Inspection Insights Blog

How a Leak Inspection Solution Integrates with Your Blow Molding Equipment and Process

January 28, 2021

Learn about the importance of having the right leak inspection system integration and how it saves you money.

 

Empty plastic bottles

If you oversee a production line that produces containers, you are focused on producing as many usable containers as possible, while minimizing your scrap production. Each unfit container that is produced eats into your valuable margin.

How Errors Sneak Into Your Production Process

We know that it is an exhaustive effort to prepare a production line to manufacture a new container. From laying out the new line to determining which equipment will perform best based on the bottle specifications to ramping up your production with as few errors as possible.

If you can accomplish all of that without error, you are in great shape.

But we have found that there are several barriers that arise to prevent you from achieving your goal: produce usable containers while minimizing scrap production.

Production Delays

  • For manufacturers of all types, unpredictable and unresolved maintenance issues lead to excessive down-time. If the post-sale support for your equipment is not quick to respond, your downtime will grow.
  • Production line jams can also create excessive scrap production, as well as downtime.
  • For firms that do manufacture different kinds of containers, slow changeovers and inflexible equipment also create delays in your process, not to mention the additional personnel costs and risk of changeover accuracy.
    • “Human error causes 23% of unplanned downtime in manufacturing. That’s 2.5x higher than in other sectors.” (source)

False rejects and false positives

  • Assuming your production line functions properly and is supported appropriately, your next barrier has to do with quality issues. These can be devastating to a client relationship, so proper protection is a critical part of your production process.
  • At the same time, if leak inspection equipment is improperly configured, you could be rejecting good containers.

Lost revenue

All of the above issue ultimately eat into your profit margins and result in lost revenue.

What Causes Errors in Your Production Process?

When errors arise, this may indicate a glitch in the quality assurance process.

While having leak inspection equipment in your production process is a great starting point to preventing manufacturing errors, there are several components that factor into your overall production success.

Improper equipment selection and configuration to fit your process

Configuring your inspection equipment to your manufacturing equipment and process is the first critical step you can take. Certain equipment works better together. If this is not considered, your process could be offline before it ever starts.

Just take it from our Business Development Manager, Dan Caverly:

“If you are producing bottles on a 2-step machine – my mind shifts directly to our rotary platform and our available value-add options, like additional gate inspection sensitivity, being these are fast, high-output PET machines. If a converter says they are manufacturing via extrusion – I know that speeds will be much slower, but they probably run several HDPE bottles and would value flexibility and a different set of options, like inclusion inspection, vs the company or application using a 2-step PET blow molding process. Having multiple leak detection platforms and options allows us to recommend the correct leak detector for the not only the bottle application(s) at hand, but also the big picture around the blow molding platform/machine anchoring the line.”

 

Quality assessments are not properly quantified – no expectation standard set with your clients

Testing sensitivity is an often-overlooked capability of inspection equipment. For instance, many testers cannot accurately detect a hole size smaller than a paper clip’s diameter. This is often due to their testing air pressure requirements which, if too strong, can distort the results because it may distort the shape of the bottle. The lower the pressure required for each container test, the more accurate the test can be.

Service and support are unavailable or slow to respond, amplifying your downtime

Even the greatest inspection equipment is useless if it is not operational. When equipment runs into issues, how quickly and easily can such issues be resolved? The post-sale support is just as critical as the equipment itself when considering tester options.

Differentiate Your Organization as a Manufacturer

Many assume that leak inspection equipment is capital that provides no measurable return on investment.

The truth is that the right leak inspection strategy can increase your margin by producing less scrap and keep your operation online as much as possible. This ultimately differentiates you as a manufacturer and empowers you to win and retain more business.

Ask yourself the following three questions. If you cannot answer YES to all of them, ALPS Inspection can help.

  1. Are we able to guarantee a qualitative accuracy level with our brand clients, and deliver on that promise with confidence?
  2. Is our inspection equipment supplier available 24/7 and partnering with us to ensure our process stay online as much as possible?
  3. Do we understand all the available equipment and available value-added options in the marketplace to optimize our production facilities for today’s container designs?

ALPS Inspection implements solutions that consider your entire production process, not just your equipment needs:

  • Ensure equipment and options integrate with your current equipment seamlessly
  • Industry leading quality assurance with quantifiable results you can guarantee to your clients
  • Industry leading 24/7 service and support to diagnose and resolve issues immediately

Everything you need and nothing you do not.

Contact our team today to set up an equipment audit of an existing production line or free consultation for an upcoming one.