New Print Inspection System for Folder-Gluers

As seen in Folding Carton Industry magazine July/August 2019

American International Machinery, Inc. (AIM) and EyeC-America have partnered to develop the SIG-CHECK Print Inspection System. The collaboration assures the high level of inspection often required for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, toiletry and branded consumer cartons. Designed for most make and model of folder-gluer, the system inspects for all relevant defects anywhere on the carton. “Several years ago, our customers approached us in need of a solution for 100% carton inspection to eliminate defective product prior to being shipped out to their customers,” says Kevin Koplin, Managing Director of AIM. “We researched companies that could supply an inspection system that would meet our demands and those of our customers. EyeC is a leader in the inspection industry and the capabilities they could provide not only met our demands, but exceeded them. We formed a partnership to supply an inspection system for our Signature brand of folder-gluers. With the roll-up unit, we are able to offer our product to customers running other models of folder-gluers so they can expand their service offering as well.”

100 Percent Compliance

The SIG-CHECK reads 100 percent of every carton as it passes through the ProofRunner camera, comparing “With its intuitive interface, the EyeC system is designed to be extremely easy to use for the operator, starting inspection from the very first carton," Mauro Consalvi, Sales Director, EyeC-America, says. By performing an initial comparison against a signed-off proof (typically a PDF file), operators enjoy a safe and fast job setup. “For example, the PDF file can be automatically loaded into the EyeC system simply by scanning the barcode that is printed on the carton. This eliminates any chance of error in loading the wrong, or out of date file. Alternatively, the job information file could be selected by the operator from the scheduling folder of the plant network."

Consalvi says the PDF can include information layers to set up the inspection area as well as high and low priority regions automatically – automatic cropping to the die lines, automatically masking of printing which is outside the diecut pattern or on the flaps, areas here color checking is critical or other priority areas. If no PDF file is available, the operator can create a “master image” by sampling a few cartons at the start of the run and then manually confirming they are correct. However, Consalvi points out  that this is the least preferred method because there is the chance of operator error.

Easy Integration

The inspection system can be paired with a carton converter’s existing folder-gluer or as an in-line module that is installed directly on a Signature folder-gluer. The flexible design can be “rolled up” to most folder-gluers and is positioned directly in front of the machine. The vacuum belt is located directly over the feed belts. The cartons are fed into the SIG-CHECK  and pass through the camera system while being held in position by the overhead vacuum belt. They are then dropped back onto the feed belts of the gluer to complete the folding and gluing process. An encoder is mounted onto the feed belts of the folder-gluer to maintain and match the speed of the machine. A cable connected from the SIG-CHECK to the ejection device will send a signal, which initiates the removal of any defective product. The in-line module is mounted directly into the framework of the Signature folder-gluer either directly after the feed or after the carton aligner, depending on how the machine is equipped. The cartons are inspected with the in-line system in the same manner as the roll-up unit.

The roll-up module length is 2,400mm (94.49-inch). Available options include color monitoring, 1D or 2D code reading. The inspection width varies from 420mm (16.53-inch) with a resolution of 244 dpi to 660mm (25.98-inch) with a resolution of 158 dpi. The smallest detectable defect is 0.21mm (0.008-inch) at 420mm width to 0.31mm (0.013-inch) at 660mm widths. “With the development of the SIG-CHECK, we are able to offer in-line inspection on our Signature folder-gluers and a roll-up inspection unit that can be placed in front of most folder-gluers in the market today,” Koplin says. “The ability to easily add an elevated level of quality control to existing equipment will help businesses gain new customers who require stricter quality standards.”

High Interest

The SIG-CHECK was demonstrated on a Signature Compact 70 folder gluer at the IADD Odyssey Expo in May in Atlanta, Georgia. “There was a lot of interest generated at Odyssey Expo,” Koplin says. “Because of the incredible advances in scanners to run at high speeds and the price reductions that have come with them, more customers are investing in print inspection  units.” Bernie Czerwinski, Salesman for AIM and a 40-year packaging industry professional states, “The demand for high-quality cartons is growing. We responded to this demand by designing the SIG-CHECK to offer the market a faster and more accurate scanning device. Because of its versatility and affordability, more packaging printers are able to offer this service to their customers.”

Juergen Klicker, President of EyeC-America, adds, “EyeC is pleased to have AIM / Signature as an OEM partner. This allows us to offer our 100 percent print inspection system on Signature folder-gluers, and this lets each partner focus on their core strength to bring  added benefit to carton producers. It is always best to catch any defective or damaged cartons before shipment to the customer. This increases profits and ensures happy and satisfied customers. AIM and EyeC will be working closely together to provide seamless service and support to our customers."

Based in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, AIM is a second generation, family owned business that provides a comprehensive line of products and support services for the carton and corrugated converting industries including new,  remanufactured, and used equipment. AIM is the exclusive supplier in North America and Mexico for the Signature brand of converting equipment.

“We are very pleased to partner with EyeC-America, a highly respected supplier of quality inspection equipment that demonstrates a philosophy of total customer satisfaction that mirrors our  own,” Koplin says. “The versatile roll-up SIG-CHECK will save customers the cost of having to purchase a new folder-gluer with its ability to roll up to most existing folder gluers.”

The system is available globally. Sales will be provided by Signature folder-gluer distributors, such as AIM for North America and Mexico. Service will be performed by either AIM or EyeC depending on the service required. AIM / Signature and EyeC are supported worldwide. All machines can be remotely serviced by technicians based around the world.

EyeC offers semiannual preventative maintenance visits for cleaning and inspection and continuing education and training to minimize downtime and enhance productivity.

“Many EyeC customers are in the pharmaceutical industry where final inspection is critical,” Consalvi says. “We are committed to fast and reliable customer support because many of our customers cannot run their printing or converting lines without a functioning inspection system.”