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Inspection Insights Blog

9 Strategies To Ensure Your Leak Testing System Is Improving Manufacturing Line Productivity

March 27, 2023

139_DSC0850_221116_ALPSLooking to increase the productivity of your plastic container manufacturing line this year? For leak inspection equipment, strategies, and support, look to ALPS Inspection.

Incorporating leak inspection equipment into your plastic container manufacturing line is an excellent step toward reducing scrap and increasing quality assurance. But what is the connection between leak inspection and manufacturing line productivity?

Choosing the right leak detector can deliver accuracy and flexibility without impacting your line’s efficiency. Learning how to maintain and fine-tune your leak inspection machine for your specific container needs can help you realize the most benefit from your machine.

Below, we highlight 9 strategies to ensure your leak inspection equipment is always running at optimal performance and helping to improve your manufacturing line productivity. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Challenge Your Machine

You rely on your leak detector to detect leaks. How can you be sure it’s performing properly and detecting your specified hole size? Challenge it!

Running a faulty container through your line to see if your leak detector kicks it out is a great way to determine whether or not your detector is doing its job. If it doesn’t detect the faulty bottle, it’s time to perform an audit and find out why.

Did you know that every machine and every station includes a self-test feature? Activate this feature via your HMI (touchscreen interface) to ensure your ALPS machine is working as it should. Self-test is the tried-and-true way to validate your machine. Learn more about our leak testing equipment here!

2. Listen to What Your Leak Detector is Telling You

Leak inspection can find defects in containers before they continue through your warehouse or, worse, get into the hands of your customers. The last thing you want is a phone call from an unhappy customer or end user.

Imagine a problem with your blow molders is causing faulty containers. If you perform random tests and see a series of rejected containers, you will need to scrap the entire run to ensure nothing faulty gets through. This can be avoided by paying attention to the defective bottles your leak testing equipment scraps early on the production line. Taking this proactive approach will help you identify and solve any issues before your warehouse is full of containers that need to be scrapped.

When integrated into line with your blow molder, ALPS Inspection systems will test every container that comes off your line, enabling you to differentiate good containers from bad, so you don’t need to scrap the entire lot. Positioning your leak detector along your line can also help pinpoint where problems may occur, reducing troubleshooting time so you can fix any issues and get back online faster.

3. Stay on Top of Routine Maintenance and Audits

An ounce of prevention can save you a ton of trouble. Stay on top of regular maintenance and perform audits to avoid costly downtime.

Audits ensure your leak inspection equipment only passes good containers. Having a plan in place for component and machine obsolescence is also key to avoiding downtime. If you need a replacement part, especially one that requires programming, ALPS provides a spare parts inventory and guarantees any needed part will be promptly delivered.

A great piece of advice is to keep a spare parts kit in stock at your facility. This will give you peace of mind knowing operational downtime will be reduced when the time comes and you need a spare part. It also ensures no bad-quality containers would continue along the supply chain on a machine needing components or services.

Help your team become on-site experts capable of properly operating and maintaining your ALPS leak testing equipment with our ALPS Peak Service Training® certification!

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4. Look for Ways to Reduce Changeover Time

All ALPS machines have recipe management with a guided setup feature built into the HMI. Once loaded, your recipes will already have all the relevant test settings, including timers, pass/fail thresholds, machine speed settings, and more.

ALPS Inspection rotary systems can make changeovers even easier by automating steps with electronic regulators to save set points in the recipe. What’s more, some ALPS Inspection systems have automated height, rail position, and spacing wheel position options or electronic regulators. When it’s time to shift your line, simply load the recipe and the ALPS Inspection leak detector sets these adjustments automatically.

Physical adjustments can be quickly performed when scales and pointers or counters on crank adjustments are installed on the machine. Posting quick-reference guides, choosing inspection equipment with toolless components, or referencing timing screws with the counter or scale setting engraved can also make changeover easier.

5. Look Both Ways Before You Speed Up

Speeding up your line might seem like a simple way to increase your productivity. Although, if you aren’t careful when increasing your line speed, you may end up increasing your scrap rate, wear on components and downtime.

With ALPS Inspection, you don’t have to give up quality to gain speed. Our experts understand how to fine-tune the variables of potential defects, testing time, fill pressure, and handling requirements to optimize productivity without sacrificing quality.

Our team will work with you to understand your operations and goals and help you achieve the right balance of speed and accuracy. If you’re thinking of making a change to your production line, we can run feasibility tests and recommend the best leak testing solution for your operation so you’re set up for success.

Contact us today to learn more about our feasibility testing options, including how it can help determine the best detectable hole size for their application. It’s as easy as picking up the phone and sending us your container samples!

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6. Sharpen Your Competitive Edge

Integrating leak detection equipment into your production line can help you win and retain customers and give you a competitive edge in today’s market.

ALPS Inspection machines offer a variety of capabilities to help increase the flexibility of your line, allowing you to produce and test a range of container shapes and sizes. From lightweighting a bottle to modifying the design, we can focus on what’s possible and ensure your leak inspection equipment is ready to test any number of container types.

With the powerful technology in our leak inspection equipment and the invaluable expertise of our team, ALPS Inspection can not only help you achieve line flexibility but also help you overcome challenges in today’s market, including:

  • Challenge: Labor shortages and turnover that may lead to altered or incorrect machine settings. Solution: Regular maintenance, audits, and training certification for existing and new employees.
  • Challenge: High replacement part costs. Solution: Stock a spare parts kit, or reach out to our team to get a needed part in our spare parts inventory.
  • Challenge: Current leak testing machine approaching obsolescence. Solution: Take advantage of our customized single- or multi-plant upgrade plan.

7. Share the Wealth of Information

Are updated copies of your machine manuals on hand and easy to access? Is your team fully trained to properly operate and maintain your leak inspection equipment? Do you have new employees?

Not only can the ALPS Service Team help keep you online through on-site and remote service support, but we also developed an immersive training program where we travel to your facility. The ALPS Peak Service Training empowers your employees with the experience, knowledge, and confidence they need to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot your ALPS Inspection machine. This comprehensive certification program helps reduce downtime, maximize productivity, and ensures your leak inspection system is always running at peak performance no matter the shift, giving you the best return on your investment.

8. Stay Curious

Are there things you can do to improve your changeover time? Can you increase your line flexibility with custom recipes? What’s happening in the world of container manufacture and testing?

Answering these questions and implementing small improvements in your processes can significantly impact the productivity of your plastic operations. The ALPS Inspection Insights blog is a great resource for news, information, and tips to keep you in the know and help you grow your knowledge and your business.

9. Stay Connected

When it comes to manufacturing line productivity, there’s nothing worse than not getting equipment support and maintenance when you need it. At ALPS Inspection, we are your most valuable partner in ensuring product quality through complete customer support.

Learn more about the services and support you can expect from ALPS Inspection here!

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We are proud to be an industry leader in leak detection equipment, helping set you and your manufacturing line up for success. Our purpose is to protect your package integrity by providing both the equipment and service you need quickly and reliably.

We take the time to understand your production environment needs and goals in order to design, install, and maintain a leak detection solution that protects your customers and adds value to your manufacturing line operations.

Have more questions on how you can ensure your leak testing system is improving the productivity of your plastic container manufacturing line? Reach out to ALPS Inspection today to make the connection between leak detection solutions and increased productivity!

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