EBI: Empty Bottle Inspection for Glass

– Hi I’m Rich Cisek and
welcome to today’s installment of Quick Tips with Rich. We’re going to be covering the inspection of empty glass containers in this segment. (upbeat music) If you’re working in food and beverage, you’re probably familiar with something called an EBI, or empty bottle inspector. And the theory of these is very simple. Most food and beverage operators want to inspect the integrity and quality of their glass container
before they fill it with expensive product,
and then have it break or find out that it’s
got some type of defect which would be unsuitable
for end sale to a customer. And so, empty bottle
inspectors have been around for probably 30 years,
and their primary job is to do a sophisticated inspection of this kind of container. The origin of an empty bottle inspector was focused on solving the
returnable beer bottle problem. So you imagine, if you
get a beer bottle back, you want to make sure that
that beer bottle is empty, there’s nothing in it, there
are no serious kind of damages from use, and et cetera, and there’s nothing really
dangerous, and you can refill it. And so, the beer industry
has been using EBIs for a long time and, when
you think about the kind of broader set of issues that they have, it makes sense that you would have very sophisticated and capable equipment. The challenge with that sophistication is that those machines are
fairly intensive to operate. And one of the things that,
if you visit a beer plant, you probably have noticed, and I’ll just pick up a beer
bottle here, is beer lines are generally configured to
run one type of container. And so, it’s more straightforward from an operational
standpoint to run an EBI on this container, for example, than it is in the food industry where I might run many
products on one line. And so, I have to constantly
be doing product changeover, so that, if I had a container
that looked like this, and I switched to one like
that, you can inspect them both. And so, generally, you
see EBIs be less prevalent in the food industry for that reason. Let’s step back and think
about what types of scenarios the food producer’s
interested in detecting, and how we might best do that. So, with food production,
almost all glass is one-way. You don’t have returnable
bottles for spaghetti sauce, for example, and so the
problem’s a little bit simpler because there’s a lot less to worry about. Generally, food producers are worried about a couple of things. One, the glass wall thickness. So you want to make sure
that the jar isn’t so thin in one spot that it could break as soon as it’s filled with product. You’re worried about foreign
material in the jar itself. Like if there’s a broken
piece of glass in a jar, you certainly don’t want to fill it. And then the third thing
you’re worried about is serious inclusions in the glass. So, if you look sometimes, you’ll notice that pieces of metal
or other stuff ends up in glass containers, and that obviously doesn’t look terrific
in a consumer’s hand. So, you want to get those out of the feed. Much simpler problem set than what you have for returnable glass. And so, what’s the best way to solve that? Well, the good news is that X-ray systems are extremely good at finding
most of those problems. The other type of problem
that, it’s kind of related to the inclusion, formation
inclusion problem, are cracks, serious cracks,
in the glass and chips. X-ray systems can find chips in the glass. Cracks are much more difficult to find. And we’ll talk about that in a second. So, at Peco InspX, we’re focused
on delivering X-ray-based, empty bottle inspectors for one-way glass. These systems are simple to operate. There’s no container handling, and so there’s nothing that
spins the bottle around. It’s a very simple,
straightforward capability and, if you think about it from a food operator’s standpoint, it’s going to find those
defects, and the key benefit to the customer, the food
company, is that we’re able to get containers out of the feed stream that are eventually going
to break on your line. And so, if you fill a
bottle and it breaks, and you have to shut your
filler down, got a lot of down time, and there’s
also a material amount of risk because you have to make sure that none of the broken container ended
up getting into the product. And we highly recommend that customers use full container X-ray
on their finished product, but now the improvement in
resolution of X-ray systems have made them terrific
for empty bottle inspection on the front end of your filler. And, when you combine these
two machines together, you get the benefit of upfront
operational efficiency, and on the back end you’re
getting 100% assurance that your product is
foreign material free. So, as I said, we get full coverage of the glass container
width, both from the bottom of the container and in the sidewall. And, if you’ve got a
severely swung baffle, and if folks don’t know
what that is, what that is is a over-mounting of glass
on one side of the bottom. Unfortunately, that may
not seem like a problem, but often it causes
the glass to be thinner in the area that doesn’t
have the over-mounting. You fill the jar up, and you put it down and, boom, the bottom breaks. So that’s one aspect. The foreign material,
we already talked about. X-ray systems are fantastic at that. And then, if there’s any chipping or part of the container missing, our sophisticated container
integrity inspection will find that. And, even more so, we can help you develop a data recording approach that, if there’s a particular
mold or a particular glass from your glass supplier
that’s causing you issues, you’ll know what that is, and
you can work that with them. So, when you think about
food safety protection, and X-ray systems have been very focused on full container inspection
of full containers. Empty contain inspection
is also very viable. Because it’s X-ray-based,
it’s extremely simple. And, if you’re already
using an X-ray system at the end of your line, the good news is, you already know how to
use one on the front end. So, thank you for your time. If you have any further questions, just please click on the link. (upbeat music)

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