator of a semi-automatic or manual system.  Instead of needing to continuously rinse bottles, initiate filling cycles or place bottles or caps, the operator of an automatic packaging line will simply need to set up the system for the product and package to be run, possibly resupply bulk items like caps and monitor the system itself.  The change in duties is due in large part to two general vision systems, the No Bottle Vision System and the Anti-Bottle Backup Vision System.

No Bottle Vision System

A No Bottle Vision System will normally stop a certain function of a packaging system when the bottles are not properly in place for that function to be completed.  So these vision systems may also be known as No Bottle, No Fill Systems or No Bottle, No Rinse Systems.  These vision systems generally work as a count eye, tallying each bottle as it moves into the packaging area (rinse area, fill area, etc.).  For example, if a filling machine consists of eight fill nozzles, the count eye will need to "see" the correct number of bottles before the fill cycle will begin.  These systems can also work to notify the operator of an automated packaging system when bottle supply is getting low, as the machines will simply not cycle when not enough containers are available.

Anti-Bottle Backup Vision System

Anti-Bottle Backup Vision Systems will consist of a sensor placed down line from certain machinery to ensure that the packaging process continues to move smoothly.  The Anti-Bottle Backup system does not count bottles, but instead look for the steady existence of a bottle in a certain position on the packaging line.  A back up sensor may be placed on the conveyor down stream from many different machines.  If this sensor "sees" a bottle for a set amount of time, it assumes that the bottles are not moving down the conveyor system.  The sensor then relays this information to the liquid fillers, capping machine or other packaging equipment, basically telling the machine to cease production until the jam or other problem is cleared down line.  This also serves to alert the operator to problems down the line if the filler or capper stops production.  
Of course, other sensors may also be present on packaging machinery.  But the two simple bottle vision systems described above are almost always included on an automatic packaging line manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions to minimize downtime and assist in the monitoring of the proper functioning of the equipment.  As always, other sensors may be added as needed based on the unique needs of any packaging project.