The company, a division of international filling and packaging systems manufacturer KHS, claims that the new system is capable of helping suppliers in the brewing, soft drink and specialised wholesale sectors to meet the current traceability and efficiency targets.
The first module of the pilot system went on display at this month's Brau Beviale exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany. The system features a crate dimension measurement facility that uses a CCD camera to exactly measure the length, width, and height of each crate.
Crates enter the crate inspection area single-file, spaced approximately 200 mm apart. Various detection module options are available for the crate inspection station.
Another CCD camera mounted on the side of the conveyor belt is responsible for detecting company logos. If display crate identification is required, the logo detection unit can be expanded to detect cut outs in this type of crate and also reliably detect crate damage such as broken handles, deformation, or other breakage in the partition area.
CCD cameras installed downstream are similarly used to identify the colours and sizes of the bottles contained in the crates. Height measurement is easily possible by means of a special ultrasound detection unit.
An accurate checking system for any foreign objects in the crates is also integrated within the bottle detection area. The system determines the exact position of bottles or foreign objects in each crate.
All precisely determined information is sent directly to the intelligent packing equipment. A type selection enables the user to exactly define which bottle types are to be considered production bottles.
In addition to its latest crate detection modules, KHS Metec has launched Tangens, a novel crate rejection and distribution system. The system, designed to save plant space, gently pushes various styles of beverage crates from one conveyor belt onto several other conveyor belts. The company claims that the system only requires a small gap between each crate.
KHS acquired a majority holding in Metec last year as part of its strategy of expanding its presence in the food processing marketplace. The acquisition was seen as a means of opening up new markets to the group.
Metec, which was founded in 1985, is a European provider of quality assurance systems that concentrates mainly on the global beverage sector. It provides comprehensive monitoring equipment to the beverage industry for both the wet and dry sections.
International brands such as SABMiller, Interbrew, Heineken and Coca-Cola use Metec equipment. Metec is also a leading European supplier of crate sorting, and plays a major role in the sorting of PET bottles. In 2002 the firm reported a turnover of €5 million.