SACMI PVS10L offline PET preform quality control machine: AI-enabled efficiency and accuracy

The offline system completes the SACMI PVS preform inspection range. Significantly, it incorporates the AI-based self-guided DRIVA system that streamlines workers’ tasks by minimising format changeover times

With the PVS10L, SACMI has enabled users to exert total quality control of the product by using both in-line and stand-alone inspection solutions. More specifically, the PVS10L enhances the SACMI machine family for in-line and sample inspection by incorporating computer vision systems with new AI tools.

More precise, more accurate quality control

Providing maximum inspection accuracy and precision for preforms of different sizes and colours, this system includes polarised light inspection, as one of the outcomes of applying artificial intelligence. The result is high inspection precision, even when it comes to those defects that are invisible to the human eye yet can still cause major problems at the bottle blowing stage.

AI delivers the «self-guided» advantage

One of the key features of the SACMI PVS10L is on-machine integration of the self-guided SACMI DRIVA (Drive and Recognise through Intelligent Vision Algorithms) system. The system consists of artificial intelligence algorithms capable of: 

  • identifying each type of preform via its basic characteristics (diameter, length, colour)
  • autonomously performing the relative format changeover
  • loading the right inspection recipe.

DRIVA thus provides operators with close support, eliminating any possibility of error. What’s more, autonomous systems slash changeover times from over an hour to about a minute, ensuring maximum sorting line availability.

Speeds as high as 36,000 preforms/hour

The PVS10L line lets manufacturers handle and inspect up to 36,000 preforms per hour. It consists of six main machines: a tipper that picks preforms from the octabin and places them in a hopper with an elevator, and the PLO030 roller-type orientator, which features automatic format changeover in synch with the PVS10 inspection recipe. Then comes the heart of the system, the PVS10L inspection system with autonomous format changeover: after this step, faulty preforms are separated, via an elevator, and placed in a separate octabin. Good-quality preforms, instead, are gently placed in the final octabin, where each individual preform is counted and catalogued before packaging.

Software interoperability, always-available data

Like the rest of the SACMI Computer Vision family, the PVS10L features CVs software, ensuring maximum usability and interoperability between machines. The software uses AI tools to read the cavity number printed on the finish with the utmost precision and repeatability, generating a comprehensive set of cavity-specific statistics. This data can then be shared on the web with the aid of OPC/UA, MODBUS and http protocols, making it simple to transfer production data from the vision system to ERP or MES systems.

This approach delivers improvements to product and process quality control by providing accurate, real-time statistical reports that allow retroactive action to be taken, correcting, and often anticipating, potential drifts in the process itself.

Classy AI

The PVS range implements the new Classy AI tool. While it does not change the control process itself – which already provides the highest accuracy – Classy AI immediately classifies defects by type on a user-friendly dashboard.

How does it do this? The left-hand side of the Classy AI dashboard shows the detectable defect types, grouped into ‘families’ (accidental, technological, decoration-OCR, measures, specific). In the middle, an image highlights the area of the object with the defect. On the right of the screen, quality statistics let users identify any process trends/drifts concerning the specific defect.

Each defect family is, in turn, divided into subcategories. In the event of a problem, the operator is alerted by an icon that identifies not only its type but its most likely source, allowing corrective action to be taken quickly. 

Classy AI thus implements a different approach to control, one that makes these systems easy to use, even for operators who are not necessarily Computer Vision experts.

PVS: the complete range

The PVS10L belongs to the broad SACMI PVS range of preform quality control systems: these differ according to application (in-line, as an aid for quality control labs, or offline for high-speed sorting of potentially defective preform batches). The ability to perform a comprehensive set of checks — including dimensional checks, weight checks and reading of cavity numbers — means that these systems play a key role in keeping production efficient at all times. Other innovations include SACMI’s recently launched PVS156, the first system for the intensive quality control of 100% of output to be integrated on the press.