Sidel has launched a quality control technology for PET bottles. The IntelliADJUST smart bottle blowing control system is an easy-to-use technology that enables customers to achieve a consistently higher bottle quality and support production of bottles with recycled PET (rPET) content.
IntelliADJUST works within a closed loop system using interferometric sensor technology and ensures material distribution, resulting in production uniformity for PET bottles, including those made from recycled PET.
It also enables consistent bottle quality across a range of variable production conditions, such as preform storage, workshop temperature and relative humidity. In-line, autonomous bottle control and real-time digitised process adjustments result in even material distribution. The impact of changing production conditions and PET resin specificities on bottle quality is thus reduced.
The addition of Sidel’s Evo-ON software suite also offers aggregation of equipment data and analytics features that can deploy historical and 24/7 real-time analysis, creating a smart line system.
Stéphane Menard, product manager for blowing care at Sidel, explained that IntelliADJUST measures in-line bottle thickness, analyses and adjusts parameters to ensure consistency: “This easy-to-use blowing solution, maximises the number of marketable bottles by ensuring that quality control is consistently high. IntelliADJUST offsets any production line variations by using algorithms to identify measured thickness deviations and automatically corrects the heating and blowing parameters to ensure consistent quality without any interruptions.”
Moving towards low carbon footprint packaging
The blow moulding process is becoming more important as lightweighting and increasing the amount of rPET content within the industry continues.
IntelliADJUST can be applied across a range of PET preforms, including translucent, opaque, coloured (non-TiO2), virgin and up to 100% rPET. It is suitable for customers who want to introduce rPET as there are multiple sources of supply and therefore more variability in material grades. The system is capable of ensuring material distribution on the bottle despite resin variability risks.
With the control system, users can optimise the carbon footprint of their PET packaging, through greater use of recycled material and supporting weight reduction with stabilised quality.
A smart sensor technology for precise measurements and refined production process
IntelliADJUST regulates the main blowing and heating process parameters to avoid uneven distribution of material, while its advanced measurement functionality also ensures consistently high bottle quality.
Working within a continuous closed loop process for control and adjustment, IntelliADJUST measures the wall thickness at the most representative points of each bottle using four interferometric sensors based on reflected infrared light. Four sensors, located at the bottle transfer wheel, can be adjusted across three axes (X, Y, and Z).
It can operate at speeds of up to 90,000 bottles per hour, continuously comparing thickness measurements with the expected material distribution, and automatically adjust the process in case of deviation.
All IntelliADJUST parameters are integrated into the machine settings for each stock keeping unit (SKU) recipe. This allows immediate start-up after changeovers by automatically adapting sensor positioning and processes according to each recipe. Its accuracy also reduces the need for additional manual laboratory controls.