Vision Systems - The Eyes of Packaging Machinery
Vision systems play a part in the smooth and efficient functioning of a packaging line. These systems may be in place on a single machine or may work to help different machines on a system communicate with one another. Though different vision systems may be set up for each and every packaging line designed and put into production, two of the most common are the no bottle, no fill vision system and the anti-bottle back up vision system.
No Bottle, No Fill Vision System
No Bottle, No Fill vision systems use a sensor that "sees" bottles as they move past the eye on a power conveyor system. The eye counts bottles as they move into the processing area of an automatic filling machine. Once the proper number of bottles has entered the processing area, the sensor will wait to see one additional bottle before sending the signal to the liquid filler to start the fill cycle. This vision system can work with any type of filling machine to ensure this portion of the packaging process remains efficient and consistent. The same system may be used on container cleaning equipment and custom packaging equipment as well.
Anti-Bottle Back Up Vision System
Rather than work with a single machine, the Anti-Bottle Back Up vision system helps machines communicate with one another. These systems can be set up to ensure that a single bottle does not remain present in one location for too long, which may indicate a bottle jam on the power conveyor system or an issue with one of several machines on the packaging line. When this occurs, the sensor used for the anti-back up system relays a signal to the machines preceding the fault to pause production until the fault is cleared. The use of this vision system avoids turning a simple bottle jam or a single machine issue into a system wide problem. If production stalls, the operator of the packaging line can simply find the source of the fault. Once the fault is cleared, automatic production can begin once again.
Of course the sensor, or eye, is the main tool used for these systems, but sensors are also used in a variety of other ways to help packaging machinery communicate and run in a timely manner. Sensors may be used for the end of a stroke on a piston filler, or even a cylinder for a head dive on a filling machine, to provide an accurate fill. Capping machines will use a sensor to pause cap delivery systems when the chute is full of caps to avoid jamming the machine. Labeling equipment uses sensors to allow one label to present itself for each bottle that passes by. The use of sensors, as noted above, will coincide with the needs of each specific packaging line. For more information on packaging machinery and the way it works, feel free to browse the Liquid Packaging Solutions website or give LPS a call to speak with a Packaging Specialist.