Express on-line PET preform defects inspection system
based on machine vision and AI technology.
Some of the most common defects in PET preforms with increased rPET concentration are different types of inclusions, haziness, and yellowing. Hence, for an upcoming R&D project funded by EEA and 2014–2021 Norwegian Financial Mechanism Program "Business Development, Innovation and SMEs" Sprana intends to develop a new inspection system that enables the detection of black specks and other contaminations at an early stage of production.
In this project, the company will carry out research and experimental activities in order to improve the quality control of PET preforms in on-line monitoring and analysis and to increase recycled materials concentration in production processes. This is realised by using machine vision and AI technology. Sprana will also develop the system’s prototype, which will be tested and installed on-site. The company states that by optimising and improving quality control of PET preform production, manufacturers will be able to reduce the routine human labour part of the quality assurance process, which is seen as inefficient, time-consuming, and increases the possibility of defective products. Released from routine tasks, staff will instead be able to carry out higher value-added processes and focus on higher quality of the products.
During this project, Sprana will be collaborating with local and international partners to carry out the R&D stages and achieve the main goals of the program. In cooperation with Lithuanian PET preform producer Putoksnis Ltd. and Norwegian consulting and projects management company IDN (International Development Norway) Sprana’s objective is to adapt the resulting product/solution in a real industrial environment and to commercialise it in the EU and across world markets.
Overall, the project not only aims to promote the usage of secondary PET resin in the industry and to stimulate the market for rPET trading, but the partnership will also take a further step towards the EU goal of creating the circular economy for the PET plastic packaging industry.
UNDER DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE QUANTITATIVE ANALYSES Technology OF solid/bulk MATERIALS which contributes to monitor production chemical composition and improve process quality control in INDUSTRIAL FLOW
With rapidly changing market conditions, strong competition, increasing consumer market quality standards and stricter environmental regulation laws, the product quality monitoring and analysis of production parameters directly on the production line is of key important solution in achieving the most effitient quality management standards of end product. Efficient automatic process management is not possible without measurement of parameters that needs to be controlled (temperature, composition, various physical or chemical properties, etc.). For this reason, the world market for process analytical technologies has been growing substantially in the recent years.
Quantitative analysis of bulk products is relevant in various industries (chemistry, mining, food, medicines, etc.). So far, there is no effective solution on the market to monitor the quality of such products in industrial flows in real time. To date, measurements of this kind are carried out in laboratories using wet chemistry, where the preparation of the sample requires long, careful work, skilled personnel, but this does not exclude "human error", so the results of the measurement are often inaccurate, and the process itself is long and costly.
After assessing market demand, expectations and prospects, Sprana Ltd. together with Quantum Light Instruments Ltd. in 2020 launched the project "Technology for the quantitative analysis of solid/bulk materials with FTIR-ATR in industrial streams". In this project R&D studies will be carried out to increase the accuracy of FTIR-ATR quantification method of solid/bulk materials and a prototype of advanced FTIR-ATR measurement technology will be developed, which will allow quickly and precisely measure the quantitative composition (concentration) of the production during the production process (on-line). The outcome of the project will improve the management of production processes and control of production quality.
The project is implemented under the research, development and innovation program (in Lithuanian - MTTPI) named "Experiment" (01.2.1-LVPA-K-856) financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The project contract signed for EUR 461 618,75 budget, the total project budget is EUR 630 308,22.
The beginning of the implementation of project activities: 2020-07-01.
The end of the implementation of project activities: 2022-10-31.