XPAR Vision is a firm believer that the current performance of the glass container industry has not reached its limit. Weight reduction, waste reduction and zero defect production are now possible by using the company’s equipment. In a series of exclusive articles for Glass Worldwide, Paul Schreuders shares the results of implementing these technologies and how they help the glass industry.
It was in 2000 that XPAR Vision introduced the first working InfraRed (IR) camera technology in the glass container industry. For the first time, the operators of IS machines received real-time information about their forming process.
With the IR-Dual camera system (IR-D), users obtain information about both the quality of a bottle or jar (inspection of defects, glass distribution) and information about the quality of the forming process (prevention, variation) (figure 1). XPAR Vision has not only supplied IR-D technology to over 500 production lines but also provides the knowhow to implement the IR-D at the hot end. The company’s consultants, who are all experienced glassmakers, train users of XPAR equipment with good implementation results; higher quality with higher pack-to-melt due to better understanding of the forming process.
The company’s latest equipment innovations are the GobAssist and Blank Temperature Control. The GobAssist (GA) system is an indispensable and easy-to-use tool for loading the gob in the blank mould. The system is built around two high speed cameras (500 images/sec) capturing images of the gob falling from the deflector into the blank mould (figure 2). The cameras are mounted on a rail and every section is sequentially measured. With the aid of these images, the software calculates the essential loading parameters:
- Length of the gob
- Diameter of the gob
- Time of arrival of the gob
- Position of the gob in the blank mould
- Speed of the gob
- Shape of the gob
With these parameters, it is possible to find the optimal gob loading and maintain this optimal setting in operation. An example of measurements with the GA and its effects are presented in figure 3.
Mounted on the same rail, the Blank Temperature Control (BTC) system is capable of measuring the temperature of the essential parts at the blank side:
- Blank moulds
- Neck rings
The BTC always measures the temperature on the same position and at the same time, giving reliable and precise results. For example, the plunger cools down by more than 100°C in one tenth of a second. Manual measurements never can be this accurate! The BTC is fast, with multiple measurements in different cavities of a section taken within one cycle. Two special sensors, one for the temperature of metal and the other for the glass temperature, contribute to the effectiveness and extreme accuracy of the BTC. An example of measurements and its effect are shown in figure 4.
So XPAR Vision offers three innovative hot end systems for the monitoring the forming process:
- IR camera system
- The GobAssist
- The BTC
The glass forming process is complex and is dependent on many, mostly unknown or misunderstood parameters. All examples show clearly the advantage of having these three systems running interactively at the hot end. Cause and effect relations are easy to analyse; if a gob parameter changes (measured by the GA), it inflicts the loading process, affecting the parison condition (measured by BTC) and the result is a different glass distribution in the bottle or jar, indicated by the IR-D. In summary, every deviation of the glass forming process is noticed by the IR-D camera. The GA measures all the details of the loading process, the BTC all relevant temperatures at the blank side. Collectively, this information will lead to insight of the forming process and knowledge leads to solutions. As one customer commented: “We were staring in the dark but XPAR Vision turned on the light! Now we see and know what is happening in our forming process!”
In a series of articles XPAR Vision will share with the glass industry its latest insights about combining the IR-D camera, GA and BTC. In Glass Worldwide July/August 2015, the next article will reveal in detail the latest insight and learnings of the loading of the gob in the blank mould (figure 5).