Agr International, Inc. expands OmniLab® automated laboratory system

Documentation of glass thickness distribution on laboratory samples is an integral part of glass container process management and quality assurance programs.

Acquiring and documenting comprehensive distribution measurements with laboratory accuracy can be a challenging if not tedious process.

Agr International has met this challenge by incorporating an all new thickness measurement station within the Agr OmniLab® automated sampling system.  Labeled the “Thickness 360™ gauge,” it performs thickness measurement at the same time that other critical measurements are performed on a sampling set-out. With this new option, measurements including thickness, weight, dimensional measurement, pushup, ID/bore and pressure (for pressure ware) are performed by a single system, with results automatically recorded in a single report with mold correlation.

According to Robert Cowden, Agr’s Chief Operating Officer, “The Thickness 360 measurement gauge offers glass bottle producers a new level of thickness measurement capability for the testing laboratory or near-the-line applications that, until now, was not possible with conventional means. In addition to high accuracy thickness measurement, every bottle is handled and measured exactly the same way. This ensures that every bottle is measured in exactly the same locations, greatly improving measurement consistency, repeatability and accuracy.”

The Thickness 360 gauge incorporates non-contact vision-guided confocal technology with 3-axis sensor positioning for thickness measurement. This unique design utilizes the visual scan data gathered by the Omnilab’s Dimensional Sampling Gauge (DSG) imaging and measurement station to map and direct the thickness sensor to the article, ensuring optimal sensor positioning.  With this approach, the bottle orientation and shape is fully understood making it possible to achieve optimal accuracy, even on curves, corners and difficult-to-measure regions such as tapered sidewall and label panels.

In addition to traditional round ware, the design of the Thickness 360 gauge is particularly suited for non-rounds such as flasks, liquors, square and rectangular bottles as well as special-use containers.  Of particular significance is the ability of this system to handle difficult-to-measure regions of a bottle such as steep inclined shoulders and corner regions on rectangular containers. This technology can measure thickness in these critical areas without any degradation of measurement accuracy.

Data from the Thickness 360 gauge is presented in graphic and numerical formats.  During the measurement cycle, thickness data is displayed in linear and cross sectional plots.  These plots give operators a visual representation of the material distribution that is easily understood. In addition to the graphic display, numerical data is documented for each bottle. Thickness data is automatically captured and mold-correlated with all other critical measurements performed.

The Thickness 360 gauge is available as an option on all new OmniLab and Dimensional Sampling Gauge products shipping in 2013 from Agr. A version will also available as a retrofit package for existing systems.

About the OmniLab system -- The OmniLab system is Agr’s automated sampling, measurement and testing station for use on the glass production line, or as a stand-alone system.  It incorporates two powerful Agr sampling devices, the Dimensional Sampling Gauge and the Sampling Pressure Tester, into one totally integrated testing station that is designed to work unattended to perform a host of quality management functions. Since its introduction a few years ago, a number of innovative glass container manufacturers have implemented the DSG or OmniLab in their operations including Verallia, Amcor, Owens-Illinois, Vetropack, Sisecam, AB Imbev, Parkcam, Inbev and Anchor, to name a few.

The Thickness 360 gauge and OmniLab system are part of Agr’s broad line of laboratory testing and quality control devices for the glass container and filling industry. Agr headquarters and main manufacturing facility is located in Butler, PA, USA.

600450 Agr International, Inc. expands OmniLab® automated laboratory system
Date: 18 October 2012

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