Sencon highlights advantages of line fed automatic enamel rater checks

Coating problems in two-piece can making can have major implications on the efficiency and cost effectiveness of a can making plant. It is not uncommon for plants to hold multiple pallets of finished beverage cans due to issues spotted during quality control production checks. With increases in raw material, energy and personnel costs permeating throughout the post pandemic world economy, reducing these inefficiencies has definitely moved higher up the agenda, says industrial equipment specialist Sencon. Decreasing the number of pallets that are required to be ‘Held for Inspection’ (HFI) is a key cost reduction action for can making plants the world over.

There are many potential causes of metal exposure during the DWI process. These include poor gun coverage, gun mis-fires or low or non-spinning cans at the laquer spray machines (LSM), washer contamination which prevents lacquer adhesion, or even scratches caused within the necking process. Wherever the problem originates, Sencon believes it is imperative that any cans with high milliamp (mA) readings are identified quickly so that corrective actions can be taken. Failure to do so will cause a backlog of cans that either need scrapping or re-spraying and although it may be economically viable to re-spray (in comparison to scrapping) this does create considerable disruption and extra work. Should quality control fail to pick up these cans, the consequences could be substantial and costly.

Having manual enamel rating gauges after the IBO (LSM checks) and Necker (finished can checks) will identify any potential coating problems. However, Sencon believes that purely relying on manual enamel raters is susceptible to operator fallibility – operators can influence the results obtained from enamel rating tests. They can also become side-tracked by other tasks on the line, causing gaps in the checking process and delays in the inputting of test results into the plants Statistical Process Control (SPC) system. A failure to also check test variables adequately, like electrolyte age and strength can also impact the reliability of the results. Whereas an Automatic Enamel Rater provides repeatability and reliability, with checks done continuously and consistently. Results are sent directly to the plant SPC system, enabling any high metal exposure issues to be caught early allowing corrective actions to be taken.

Tim Yeates, Far East sales manager for Sencon, commented: “Customer feedback has shown proven benefits in installing Automatic Enamel Raters to the process, in fact one of our customers in South East Asia has recently installed a line-fed Sencon Master Series Enamel Rater which automatically tests cans from two production lines from the mass conveyors after the Necker. The system is set to automatically sample around eight random cans every 10 minutes with results being relayed in real-time. This continuous, consistent and fast checking has seen their metal exposure HFI rates reduce to around two pallets from their previous 10 that were being held for re-spray or scrappage.”

The Sencon Master Series fully automatic Enamel Rater (Porosity tester) is a modular multi-lane capable and flexible system that offers a feature rich environment which integrates fully with other gauges from Sencon’s Master Series range.

As an alternative to the feature-rich Master Series, Sencon also offers the simplified and compact PG5600 which offers many of the advantages of Sencon’s Master Series enamel rater, but in a much smaller footprint and at an attractive price point, according to the company. Both gauges are able to consistently measure metal exposure on modern, high-speed lines allowing early intervention and rapid adjustment should a problem arise. Electrolyte concentration, fill level, and many other variables are continuously monitored, so users can be confident that the same reliable test quality is maintained day and night. With this test consistency any trends or problems are identified quickly, allowing corrective action to be taken before excessive HFIs or scrap are generated.

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