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Why Case and Crate inspection

Food and Beverage Bottling Lines are normally equipped worldwide with one or two Full Containers (glass bottles, PET bottles, cans, kegs) Electronic Inspectors.  Still today, only a relatively small amount of them has also Case or Crate Inspectors on side of the Full Container Inspectors. To hint the rationale of the Crate and Case Electronic Inspectors imagine a Beverage Bottling Line whose production speed at the Filler Machine is 60000 returnable glass bottles-per-hour. Reasons of accumulation and Line balancing implies a Conveyor for returned crates like the one visible below where they pass  ~3300 crates-per-hour, almost one crate each one second.   How can the Operator:

  1. remove upside and/or tilted bottles which could stop or damage the De-Crater Machine;
  2. remove opaque foreign objects;
  3. sort incoming crates of the wrong colour and logo;
  4. remove semitransparent foreign objects;
  5. remove crates or cases with an erroneous or unreadable barcode;
  6. remove crates or cases with an erroneous or unreadable Best-Before-Date code;
  7. add bottles to incomplete cases or crates ?

  The nearly impossible mission of an Operator who’d have to assure a high constant flow of crates to the De-Crater Machine or to the Palletiser, assuring in the meantime its Quality (image credit SABMiller plc Poland, Aug12, Tom Parker-OneRedEye)

 Crates and cases are part of the Beverage Bottling history 

Increasing the amount of staff constantly devoted to the task could be a solution at least for the full and returned crates.  Say increase to two Operators per production shift, plus a spare third which, multiplied by the number of shifts in the 24 hours means nine staff.  Nine staff to try to do what two Electronic Inspectors, a Full Crate and a Returned Crate, shoul have done, at least by the point of view of Quality, better.   However impossible at all to do something useful with cases full of filled cans.   It is mandatory a non-invasive inspection system (X-ray or weigh checker) to understand at least if the case is completed with filled cans.   Cans may have micro-holes which let them slowly loose beverage, a process which only gives effects which can be measured  at the end of the Line, say before the Case Palletiser.   As a matter of fact, the Polish SABMiller plc Bottling Line where the figure above was shot has that Operator just to handle crates and not to inspect crates. The Bottling Line has Full and Returned Crates Electronic Inspection.

  Full Crate Inspection in Koestrizer Brauerei. Crates proceeding toward a serie of metal cap presence detectors, enacted by mean of digital photoscanners 

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