Tethered caps: new solutions for effective in-line quality control
Antares Vision Group, empowered by FT System technology, inspects tethered caps with high accuracy, ensuring compliance without interrupting operations. Directive 2019/904 of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union introduced new requirements for caps that are scheduled to come into force in July 2024. All caps must remain attached to containers after they have been opened to prevent plastic from entering the environment and promote recycling in tandem with the containers.
OUR RESPONSE TO DIRECTIVE 2019/904
In response to the challenges the Directive creates for beverage companies regarding inspection and control, Antares Vision Group, empowered by FT System technology, offers tethered cap inspection solutions for both existing and new lines. Antares Vision Group.
When the Directive was published in 2019, Our team immediately began assessing what impact it would have on bottling lines so it could offer effective and efficient solutions to the bottling industry.
Thanks to the well-established presence in the European market, it has been possible to test prototype caps using Antares Vision Group’s systems, with satisfactory results: the systems efficiently controlled all the cap parameters, including position, height, and seal.
CHALLENGES OF TETHERED CAPS. HOW WE FACE THEM?
Different tethered caps have various features, making the inspection stage even more challenging and essential. For example, carbonated beverages use screw caps, and flat drinks use press-on caps. Antares Vision Group Beverage has solutions suitable for both, and the flexibility of our systems allows us to adapt our controls to the needs of different types of closures. In addition to their inspection systems, bottlers will have to analyze the impact the tethered caps have on their entire line, including application systems. The distinctive feature of our solutions is their ability to control the upstream process and ensure quality. For example, they monitor individual filling valves and individual capping heads and correlate product waste to a specific capping head. That allows the manufacturer to perform preventive maintenance and optimize the efficiency of their capping systems. Furthermore, the solutions make it possible to continue performing quality control on PET cap-preform coupling and torque measurement using ROBO-QCS automated robotic system on the line. ROBO-QCS can automatically perform multiple quality controls on the line, simultaneously picking up and depositing a bottle directly on the belt at full line speed. We can also integrate application angle into tethered cap inspection. This ensures the correct closure between the cap and bottle.
Collaborating with major cap manufacturers has always been crucial to Antares Vision Group. Thanks to these strong relationships, we can anticipate proposed changes to tethered caps, continue to evolve and improve solutions, study new features and confirm if the inspection systems are capable as-is or need to be adapted. A significant challenge with tethered caps is minimizing false rejects. With total accuracy, our solution recognizes actual rejects; it does not reject a bottle because of the space between the lid and the tamper-evidence band that is characteristic of tethered caps.