Special attention to preforms, color and rPET
The preform inspection module of the Pilot Vision+ system makes it possible to identify defects that are visible in the preform, before the bottle is blown. Multiple color cameras provide the imaging for 360º preform sidewall inspection as well as end cap and gate. Optics, LED illumination and image analysis routines are optimized to identify preform defects that impact bottle integrity, particularly the black specs and particle contamination sometimes associated with recycled PET (rPET).
With the increased use of rPET, challenges related to color consistency may also be an issue. In the Pilot Vision+ system, the preform cameras ensure that colors are within acceptable ranges. This is particularly valuable with the variations in color that can typically occur when higher percentages of rPET are used.
Another tool designed to address rPET related issues is the Pilot Vision+ system’s capability to learn multiple reference image sets for color inspection. This makes it possible to process a preform supply with slight color variations and manage the range of color by accepting those that match the reference images, while rejecting those that do not match.
Inspecting the base with liquid lens technology
The base inspection on the Pilot Vision+ system incorporates a powerful set of inspection algorithms that identify the smallest defects and anomalies regardless of base size, shape or design. In addition, the base inspection features a unique liquid lens that adjusts focus for bottle heights from five to sixteen inches, without mechanical components. This feature eliminates the need for mechanical lens adjustment when changing between containers of different heights. Focus settings are saved with each job and focus is automatically adjusted to accommodate new container heights. This saves changeover time and ensures a clear, high-resolution image of the base at the start of production.
In addition to the color preform cameras and liquid lens technology for base inspection, the new Pilot Vision+ offers features including:
- Large, touch-screen user interface with all data accessible from the main screen
- Pre-built tool sequences provided for each inspection type
- Flexibility to adjust parameters using live and history images during production
- Full-color preform imaging for color management
- Active cooling for high temperature operation
- Sealed components to prevent damage from fluids and moisture
The Pilot Vision+ system also offers a number of tools to assist operators with setup and job management. These include adjustable ROI tools, digital image filtering, zone scaling and the ability to display live and historical inspections images that can be used for evaluation or setup purposes. To aid operators in monitoring line status and assessing production trends, detailed defect and reject information and production-run data summaries are continuously updated. Defects are mold/spindle correlated and categorized using color codes for quick and easy identification of offending characteristics.
The Pilot Vision+ system is available as a stand-alone system, or in tandem with Agr’s Process Pilot® automated blowmolder management system. When you combine the Pilot Vision+ system with Agr’s Pilot Profiler® material distribution measurement system and the Process Pilot® automated blowmolder controls, it offers manufacturers a means to produce defect-free bottles with stable and consistent production on a 24/7 basis.
The Pilot Vision+ system is another segment to Agr’s Process Pilot® family of products, designed to provide comprehensive material distribution monitoring, automated blowmolder management and vision–based defect detection.