Tooheys Brewery

Simple vision system achieves 100% fault detection rate on high-speed bottle crowning line.


Integrating a user-friendly vision system into a multiple-product bottle crowning line provides a simple solution to fault detecting for leading Australian brewery.


Tooheys currently produces more than 300 million litres of beer annually from its Lidcombe-based brewery in Sydney’s west. Any company operating in a production critical industry on this scale knows just how damaging undetected product defects can be to business and understands the true value of an effective product defect inspection system. At Tooheys, two product lines running multiple bottled products are required to make frequent product changes – often in the course of a 24-hour period. With each product change requiring a change in bottle crown or cap incorrect bottle crowning can occur. Add to this a line speed running at 1200 bottles per minute and it is easy to see why a fast and reliable defect inspection solution was necessary to satisfy Tooheys’ stringent quality controls.


A high-tech solution for high-speed production


Machinery Automation & Robotics’ (MAR) approach to the bottle crowning inspection project at Tooheys was simple. Use advanced technology to create a user-friendly solution. The result is the Cognex Insight 5400 vision system and complementary lighting system selected for its speed and interface ability, its capacity to detect defects in any 360-degree orientation and its robust design – the system undergoes regular wash downs. And the ability to make changes to the threshold determining acceptance of variable product qualities – detecting scratches, water blobs, misprints or print faults, for example – means that the defective product rejection accuracy rate of the Cognex Insight vision system is extremely high.


The vision system at work


Two Cognex Insight 5400 inspection systems are installed on Tooheys’ AB2 bottling lines, each inspecting for correct crown placement on the product selected. Product selection itself is achieved simply via a touch screen/HMI. The camera is mounted on an adjustable post, specifically designed to allow for bottle height variations. Upon product selection the camera is simply would up or down to maintain a camera focal length of 125mm from the top of the bottle crown. Along with the camera itself, the mounting bracket houses a DOAL lighting system, used to emit a red light on to the crowns. The red-cut lens cover filters out ambient light, resulting in a highly accurate image being captured by the camera.


All controls for the camera systems are wired back to the line’s main electrical panel. Within the panel lies the power supply for the DOAL lighting system and the Insight camera. The panel also houses the I/O module. This module interfaces with the camera and the PLC, allowing product changes to be loaded into the camera and output changes to be relayed to the reject mechanism. Consequently, if an incorrect crown is detected the bottle is rejected further down the line via a delayed signal sent from the PLC.

For ease, the cameras can be monitored via an Ethernet connection back to a local PC. Programme changes can also be made at this point with the Cognex Insight Explorer software, making new product changes very simple.


Working together for independence

By adopting a strong teamwork approach to this project MAR has designed and engineered a vision system solution employing user-friendly software, which Tooheys are able to fully operate independently. Acting in an advisory capacity MAR provided assistance with the initial integration process enabling Tooheys’ staff to undertake the vision system installation autonomously. Comprehensive training provided to Tooheys’ staff by MAR on software installation, programming and modifications, bottle crown changeover processes, and basic operational procedures for the Cognex Insight vision system package has allowed Tooheys to undertake subsequent unit installations and programming.


Adding up the benefits


Addressing the issue of defect production detection on high speed, multiple product lines with a simple yet effective integrated vision system solution has provided Tooheys with many benefits including:


• An integrated vision system including electrical and mechanical design, software and functional design, vision I/O interface to PLC, installation, modification and on-line commissioning

• A user-friendly vision system solution and comprehensive training package enabling independent installation, programming and operation by the client

• An effective partnership of world-leading Cognex vision technology and MAR’s extensive vision system integration experience

• Expertise in lens, lighting and camera selections

• A robust and reliable vision system designed for high-speed lines