Eminence Business Media

Eminence Business Media

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Zero-fault packaging – Myth or Reality?

Quality is one of the biggest differentiators in the packaging industry. Other factors matter too of course – cost efficiency, sustainability, lead times – but ultimately if packaging fails the quality test, it can jeopardize a whole run, and a customer relationship with it. In some sectors – pharmaceuticals for example – packaging faults can have even more significant consequences. 

But how can manufacturers maintain quality control in an increasingly competitive environment where margins are being squeezed and short runs with short lead times are becoming more common? In this environment, most companies cannot afford the luxury of Quality Control personnel carefully checking their packing process. The onus is now on the manufacturer to provide completely fault-free packaging in short lead times.

“Achieving zero-fault packaging is a key goal for all our customers,” said Pierre Binggeli, Product Marketing Director Business Unit Sheet-Fed Folder-Gluers at Bobst. “They want to ensure perfect quality production and timely detection of any errors within the production chain. They need a system they can rely on to identify issues and eliminate sources of errors, leading to quality consistency and client satisfaction.”

Bobst was the first company to introduce a fully integrated in-line quality control system on a folder-gluer back in 2011 with the first generation AccuCheck, providing a seamless progression, with no additional quality control step required in the process. This solution inspects carton blanks for defects as they enter the Bobst folder-gluer. In the years since, AccuCheck has become a benchmark solution in the industry and a must-have for Bobst’s pharmaceutical customers in particular.

“It has been a tremendous success with our customers in the pharmaceutical sector,” said Mr Binggeli. “For them, it provides real peace of mind – 100% quality-controlled production, ensuring compliance with industry standards, reducing the risk of censure and penalties.”

Combining zero-fault packaging and high speed: the new AccuCheck 
Bobst has now developed an evolved version of its quality control system. The new AccuCheck is compatible with the latest generation of MasterFold 75 / 110 or ExpertFold 50 / 80 / 110 machines. It carefully checks carton blanks for defects and guarantees complete quality consistency at speeds up to 500 m/min, or 140,000 boxes an hour. That makes it the fastest in-line quality control machine, and allows the machine to run full speed with AccuBraille. The latter gives manufacturers the ability to emboss Braille onto all four panels of the carton, even across the running direction.

Based on the 30-year experience of Bobst's Registron technology, AccuCheck is a highly flexible solution that allows users to inspect different box areas according to the manufacturer’s – or their client’s – quality criteria, while remaining easy and quick to operate. It enables full PDF management, with a PDF function pack consisting of conformity check and reference control, which are vital features in the pharmaceutical industry.

Other new features include smart text identification, which is driven by machine learning algorithm, as well as a reporting system that can be adapted to client validation targets and is available through a web browser. AccuCheck is also equipped with a dust removal device, which removes over 90% of dust particles to avoid unnecessary default detection.

Comprehensive inspection of the smallest imperfections
Inspection capabilities of AccuCheck are extremely comprehensive and include accurate color measurement and text inspection, detecting any print defects such as missing print, text errors, code defaults and color variations. It also enables complete analysis of the substrate integrity, preventing damages, dust (with the dust removal device), oil or any external elements on the cartons.

Inter-processes register variations (print, cut, foil, emboss) are measured precisely thanks to our unique patented lighting system, and all embellishment processes such as foil, varnish and emboss are closely inspected. It inspects 100% of varnished, metalized and embossed blanks.

Defective boxes – including any with splashes, spots, scratches or stripes – are ejected automatically, with 100% quality-controlled production.

The folding-gluing line is also easy to use. The new AccuCheck is equipped with the HMI Sphere, which provides several operating modes for customized settings. This feature is becoming standard on new Bobst machines. Inspection parameters can be saved and recalled, with repeat orders set within seconds. Access rights can be set for different users.

“Bobst was the first folder-gluer manufacturer to offer this kind of quality control device. With the new AccuCheck, we have taken automated quality control to the next level,” said Mr Binggeli. “Combined with AccuBraille, we have a completely integrated solution, which is unique in the industry. So far, this has mainly served those working in the pharmaceutical industry – the full PDF management, text inspection and reporting in particular suit this sector. But the new AccuCheck can also be configured to suit other industry segments, with different speeds and inspection needs that will serve the food and other industries equally well.” 

So, zero-fault packaging is indeed a reality – and one that is rapidly becoming a benchmark across multiple industries as Bobst continues to innovate.