The Importance of Vision Systems on Automatic Packaging Systems

The nice thing about automatic packaging lines is they can continuously fill, cap, label and otherwise package product without the need for manual labor. However, without manual labor, there is almost no ability to react to a changing situation or an unexpected error. Vision systems are put in place on automatic packaging systems to create a system of oversight to ensure that every packaging machine on a line works together.

Automatic packaging lines will typically use a power conveyor system to move containers from one machine to the next, though there are exceptions to that rule. Having one machine jam or otherwise stop production can create a chain reaction that can cause anything from minor downtime to damaged packaging equipment in the absence of vision systems. For example, if a bottle becomes stuck in a capping machine, that capping machine may shut down due to the error. However, without a vision system, the filling machine may continue to produce bottles or other containers of product and send them down the conveyor toward the filler. Unchecked, this situation could create enough of a back up to damage the conveyor, capper or the filler if enough bottles become clogged on the conveyor system. However, an anti-bottle back up vision system will send a signal to other equipment if one machine becomes jammed, telling the machinery to pause after completing the next cycle until the issue can be resolved, thus stopping not only machine damage but the possibility of extensive clean up by minimizing, if not completely eliminating, spilled, tipped or broken containers caused by the jam.

Similarly, for a variety of reasons, containers may be absent from its desired location when entering a rinsing machine, liquid filler or capping machine. A container may tip on the conveyor system or when loaded onto the conveyors, or containers may even run short at the end of a production day. Now imagine a filling machine with eight heads, but only six or seven containers each cycle. Not only would a packager be losing a lot of product, but the mess created would also cause downtime and lost production. No bottle, no fill vision systems help to ensure that a rinse, fill or other packaging cycle will not begin unless and until the necessary number of containers are in place, eliminating spills and messes from missing containers. Less maintenance, less clean up and less downtime simply means a more productive and efficient work day.

While these two systems are very common vision systems, standard on most automatic equipment, others can be used to monitor machinery and communicate from one piece of equipment to another. Communication is only one of the many ways in which Liquid Packaging Solutions' equipment can be custom manufactured to the needs of the individual packager. To learn more about vision systems or packaging equipment in general, just browse the LPS website or contact the LPS offices to speak with a Packaging Specialist.