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Tethered caps in the beverage sector: new inspection solutions for effective in-line quality controls
Tethered caps in the beverage sector: new inspection solutions for effective in-line quality controls

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Date

09 mars 2021

Tethered caps in the beverage sector: new inspection solutions for effective in-line quality controls

With Emanuele Melloni, Business Developer Manager of FT System, we discover the new requirements, that will be implemented as of July 2024

On June 5, 2019, the Directive 2019/904 (with entry into force on July 2, 2019) was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, with the aim of reducing the impact of certain single-use plastic products on the environment and aid the transition towards a circular economy with innovative business models, products, and materials.


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The Directive specifically concerns single-use plastic products that most commonly pollute Europe’s beaches, seas and fishing equipment containing plastic. The measures include product design, also for the beverage sector. The new requirements, which will have to be effective from July 2024, establish that the caps remain attached to the containers once they have been opened, to avoid the dispersion of plastic into the environment and to favour its recycling together with the bottles.

New inspection solutions for effective in-line quality controls

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF DIRECTIVE 2019/904?

Interview with Emanuele Melloni.

Since the introduction of the regulation, FT System has evaluated the implications that this new type of cap could have on water and beverage companies in terms of quality control.


We spoke about it with Emanuele Melloni, BDM beverage of FT System.

 

This European Directive entails new challenges for beverage companies in terms of the inspection and control of tethered caps that need to be attached to the bottles. Does FT system already have solutions ready for the market?

Yes, we have tethered cap inspection solutions ready for both existing and new lines. When the directive came out in 2019, we immediately started assessing the possible consequences of introducing caps of this type on the bottling line, to offer effective and efficient solutions to the market. Thanks to our well-established presence in the European market, we have had the opportunity to test some prototypes of caps using our systems, with satisfactory results. We efficiently controlled all the cap parameters (position, height, seal, etc.), making only few, minor changes to our inline systems, thereby reducing the impact on them. FT System has the necessary experience to inspect the various tethered caps on the market, even with complex shapes.

 

There are various types of tethered caps. What are the features that could require greater attention in the inspection stage? What changes do companies have to make in the bottling process?

We can classify tethered caps, used for both carbonated and flat beverages, into 2 macro-families:

  • Screw caps;
  • Press-on caps.

We are beginning to see examples of both types on the market, each with its own characteristics and peculiarities. FT System has solutions suitable for both and the flexibility of our systems allows us to adapt our controls to the needs of the various types of closures. As far as the bottling process is concerned, the introduction of tethered caps will imply for bottlers the need to analyze the impact of these caps not only on the inspection systems, but also on the rest of the line, first of all on the caps application system. One of the plus of the FT System solutions is also the possibility to control not only the quality but also the upstream process, for example to monitor the individual filling valves and the individual capping heads, correlating the product waste to the capping head and allowing the manufacturer to perform preventive maintenance with optimization of the efficiency of the capping system. Furthermore, it will be possible to continue performing quality control on PET cap-preform coupling and torque measurement through the insertion of ROBO-QCS on the line, able to automatically perform multiple quality controls on board the line, simultaneously picking up and depositing the bottle directly on the belt at the line speed. 

 

What strategies has FT System adopted to be prepared on the market following this new requirement for bottling companies?

Collaborating with the major cap manufacturers has been and still is crucial because we are able to know in advance the evolution of the caps that will be proposed to the market. This allows us to study the features and check whether our inspection systems are already capable or if they need to be adapted. Working closely with bottlers and beverage producers allows us to tailor our inspection systems to their needs on the production line, thus always providing effective control. We understand some type of tethered caps could require dedicated solutions. FT System is ready to meet these needs as well, through the flexibility and capacity to perform dedicated studies that have always set us apart.

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