At the end of May this year, XPAR Vision was invited by Professor Dr. Ing. Hessenkemper (Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg in Germany) to give a presentation at the 91st Glastechnische Tagung 2017. Mr. Paul Schreuders, CEO of XPAR Vision presented a paper, entitled “Container Glass Forming in 2020/2025: the Dark Factory”.Schreuders first gave a brief introduction to his company: XPAR Vision, that started in the year 2000 with hot end inspection and process monitoring. Since then, the company has grown into a technology leader in the fields of hot end sensors, automated closed loops and robot applications within the global container glass industry. From this background, Schreuders commented on the characteristics of container glass forming and production today.
Schreuders: “Due to unpredictable changes in cullet quality, viscosity, temperature, homogeneity, ambient temperature, deterioration and wear of material, the glass forming process itself is not stable and the outcome is often unpredictable. As of today the average efficiency is too low (average 85%), bottles are too thick and too heavy (average 40%) and we rely too much on the experience of operators and specialists. As a result, we even introduce more variations, for instance by swabbing (every operator swabs differently).”
“Knowing the IS machines have become bigger and bigger (up until 48 cavities), it is simply impossible for any operator to control the process up to a higher level than we do today. Unless we start doing something completely different, we will not come any further than today’s efficiency and weight values. And that is not helping us to improve our competitiveness with other packaging materials, nor is it helpful to give our industry a ‘greener’ image.”
Central theme in XPAR Vision’s presentation is the absolute need for automation (and thus sensors) within the container glass forming process. Various examples prove that sensors and automation can lead to huge improvements, in stability and predictability and thus in both in efficiency and drastic weight reduction.
Schreuders: “As an industry we can do 20-30% better than today. We should welcome automation as the answer to many of our questions and problems in the container glass forming today.” In his final conclusion Schreuders stipulated that many sensors and closed loops, even swabbing robots, are available today to the glass makers. Applying these new technologies will ensure a step-by-step change within the industry, he said and after that he invited the audience to develop their own vision about this strategic topic. Prof. Hessenkemper agreed on Schreuder’s plea. “I think Schreuders’ presentation focused exactly on the main topics of glass forming in the next years!”, he concluded.

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