Beer industry: FT System's innovative in-line control to detect leaks in bottles
PCS-BEER measures the internal pressure in the bottle head space in a non-destructive and non-invasive way. Companies operating in the beer industry may occasionally receive a complaint from the market for an improperly closed bottle leaked from the cap. Failure to seal the lid is particularly harmful to the product because it allows oxygen to enter the bottle. O2 damages the quality characteristics of the beer and depletes the amount of CO2 present inside the bottle. These problems can be resolved using an innovative in-line quality control: an inspection system based on laser spectroscopy enabling the identification of leaks through the non-destructive measurement of the pressure in the bottle headspace.
NON-DESTRUCTIVE CHECK OF INTERNAL PRESSURE BASED ON LASER SPECTROSCOPY
Laser spectroscopy uses a particular physical property of specific molecules in the gaseous state, i.e., the ability only to absorb light at particular wavelengths. This enables the measurement of the total/partial pressure concentration and that of the CO2 inside closed containers quickly and accurately. The laser beam, placed at the correct height on the production line, passes through the bottle in the product-free headspace, making it possible to determine whether there is a leak or micro-leak, depending on the internal pressure level measured.
The advantage of this inspection, compared with acoustic technologies widely used in the market, is to make a direct measurement, which is more precise, avoids false rejects, does not suffer variability due to the type of cap, and does not require precise positioning on the cap as in the case of the acoustic signal because it measures in the bottle the internal pressure.
The main advantages of applied laser spectroscopy are:
- Extremely high reliability, thanks to measurement accuracy.
- Accuracy of the measurement (direct and not indirect as in the case of acoustic technologies)
- Extremely high measurement sensitivity: high sensitivity capable of detecting even minor variations in pressure (related not only to leaks but also to process malfunctions that can cause the introduction of oxygen into the bottle).
- Extreme measurement speed.
- Low maintenance and long lifespan of sources and the sensors used for inspection.
- The reduction of false rejects-thanks to the measurement accuracy of the technology
- The application of the inspection to any type of bottle and cap
- Ease of integration into the line
All these characteristics are ideally suited to the in-line application of this technology that can be installed on stand-alone machines and an existing belt.
MONITORING THE PRESENCE OF MICRO-LEAKS ON 100% OF PRODUCTION
Laser spectroscopy enables the monitoring of the overall pressure inside each bottle directly on the production line. The inspection is carried out immediately following the pasteurization stage to intercept any leaks or micro-leaks due to the heating and subsequent cooling of the cap during pasteurization or to defects in the bottle mouth (such as, for example, minor cracks) that may have occurred during production. Bottles with pressure below a certain level will be automatically rejected from the line. The inspection also enables monitoring that the pressure level inside the bottles is always constant, thus optimizing production conditions in the event of deviations.
BENEFITS FOR THE MANUFACTURER
Applying laser spectroscopy as a leak detection system on a beer bottle production line enables to:
- Prevent complaints from the market: 100% of production is inspected.
- Reduce false waste, resulting in environmental and sustainability benefits.
- Guarantee product quality and company brand reputation.