When Pennsylvania-based Turkey Hill Dairy began experiencing leaky milk and juice containers on its production lines, it contacted Balluff for help. One line was analyzed and the primary problem was caps not being sealed correctly at the capping machine. By either under- or over-tightening due to variations in the bottle material, some of the bottles became susceptible to leakage at any point in the warehousing or delivery stages.
The “leakers” had a series of compounding effects. First, the milk or juice had to be cleaned up at the point where the leak took place. If the leak occurred in the dairy, the cost was minimal. However, if the leak occurred at the customer’s end, the customer could charge Turkey Hill for the cleanup cost and return the product. There were also “leakers” discovered in transit. This meant the customer would likely refuse the skid and the truck would have to be cleaned – two costly scenarios.
Loss estimates as high as $5,000 for a single worst-case event and up to $30,000 per month were recorded by the management team at Turkey Hill. In addition, the re-work involved on the full and partial skids of the returned and contaminated bottles was as many as 4,000 bottles per day.
To eliminate these issues, the dairy installed an inspection station near the end of the line with a Balluff Sharpshooter vision sensor. The goal was to improve quality by removing “leakers” before hitting the palletizer with a better system of product checking than having human operators inspect the bottles as they went by. Since installing the sensor, the dairy reports increased bottling throughput and production time, reduced waste, and no customer penalties. These benefits amounted to a $300,000+ annual savings which helped pay for the inspection system within the first two weeks of installation. Also, personnel who were previously assigned to clean-up jobs and re-routing delivery trucks now work on production and process activities.
Filed Under: Packaging, Sensors (position + other), Test + measurement • test equipment, Vision • machine vision • cameras + lenses • frame grabbers • optical filters