Putting a cap on traceability issues

03 December 2013

Traceability of product, reliability of performance and ongoing support are the key components of a recent project undertaken by Siemens Industry for Precision Engineering, a UK-based machine builder who manufactures the world renowned Dico capping and Gravfil liquid filling brands.

The company turned to Siemens to help it develop automation technology controls for its latest servo-capping machine which is used to apply caps to containers in a variety of industrial sectors.

In this case, the customer had a clear requirement for full traceability on every container capped, ensuring that the cap tightening process could be monitored, measured and data acquired for future analysis in the unlikely event of any problems occurring after the was released to market.

Rick Aitchison, sales manager for Dico & Gravfil outlined the project: “The capping machine had to provide torque feedback for every cap tightened.  This would provide full traceability on all product from manufacture to point of sale and beyond, providing peace of mind that all caps had been applied to the correct tightening specification.”

The capping machine undertakes a number of other functions, including a fully integrated vision system checking cap condition prior to application and a fully integrated coding system marking a unique serial number on every container. For every cap tightened, the machine PC records the acquired tightening data and a time stamped graph is automatically created and stored. This information is then available should its retrieval be necessary at any point in the future.

Once assembled containers and caps leave the machine an automatic reject system will reject any out of specification containers according to the user configured process parameters, with only correctly applied product proceeding to the next part of the production process.

Aitchison concludes:  “We have worked with Siemens for 11 years and enjoyed a strong partnership throughout this capping machine project.  We are confident the machine satisfies the particular demands of our end customer around data and traceability intelligence for every container passing through. We are also able to remotely support our customer if issues arise with the machine.”

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