Tag Archives: Electronics

Vision system helps packaging manufacturer freshen up its act

A fast-growing food packaging manufacturer is the latest business to box clever and benefit from the SAM Project’s electronics and industry 4.0 support.

The experts at SAM recently worked with a North East packaging specialist to help the company understand how electronics technology could improve product quality and eliminate manual visual checks which was adversely affecting their manufacturing line.

After visiting our state-of-the-art test factory at the University of Sunderland, the company – which supplies packaging to a major blue-chip client – was able to trial technologies such as Portable Monitoring Systems and a Vision Systems to understand how they could benefit their production process.

The goal was to eliminate faulty ‘black-spots’ items from its assembly line of transparent packaging, with the end-goal of increasing product quality and output, making the company’s operations more sustainable and profitable.

Working with Richard Eynon, SAM’s Industry 4.0 and Electronics Specialist, the company was able to achieve its goals after being introduced to a Vision System (Balluff), which helped it meet the ever-increasing requirements for maximum quality and greater flexibility within modern production plants.

This new quality checking process – through the implementation of a Vision System – has since resulted in the company eliminating almost every transparent container with inclusions from its production lines.

Richard said: “Each and every company that engages with the SAM Project has a unique challenge, be it improving quality, reducing lead-times or slashing costs and this client was no different”.

“Working with a blue-chip client, the company has to ensure the products it supplies meet the most stringent of standards, placing a huge strain on the company’s quality control teams and leading to heavy lead-times during periods of heavy production”.

“However, after sitting down with the company, we were able to identify how a Vision System was able to detect an issue and subsequently identify faulty products which could be eliminated from the production line using its digital ports (air, paddle…)

“Not only did this take the strain away from the quality control teams but it also helped the company improve product quality by reducing the number of products that could potentially be identified further down the line”.

“As engineers, we love a challenge and we love working with the latest technology, so this was a great project that really got our brains ticking.”

The company has also taken on additional resources as a result of the support it received from Richard and the SAM team and is confident that it is now on track to record zero detectable failures across its entire operation.

RIchard-Eynon-AMAP

Meet our Electronics and Industry 4.0 Expert

Richard Eynon, Industry4.0 and Electronics specialist at the SAM Project, helps SMEs understand and embrace the latest innovations.

Despite the many technological advances that have transformed the manufacturing industry over recent years, many SMEs are still reluctant to invest in the latest Industry4.0, digital and electronic innovations due to a common misconception that you need the budget of an OEM in order to purchase and run the latest software and machinery.

Having accumulated over 20 years’ experience working with transducers in a variety of industries, I have seen the impact cost effective and retrofittable cyber-physical devices can have on SMEs, especially when it comes to productivity. For example, using Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices such as condition monitoring equipment, which include Vibration, Temperature, Humidity, and Proximity Sensors.  These devices can help SMEs monitor performance of their machines and identify potential breakdowns and failures before they happen, resulting in less machine downtime and increased productivity.

Our Acoustic sensors can also be used to validate (audio) data from the connected devices, with an option of further in depth spectrum analysis and can also be intrinsically safer to locate where physical access may be a problem.

This wide industry experience over many years has essentially made me ask better and more relevant questions to help manage and determine a successful design solution, which generally can exceed internal or external customer (client) expectations.  Many design concepts require multi-skilled individuals or groups to solve them and being within the SAM Project – and having access to our colleagues with their broad industry experience and a wide network of industry contacts – can quickly determine the validity of an idea from proof of concept to manufacturability.

SMEs interested in learning how new technologies such as conditioning monitoring can benefit their business can also trial the technology themselves at our state-of-the-art factory areas at the University of Sunderland. Boasting over £1million worth of market-leading equipment, one of our most popular devices is a Portable Monitoring System.

The equipment is small and cost-effective but is a great introduction for SMEs wishing to learn how to implement digital data gathering into their business without breaking the bank and our test factory provides the perfect opportunity for companies to de-risk any future investments in new technology.

All of this equipment is completely free for manufacturers to try out. So, if you’re thinking of investing in any new machinery or software over the year ahead, why not de-risk your investment by paying us a visit?