Automated volume measurement system for the shop floor

David Dineff discusses a more efficient way to manage volume and fill height requirements during glass bottle production. The full version of this article appears in the November/December issue *.

Automated volume measurement system for the shop floor

Agr International Inc has introduced the latest addition to its family of products for the glass container industry, the SPT2-Volume. This automated, self-contained testing station is designed to provide hands-free, automated volume measurement of glass containers on the shop floor or in the laboratory, offering a cost-effective alternative to the tedious hand measurement of bottles.

According to Agr, this system was developed to meet the needs of glass container producers and brand owners that need fast and precise volume measurement but do not require pressure testing. This product is particularly applicable to the producers of non-pressurised ware, including spirit, olive oil and specialty beverage and food containers, where volume measurement is critical.

SPT2-Volume is an extension of the industry leading Agr SPT2 product line. Built on the same testing platform, this system shares many popular features, including a rugged stainless steel framework, no job change bottle handling system and a Linux operating system.

What is distinctive about the SPT2-Volume is its ability to perform fill height and volume measurement with laboratory accuracy, the repeatability that is achieved with automation and a fast throughput necessary for effective process management. System handling and operational components have been configured with this in mind. Plus, the system can be configured to operate autonomously, where it can provide round-the-clock volume measurement without additional labour requirements.

Volume measurement with precision

The system utilises positive-displacement as it core technology. A known volume of fluid is transferred from a temperature compensated, calibrated cylinder into the test container. At the same time, the fill level is dynamically monitored as the container is filled to overflow.

The positive-displacement method offers a number of advantages over traditional laboratory methods. Most significant is the accuracy and speed. This filling technique, in tandem with a high precision fill height sensor, makes it possible to deliver defined volume and fill measurements at any point within the process, to an accuracy of + 0.5ml. Measurements can be performed at a rate of up to 120 bottles/h (350ml bottle).

Other advantages include little or no effect on measurement precision due to water quality, container shape or rate of fill, regardless of the size and volume of the container. Furthermore, the volume measurement system on the SPT2-Volume is self-contained, requires no delicate scales and is not affected by water density, flow rate, vibrations or issues that commonly plague other methods.

Since the SPT2-Volume can perform in-process job changes, it is possible to test bottles from different manufacturing lines, or hand feed a set of bottles as required, with testing protocols specific to that specific bottle type, without the need to stop and reconfigure the system, maximising testing efficiency.
This system can be configured as a standalone testing station, integrated into a sampling line in conjunction with a plant-wide process management system or combined with Agr’s OmniLab automated measurement system.

The SPT2-Volume is the latest generation in a long line of automated testing systems supplied by Agr for the glass container manufacturing industry. The company develops and manufactures a full line of laboratory and on-line testing/quality control devices for containers and similar products.

About the Author: 

David Dineff is Director of Marketing at Agr International

Further Information: 

Agr International Inc, Butler, PA, USA
tel: +1 724 482 2163

* The full version of this article appears in the November/December issue, alongside a series of exclusive interviews with industry figureheads, topical market reports and technology updates. Subscribe now to receive the full paper and digital versions (subscribers receive a free copy of the Who’s Who / Annual Review yearbook!).

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