Agr International offers a number of products that are designed to aid bottle manufacturers achieve their most aggressive light weighting goals while maintaining the highest quality. Agr products are designed to assist container producers, converters and fillers stay competitive while meeting the increased quality demands of today’s changing world. Agr will display their latest developments in this line of products as well as an array of quality management and process control equipment for plastic containers at K 2016, Stand 11B40. Products featured at this year’s event will include the following:
Process Pilot® — The Process Pilot® automated blowmolder management system is designed to help PET bottle manufacturers measure, control and optimize their bottle blowing process in order to produce the highest quality, best performing bottles possible while maximizing production efficiency. The Process Pilot system interfaces with the blowmolder to provide precise material thickness distribution on a per bottle basis while managing the blowmolder to eliminate the effect of process and environmental variables that impact bottle material distribution throughout the production cycle. With the trend towards ever lighter bottles, the Process Pilot system is the ultimate light-weighting tool. This system offers bottle producers the ability to aggressively light weight bottles to the absolute minimum, while providing the confidence that material is distributed appropriately. The Process Pilot system makes it possible to produce consistent high-quality bottles on a 24/7 basis regardless of operator skills, environmental changes and preform variations. The Process Pilot system has proven to help bottle producers optimize their bottle production process and realize the full savings potential of their light weighting projects as a result of reduced material and energy consumption, higher overall quality and significantly improved production efficiencies.
CrystalView™ — The latest enhancement to the Process Pilot product line is the CrystalView material optimization system. The CrystalView system provides PET bottle manufacturers with the means for automatic management of material orientation/crystallinity. The CrystalView system works in conjunction with the Agr Process Pilot blowmolder management system to simultaneously manage material distribution and optimize material orientation. By doing so, material orientation is optimized over the entire bottle, making it possible to produce the best possible bottles at the coldest practical processing temperature.
Automated Laboratory Test Cell — Agr International will unveil its Automated Laboratory Test Cell for plastic bottles and preforms. The Laboratory Test Cell provides an automated solution that tightly integrates multiple testing operations, including thickness, dimensional, topload, volume and pressure, with a precision pick and place industrial robot. Selection, handling and transfer of samples through the multiple test stations is fully optimized and performed quickly and efficiently by the multi-axis robot. Test results from each testing station are compiled with data correlated by sample and consolidated in a single test report. The laboratory test cell offers a solution to meeting the challenges of over-worked testing labs and the ever increasing demand for sampling and testing to manage quality and support ongoing production. In addition to organizing and consolidating critical testing operations in one compact area, the system offers a number of benefits including hands-free, walk-away operation, efficient management of samples, testing operations and documentation of results, and, most significantly, an improvement in testing throughput of as much as 300%.
Agr staff members will be available to discuss these products and the rest of their complete line of process monitoring and quality control equipment for the plastic container industry. As an industry leader for over 85 years, Agr is committed to provide the plastic container industry with the most technologically advanced products available for quality control and productivity improvement.
American Glass Research (AGR), in partnership with Molson Coors, has unveiled an innovative new beer bottle design for one of the brewing company’s popular brands in India, Thunderbolt. Featuring unique embossing and debossing, a fresh new color, and a ring-pull cap, the new bottle is designed to help Molson Coors distinguish Thunderbolt from other beers in the market.
Thunderbolt, described as “India’s original strong beer,” had previously been packaged in a 650ml amber bottle, a common bottle type in India’s returnable glass market. In an effort to have Thunderbolt’s packaging match its one-of-a-kind bold taste, Molson Coors turned to AGR to create a bottle that was proprietary, branded and uniquely recognizable in the marketplace, while remaining easy to produce.
“The collaboration with Molson Coors provided a unique challenge that we enthusiastically undertook,” said Bill Slusser, Manager of Research Services for AGR. “It is always gratifying when our customers provide such positive feedback regarding the introduction of a bottle design that is deemed a success both functionally and aesthetically.”
Produced in emerald green glass, the new Thunderbolt bottle features an instantly iconic debossed, shield-shaped label panel adorned with the familiar silver and blue paper label. The angular and aggressive shoulder construction displays an embossed lettering wrap that spells out the Thunderbolt brand name including a lightning emblem within the letter ‘O’. Two additional embossed lightning emblems bracket the back label panel, just above the lower sidewall pinch, which transitions into a prominent heel construction. A new ring-pull cap gives the bottle a modern and premium twist in both look and function.
“We have received rave reviews from both customers and consumers about the new Thunderbolt bottle, which we believe reinforces the brand’s identity of always staying original,” said Mr. Ashish Kapoor, President of Molson Coors in India. “Nobody can lay claim to our distinctively different, signature bottle, which in turn will bring greater savings and efficiencies to our business.”
The bottle was created by Dr. Wenke Hu and Brad Salitrik of AGR, using a concept design provided by Molson Coors. Harnessing their experience and knowledge of glass bottle design, Hu and Salitrik created an enhanced design incorporating the specific bottle features and characteristics specified by Molson Coors along with appropriate bottle thickness and glass distribution. Using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) techniques, the team was able to evaluate the bottle’s ability to acceptably withstand the expected loading conditions (internal pressure, impact and vertical load) and to verify that the bottle would perform as desired once it was manufactured.
About American Glass Research
American Glass Research is a full service independent, research and testing laboratory with expertise in testing, design analysis, consulting, training, inspection, product liability and auditing for the glass container industry. Initially established in 1927 as Preston Laboratories, American Glass Research is now a division of parent company AGR International, Incorporated, which supplies on-line and laboratory inspection equipment to the glass and plastics industries. With facilities in Butler, Pennsylvania and Maumee, Ohio, American Glass Research is recognized around the globe as a provider of essential services to both manufacturers and users of glass products. American Glass Research is staffed with engineers and technicians who understand and are responsive to the needs of customers. As a third-party laboratory, AGR is committed to developing strong partnerships with our clients and providing solution oriented services. For more information on American Glass Research visit the company’s website, www.americanglassresearch.com
About Molson Coors
Molson Coors Brewing Company is a leading international brewer delivering extraordinary brands that delight the world’s beer drinkers. It brews, markets and sells a portfolio of leading premium brands such as Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Carling, Staropramen and Blue Moon across The Americas, Europe and Asia. It operates in Canada through Molson Coors Canada; in the US through MillerCoors; across Europe through Molson Coors Europe; and outside these core markets through Molson Coors International. The company is the only alcohol producer currently recognized for world class sustainability performance through the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. It was listed on the World Index for the past four years and named global Beverage Sector Leader in 2012 and 2013. For more information on Molson Coors Brewing Company visit the company’s website, www.molsoncoors.com or www.ourbeerprint.com
April 30, 2016 officially marked the opening of a newly expanded sales, training and service facility in Montecchio, Italy. This grand opening event was attended by a number of Agr customers and a large representation of business associates from the region and other key players within the Italian packaging industry. In addition to these customers, management from Agr International’s USA corporate headquarters took part in this event.
Marco Palma, the director of Agr Europe S.R.L., hosted the ceremonies. The ceremonies featured an extensive tour of the facility and an overview of the new capabilities and services that will be provided at this location. Guests were also treated to an expansive offering of local Italian cuisine and refreshments.
According to Mr. Palma, “Increased business in the region, especially North Africa and the Middle East, required us to consider additional space to handle our operations. We decided that it was time to move to larger quarters in order to support our customers to the level they expect from Agr. Furthermore, the old facility was limiting our ability to grow our services. We now have that capability.”
The new sales and service facility is located in the Montecchio industrial estate, an industrial park strategically located 15 minutes from Parma, midway between Milan and Bologna in the heart of the Italian packaging industry. The 1100 sq/m facility includes 900 sq/m dedicated to service and support operations for Agr equipment and another 200 sq/m housing the sales offices, conference area and training center. This new facility offers a number of amenities that are designated for optimizing the sales and support of Agr products and services throughout southern Europe, the Middle East and Central and North Africa.
Some of the amenities of the Montecchio center include the latest high-speed internet and tele-communication equipment. These new capabilities to further enhance the ability of the service group to coordinate service work throughout the region as well as to remotely communicate with customer equipment for product upgrades, rapid diagnosis and problem resolution. The center also includes a demonstration show room that showcases Agr’s newest and most popular products, allowing customers to spend as much time as they would like with the equipment to fully understand how it works and what it will do for their operations. In addition, the center also includes dedicated facilities for component/small equipment repair, a section for refurbishment and re-manufacturing of legacy equipment, calibration and recertification, equipment training and an expanded parts warehouse.
According to Robert Cowden, Agr’s Chief Operating Officer, “AGR values its European customers. That said, Agr is increasing its European presence and support. The most recent investment is the opening of the new sales and service center located at Montechio, Italy. In addition to providing a regional center for our sales and service professionals, the site will serve as an equipment showroom, including Agr’s most recent product innovation, the Sampling Pressure Tester 2. The addition of the equipment will enable our European Team to conduct demonstrations and evaluations in a manner more convenient for our customers. This is part of our global initiative to move closer to customers in order to provide timely, competitive service and support.”
Services offered at the center include depot repairs and rebuild services for all Agr laboratory products, for both the glass and plastic container markets. This Montecchio center now has expanded capabilities to provide customers with the ability to have their equipment that is in need of more extensive repairs, shipped to the center where the work can be performed under factory conditions. In many cases, this can be more cost effective than an on-site service call. Plus, it takes advantage of the specialized equipment, parts availability and the thorough testing program that is only available at the depot level.
The new center, with its large conference room and training section is well suited for training programs of all types. Future programs include high-level training on Agr equipment as well as a new offering of American Glass Research training seminars. “Over the years, Agr Europe SRL has had numerous requests from customers in the region to hold the seminars in this area but we were limited by the space available in the former facility. The new site eliminates this problem,” cited Mr. Palma. “Further, this site is a convenient and easily accessible location for Agr customers in Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. We believe the availability of these seminars in Italy will be of great interest.”
The opening of the new expanded service center in Italy is one more segment of Agr’s program to provide accessible and responsive worldwide support for Agr testing and quality management equipment. This center compliments Agr’s other service centers located throughout the world.
Agr will feature its new Sampling Pressure Tester, the SPT2, which offers an enhanced level of testing capability for the glass bottle industry. The Agr SPT2 automated testing station is designed to provide critical pressure strength and volume performance data for glass containers, on a sampling basis, on the production floor. Integrated into the production line, it can automatically test and collect pressure and volume data on bottles selected for sampling, without operator intervention, on a 24/7 basis. Agr invites visitors to their stand for an in-depth discussion and demonstration of its SPT2 and other products such as the Dimensional Sampling Gauge (DSG) with Thickness 360 and to learn how their brands can be protected by incorporating Agr equipment in their quality management program.
Customer Equipment Training Sessions provide advanced insight into the operations, setup and maintenance of Agr testing and measurement systems. The sessions are held at Agr’s new state-of-the-art facility in Butler, PA, USA and are designed to cover the full range of system capabilities and benefits.
Plastic Equipment Training Sessions
- October 10-11 Pilot Profiler/Process Pilot
- October 12-13 PPT3000/M-Rule
Glass Equipment Training Sessions
- October 17-20 DSG/Thickness 360
- October 24-25 RPT2
- October 31-November 1 SPT
Contact Kathy Hines (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
The Agr SPT2 automated testing station is designed to provide critical pressure strength and volume performance data for glass containers, on a sampling basis, on the production floor. Integrated into the production line, it can automatically test and collect pressure and volume data on bottles selected for sampling, without operator intervention, on a 24/7 basis.
Agr International, Inc. has expanded its Service Center offerings with the recent opening of a service office in Bangkok, Thailand. The Bangkok service center is co-located with the Agr’s regional sales office, Agr Bangkok ltd.
The opening of this Service Center in the Pan Pacific region is one more segment of Agr’s program to provide accessible and responsive support for Agr testing and quality management equipment in use around the world. This center compliments Agr’s other service centers located throughout the world. Because of its central location, the Bangkok service center will provide expanded services for Agr products over the entire Asian region. Over the last few years, southern Asia has been one of the fastest growing packaging markets, as evident by the significant growth in Agr’s customer base within this area. Expansion of services in this region was a logical decision, given the growing customer and the importance of this market.
Services offered at the center include depot repairs and rebuild services for all Agr laboratory products for both the glass and plastic container markets. This new center is intended to provide customers with older equipment, in need of more extensive repairs, the ability to have their equipment serviced and thoroughly tested without the cost of on-site service calls.
Agr established the Bangkok sales office (Agr Bangkok Ltd.) to provide a regional center staffed by Agr personnel that was central to this market and could respond to customer needs in a timely and cost-effective fashion. “This office has been widely received by our customers in the region. With the great success of the Agr sales branch in Asia, it was a logical move to offer additional services such as depot repairs at the Agr Bangkok office. With this step we are able to offer fast as well as cost-effective repairs and avoid customs issues and time-delays previously experienced with the need to send the equipment overseas,” stated Martin Küstner, Managing Director of Agr Bangkok Ltd.
Immediately after opening the Service Center, even before the official notifications went out, the first machines were received from multiple customers and turned around in record time. The machines were returned to the customers fully performing to new machine specifications.
Technicians at the Bangkok service center are fully trained and certified on all Agr products. All Agr service technicians go through a rigorous and extensive training program at the Agr headquarters, in Butler, USA, plus extensive field training and must achieve certification on all current and legacy products. Agr technicians participate in a continuing program of training to keep them abreast of the latest industry standards and Agr product enhancements and developments.
Both the sales and service operations of Agr Bangkok Ltd. are managed by Mr. Martin Küstner, a 14 year veteran of the Agr organization. In addition to providing a high level of technical assistance, equipment support and product application information to Agr’s diverse customer base, Agr Bangkok also offers a series of American Glass Research sponsored seminars for the industry, including the popular fracture seminars and other training programs pertinent to the glass manufacturing and packaging industry.
Agr International will present their latest products for quality management and process control for the packaging industry at Expo Pack, booth 3814. Agr products are designed to help container producers, converters and fillers stay competitive while meeting the increased quality demands of today’s changing world. Featured will be:
The Process Pilot® automated blowmolder management system, a unique product that interfaces with the blowmolder to provide precise material thickness distribution management and defect detection for PET bottles while offering hands-off blowmolder management and control. With the trend towards ever lighter bottles, the Process Pilot is the ultimate light-weighting tool. This system offers bottle producers the ability to aggressively light weight bottles to the absolute minimum while providing the confidence that material is distributed appropriately. The Process Pilot system makes it possible to produce consistent high-quality bottles on a 24/7 basis regardless of operator skills, environmental changes and preform variations. Some of the benefits this product offers include: overall improved quality with reduced variation in top load and volume, production efficiencies that result from eliminating the need for section weights as well as reduced scrap and lower incidences of downtime in the blowing operation or filling line due to quality issues.
The CrystalView™ system, Agr’s newest product, is designed to help PET bottle manufacturers produce the best bottles possible by optimizing material orientation as part of the blowing process. The CrystalView system offers a simple, reliable and hands-free means to optimize material orientation while maintaining proper distribution. The CrystalView system not only can improve bottle performance, but in doing so, makes it possible for bottle manufacturers to reduce processing temperatures by as much as 6 deg. C, and as a result, significantly reduce energy consumption.
Agr staff members will be available to discuss this product and the rest of their complete line of process monitoring and quality control equipment for the plastic container industry. Additional information can be found on Agr’s website;www.agrintl.com. As an industry leader for over 85 years, Agr is committed to provide the plastic container industry with the most technologically advanced products available for quality control and productivity improvement.
This feature focuses on Agr’s role in advancing glass container quality over several decades and the continuation of involvement in this industry.
Click here to read the article titled”Advancing glass container quality”
This 2-part series details the challenges of optimizing the re-heat stretch blowmolding process – both the cold proces and the hot process.
Vision based measurement systems have greatly simplified the dimensional measurement of PET containers. However, non-round containers continue to offer a number of challenges when it comes to measuring body sidewall dimensions. Unlike traditional round containers where measurement is simple and straight forward, measuring non-rounds can be quite complicated especially when using vision-based technology. Factors such as the severity of corner radii, panel width, decorations and clarity of the material all affect the efficacy of dimensional measurements.
The latest upgrade from Agr for the Gawis OD® automated measuring station addresses this measurement challenge. In this upgrade, new algorithms and control routines have been added that re-define the way the Gawis cameras perform edge detection, the key to non-round measurement accuracy. As part of this upgrade, emphasis has been made to precisely control the position of the bottle during the imaging and measurement process. Operators now have the ability to choose from several “step size” selections based on the shape and measurement difficulty of the container. On the finest selection, up to 1200 images per measurement around the perimeter are captured, ensuring that the absolute minimum and maximum dimensions are identified. In addition, a selectable light threshold on a job by job basis has been included. This capability improves edge detection even further, especially for ultra-clear bottles, or for the rare cases when the edge of the container is difficult to see reliably. These advancements ensure that the true edge of even the most challenging container, round or non-round is detected with the highest precision. Results have shown as much as a 10x improvement in accuracy and repeatability on horizontal width and depth measurements on multi-panel non-round containers.
Upgrade available for existing systems
Expanded measurement capabilities will be included on all Gawis OD systems shipped in 2016 and beyond. An upgrade package is also available for existing Gawis OD® owners with the purchase of Agr’s Software Maintenance Plan or Total Care Program. This package includes new software for non-round measurements, expanded container position selections, selectable light thresholds and a Windows 7® operating system.
The Gawis automated measuring systems are the workhorse of the PET container testing lab. Gawis systems are relied upon around the world by PET bottle converters and brand owners alike for highly accurate thickness and dimensional measurements on a range of PET bottle shapes and sizes. Gawis systems also provide a range of thickness and dimensional measurements for PET preforms.
For information on a new Gawis OD or an upgrade to an existing system, contact your local regional Agr sales office.
Agr International’s latest SPT2 automated pressure and volume measurement system offers a throughput increase of 35% over existing glass bottle testing equipment.
click here to read the published article
Agr expanded its Service Center offerings with the recent opening of a service office at Agr Bangkok in Bangkok, Thailand. The opening of this Service Center in the Pan Pacific region compliments Agr’s other Service Centers located throughout the world.
Initially, the depot repairs and rebuild services will include all Agr laboratory products for both the glass and plastic markets. This new office will provide customers with older equipment, in need of more extensive repairs, the ability to have their equipment serviced and thoroughly tested without the cost of on-site service calls.
“With the great success of the new Agr branch in Asia it was a logical step to offer additional services such as depot repairs at the Agr Bangkok office. With this step we are able to offer fast as well as cost-effective repairs and avoid customs issues and time-delays previously experienced with the need to send the equipment overseas,” stated Martin Küstner, Managing Director of Agr Bangkok Ltd.
Immediately after opening the Service Center, even before the official press releases went out, the first machines were received from multiple customers and turned around in record time. The machines were returned to the customers fully performing to new machine specifications.
Agr International’s all-new Sampling Pressure Tester, the SPT2, offers a new level of testing capability for the glass container industry. The SPT2 is the culmination of 40+ years of Agr’s experience in manufacturing pressure testers that are designed to help improve and protect packaging performance. The all-new SPT2 builds upon Agr’s experience in pressure testing plus takes advantage of the latest technology to provide a tester that offers superior accuracy as well as a new level of efficiency. In addition to un-paralleled measuring and testing precision, the SPT2 can test up to 270 bottles per hour, offering a 35% throughput improvement over existing industry offerings. This capability is a key advantage of this system and can result in significant savings in testing and production efficiencies.
To achieve throughput at this rate, the SPT2 employs a two-station design with concurrent volume measurement and pressure testing operations. A robotic handling system provides for optimal bottle travel and placement through the system. Closed-loop controls are in place to manage bottles throughout the system and dynamically monitor the testing process to maintain the most efficient bottle processing and throughput.
Multiple line compatibility is another added feature of this system. The SPT2’s “intelligent management system” and universal bottle holders can automatically adjust for bottles of different sizes and finishes. This capability combined with the high throughput rate makes it possible to test different bottles from multiple manufacturing lines, or hand-feed a set of bottles as required, without the need to stop and reconfigure the system.
With the increased throughput and the ability to accept bottles from multiple lines, the SPT2 provides users greater flexibility and savings in their testing program. Additionally, the increased throughput of the SPT2 offers glass bottle makers a way to sample ware on a more frequent basis, and as a result, proactively detect and correct pressure and volume-related problems before they become quality issues.
The Agr SPT2 is designed to provide a viable alternative to the hand selection and manual testing of bottles for volume and pressure performance. When integrated into the production line, the SPT2 can be configured to receive bottles selected for sampling on a regular basis, throughout the production cycle. Once bottles are received in the SPT2 station, they are automatically tested for pressure strength and volume performance. Data from tests can be uploaded in real-time to plant-wide data collection and process management systems. Because the SPT2 can operate on a 24/7 basis without the need for operator intervention, testing can be performed on a defined schedule regardless of time of day or the availability of personnel.
At the heart of the SPT2 is an advanced pressure generation system that makes it possible to precisely pressurize containers at a constant ramp rate up to 69 bars (1 minute equivalent). In addition to testing capabilities for high-strength containers, the SPT2 also tests low-pressure ware with a very high level of confidence. The precise pressure control of the SPT2 facilitates the detection of low pressure leaks, and can distinguish them from low pressure breaks. This design provides extremely accurate and controlled pressurization throughout the testing process that meets the rigid testing requirements defined in ASTM C-147, Standard Test Method for Internal Pressure Strength of Glass Containers, and ISO 7458, where a constant-rate of increasing pressure must be applied to the bottle in a very precise and defined manner. The SPT2 offers the choice of pressurizing bottles to a pre-defined pressure point (proof testing), or to destruction.
The optional volume measurement system on the SPT2 offers manufacturers a real alternative to the time consuming and labor intensive work required for laboratory volume measurements. With the SPT2, volume measurements can be performed simultaneously with pressure tests capturing data for volume fill point, fill point at a given volume and overflow.
“The volume measurement system on the SPT2 is more precise and repeatable than any volume measurement product on the market,” cited Senior Process Leader, Sudha Christy. “After extensive testing and research we determined that positive-displacement technology would provide the accuracy and repeatability necessary for the type of measurements that are needed for the glass container industry. With this technology we have been able to achieve the necessary accuracy yet overcome the problems and inaccuracies associated with flow-meter based systems and the complexity and variability of gravimetric methods. Furthermore, measurement precision is not affected by water quality or density of water.”
The SPT2 can be configured on a sampling line to provide a protocol to integrate easily with commercial process management systems. The SPT2 is also designed to operate seamlessly with Agr’s OmniLab® automated measurement system. When integrated with the OmniLab system, pressure and volume as well as dimension, weight and thickness data can be correlated into one report.
The SPT2 is the latest generation in a long line of automated pressure testing systems supplied by Agr for the glass container manufacturing industry. Agr’s automated pressure testing stations date back to 1979 when Agr first pioneered the concept of automatically sampling containers from the production line and testing them for pressure strength on a regularly scheduled basis. This development made it possible to continuously monitor the pressure strength of bottles being produced and provide a statistically significant level of sampling that is not cost-effective or practical with laboratory-based testing. Over the past 40 years Agr has supplied over 2,100 pressure testing units to the global glass container industry. The SPT2 takes this one step further with its high throughput and its ability to provide precision volume measurements. According to Agr’s Chief Operating Officer, Bob Cowden, “Our product development team accepted and fulfilled a challenging product specification relative to pressure range, universal handling, volume measurement and precise on-board diagnostics. We are very proud of their accomplishment and look forward to serving the global glass container industry with this dynamic new tool for many years to come.”
The SPT2™ and OmniLab® are part of Agr’s broad line of, on-line, laboratory testing and quality control devices for the glass container and filling industries. Agr’s headquarters and main manufacturing facility is located in Butler, PA, USA.