Don’t allow poor production quality to stop your PET bottle production! Strengthen your understanding by enrolling in Agr Academy’s open enrollment PET 101 course, Sept 12-14th.
This course covers the basics of PET, the material, and provides a fundamental understanding of how PET is used in the bottle making process. You will learn about the PET material science and why PET is a preferred packaging material for producing bottles.
Click here to register for the next session!
Glassman returns to the USA! On June 6-7, 2023, Glassman USA will take place at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland. Make your plans to visit Agr in stand E13 to discover the latest technologies to help you with your glass container testing and measurement needs!
Agr products – including those for high precision thickness, dimensional and coating measurement as well as pressure, volume and strength testing – are designed to assist container producers and fillers stay competitive, while meeting the increased lightweight efforts and quality demands of today’s changing world.
We look forward to talking with you!
Register for free here.
A new Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with enhanced, rapid-scan EDS software was recently commissioned at the Delft, Netherlands laboratory of American Glass Research
The American Glass Research laboratory in the Netherlands is now home to a new, top-of-class Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Leading-edge work in the field of microscopy is nothing new to the Netherlands. As a matter of fact, the Netherlands is the birthplace of the modern microscope and the very city of Delft is where microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek invented some of the first practical microscopes in the 1700s. The AGR’s Delft laboratory is proud to continue the fine tradition of Dutch microscopy by installing a JEOL IT-510LA scanning electron microscope. This new device goes far beyond the capability of the early microscopes and will allow the Delft lab to provide its European customers with the highest level of analysis and digital data acquisition.
The JEOL IT-510LA represents the first SEM of this model to be installed anywhere in the Netherlands and boasts a magnification capability of up to 300,000X. Equipped with a JEOL Energy Diffractive X-ray Spectrometer (EDX), the SEM will enable the scientists in the Delft lab to perform chemical compositional analysis of glass surfaces/substrates along with point analysis of materials or residues embedded on or within the glass. Enhanced software incorporated in this system harnesses the EDX for constant scanning of the glass surface over the entire field of view. The capability makes it possible to immediately highlight the presence of any foreign materials, facilitating quick and accurate identification.
In addition, the system incorporates a large-sized SEM chamber that allows samples up to 200 mm long and 80 mm wide to be analyzed as well as low vacuum mode which circumvents the need to apply carbon or metal coating. These features permit analysis of samples with minimal alteration, which is an advantage for consumer complaints or product liability cases.
The many advanced features and functions of the new SEM will greatly compliment and expand the capabilities of the Delft lab beyond the routine uses of SEM-EDX for stone identification, fracture diagnosis, and compositional analysis.
Visitors are welcome to the Delft lab to tour the laboratory and observe a demonstration of this new, advanced microscope. To discuss your glass analysis needs or information on how to submit samples for SEM-EDX analysis, please contact American Glass Research at: Https://americanglassresearch.com/questions/contact-us.
American Glass Research, a leader in consulting, training and analytical services for the glass packaging industry since 1927, operates laboratories located in Butler, PA and Maumee, OH in the USA and Delft, the Netherlands. American Glass Research is a division of AGR International Inc.
We are thrilled to announce the opening of the Agr Academy comprehensive training and education program! Agr Academy is your one-stop solution for learning how to manage processing issues and close gaps in the knowledge, skills and experience of personnel involved in the production of PET bottles. Say so long to process problems! Invest in your employees and elevate your production with Agr Academy!
- Determine how to get the most out of your PET blowmolding program
- Learn how to deal with processing variables that affect PET bottle production
- Recognize the issues that disrupt downstream production
- Understand how to overcome rPET processing challenges
- Realize new methods to achieve lightweighting goals
Click here to learn more about the classes offered from Agr Academy.
The all-new ThicknessPen™ device is the latest in Agr’s line of thickness measurement products for the container and packaging industry. With its patent pending dual mode design, the ThicknessPen can be used just about anywhere, from the laboratory, the plant floor or even in a wet environment at a job site in the field. The ThicknessPen provides easy, non-destructive and highly accurate thickness measurement of all types of non-ferrous products, regardless of their size, shape or material.
See it in action here!
Thank you to all of our customers, colleagues and friends who visited Agr during one of our several trade shows and conferences over the last two months!
It was great to meet in person once again to discuss your current needs and how Agr can help you manage the issues.
If you did not get a chance to visit in person, contact us today to learn more about Agr’s latest advancements in quality control for the beverage and packaging industries.
The ThicknessPen, with its patent pending dual measurement mode technology, is ideal for measurement of plastic products of all types, in the laboratory or on the plant floor
The ThicknessPen is the latest in Agr’s line of thickness measurement products for the container and packaging industry. This all-new device offers an innovative approach to portable thickness measurement with its patent pending dual mode design. Developed to address the multiple and diverse thickness measure applications of the production environment, the ThicknessPen’s small size, with its light weight and robust design, can be used just about anywhere, from the laboratory, the plant floor or even in a wet environment at a job site in the field. The ThicknessPen provides easy, non-destructive and highly accurate thickness measurement of all types of non-ferrous products, regardless of their size, shape or material.
Some of the notable ThicknessPen features include:
- Compact and lightweight
- Dual mode operation
- Rugged, drop and water-resistant construction
- Easy, intuitive operation
- Bluetooth enabled
- Smart phone and tablet compatible
Dual mode design
The ThicknessPen differs from other measurement devices with its patent pending, dual-mode operation that offers users the option to measure using either a magnetic or capacitance mode, whichever is most appropriate for the application. This provides a unique advantage and offers versatility not found in any product in this market place while still providing the precision necessary for the laboratory and the portability, ruggedness and safety for use on the production floor.
With the magnetic mode, a magnetic target ball is used during measurements. This mode offers a level of precision equal to or exceeding traditional hall-effect devices with greater simplicity and reliability without the concerns associated with probes that use strong magnetic fields. In this mode the ThicknessPen can be used in its docking station for bench-top measurements or on its own, as a portable device wherever critical measurements are required. The magnetic mode provides the high measurement precision necessary for thin, non-ferrous materials such as ultra-lightweight containers and packaging while offering a robust, easy to operate measurement tool.
The Capacitance mode provides the means to perform single sided measurement without the need for a target ball. This is ideal for at-the-line or measurements in the field, where portability is desired and the risk of product contamination by a target ball is a concern. The capacitance mode of the ThicknessPen offers a quick, “touch and go“ measurement approach and is ideal for measuring large containers, sheet material, plastic panels and large shaped parts where the use of a target ball is not practical. Its portability and rugged construction provide further advantages and compatibility with the production environment.
App-based , Bluetooth enabled
ThicknessPen is compatible with smart phones and tablets. With the ThicknessPen App a smartphone or tablet becomes your work center for system management and operations. The operator can control the type and size of data displayed. With the APP, system software never goes out of date and upgrades are easily handled. Utilizing Bluetooth technology, the ThicknessPen requires no cables or wires for operation. When the pen is used remotely without a phone or tablet, data can be easily transferred from the pen and stored in the App when returned to the base station.
Photo Caption 1: Agr’s ThicknessPen is designed to provide high accuracy measurements yet withstand the rigors of the industrial environment whether in the laboratory, on the factory floor or in the field.
Photo Caption 2: Agr’s ThicknessPen provides easy, non-destructive and highly accurate thickness measurement of all types of non-ferrous products, regardless of their size, shape or material.
Robotic laboratory automation, precision bottle measurement and innovations in automated blowmolder control to be a focus for Agr International at K 2022
Agr will display several new product developments as well as an array of quality management and process control equipment for plastic containers at K 2022, Stand 11C40.
Robotic automation combined with precision measurement for plastic containers will be the focal point for Agr’s display. Featured will be an automated measurement cell that mates Agr’s Gawis 4D measurement system with a robotic handling system for hands-free bottle or preform measurement. The Gawis 4D, Agr’s all-in-one laboratory measurement system, streamlines laboratory measurement operations by performing a multitude of critical dimensional and thickness measurements in one simple operation. With the robotic handling system, up to 128 bottles or preforms can be measured, hands-free, with unmatched accuracy, repeatability and operational throughput. The Gawis 4D features Agr’s patent pending AutoJob™ that provides the ability to create complicated job setups in a matter of seconds.
Process Pilot®+ – reflects the latest advancements in automated blowmolder control for PET bottles and will be the focal point of Agr’s display. Built upon Agr’s iconic Process Pilot automated blowmolder management system, the Process Pilot+ incorporates a patented technology that significantly improves blowmolder efficiency and profitability by enabling operators to optimize the blowmolder based on performance, energy efficiency or operating costs. The Process Pilot system works in conjunction with the blowmolder to continuously measure material distribution on every bottle, and proactively manage the blowmolder to maintain optimal material distribution. With its ability to manage the blowmolder to maintain quality and performance attributes in spite of environmental, blowmolder and, especially, material variations due to rPET that occur during the production process, the Process Pilot+ system is an essential tool for PET bottle manufacturers that are committed to incorporating rPET into their product mix.
Pilot Vision+™ – Agr’s latest and most powerful in-the-blowmolder vision system. This system is uniquely positioned for the quality management of bottles with high percentages of rPET. Designed to work in conjunction with today’s high-speed reheat stretch blowmolding equipment, the Pilot Vision+ system offers a modular approach to defect detection that works within the blowmolder. The open architecture of this system allows for simultaneous management of up to six cameras, in multiple locations. As part of Agr’s Process Pilot family of products, Pilot Vision+ can be combined with Process Pilot+ for a total bottle management solution, providing the ability to detect random occurring defects as well as manage the process to maintain precise material distribution, even with the lightest and/or most difficult-to-process bottle design.
Agr measurement and processing experts will be available to discuss these products as well as the complete line of process monitoring and quality control equipment available from Agr for the plastic industry.
Agr products are designed to assist container producers, converters and fillers stay competitive while meeting the increased quality demands of today’s changing world. As an industry leader, Agr is committed to provide the plastic container industry with the most technologically advanced products available for quality control and productivity improvement.
Gawis 4D configured with the AF robotic handling system provides a means to maximize laboratory throughput while achieving the highest measurement precision for preforms and bottles.
As speeds increase, weights are reduced and recycled material is becoming a significant factor in bottle production, regular testing and measurement of production samples is essential to properly manage quality. However, with limited personnel and equipment, laboratory throughput can be a challenge for many production facilities, potentially compromising quality efforts. Agr International’s Gawis AF robotic handling system, in conjunction with the Gawis 4D measurement system, provides a solution for meeting both the need for comprehensive testing/measurement of bottles as well as a means to address throughput demands.
The Agr Gawis 4D is designed to automate quality checks by consolidating numerous dimensional and thickness measurement operations, typically performed by hand, on individual bottles or preforms into a single hands-free operation, completed in a matter of seconds. The addition of the robotic handling system takes this to the next step. With the handling system, the Gawis 4D can not only measure individual bottles, but also perform measurement on complete sets of bottles or preforms. It can be operated on a continuous basis, without operator intervention, maximizing testing throughput while freeing laboratory personnel for other more critical tasks.
The Gawis AF robotic handling system interfaces seamlessly with the measurement system. It can be purchased with a new system or retrofitted to existing systems operating in the field. Central to the system is a precision pick and place industrial robot that manages sample selection and placement of samples into the Gawis 4D for measurement. Operation is fully integrated. All controls and operations including overall job setup, robot, sample coordination, as well as activation and control of individual test sequences are handled through the Gawis4D user interface.
For sample management, samples are hosted in a multi-level carousel that is outfitted with rotating tiers designed to positively position samples for robot access. The tiers can be configured to accommodate bottles from single or multiple mold rounds, or a complete mold set of preforms. Each tier is fitted with spring activated sample grips that provide positive bottle control and positioning for the robot yet allow fast loading by an operator. When tests on the individual samples are complete, the robot can either discard samples or return them to the sample carousel for further analysis.
The Gawis 4D outfitted with the Gawis AF robotic handling system, is the latest in Agr’s line of high-precision measurement systems for bottles and preforms. The Gawis 4D system offers a means to perform a range of complex dimensional measurements that are fast and precise with un-matched repeatability. AutoJob™, a patent pending feature on the Gawis 4D simplifies job setup on the system by providing automated recognition of key finish measurements, reducing job setup time to a matter of minutes. This system also offers a wide range of thickness measurement options including thickness at single or multiple discrete points anywhere on the sidewall or heel of the bottle, and the ability to perform complete vertical or horizontal (circumferential) scans for analyzing preform ovality and material distribution. Additional information on the Gawis 4D can be found at https://www.agrintl.com/gawis4d/
“Coatings for Containers – Purpose and Performance” on September 21 and 23, 2021
The “Spotlight on: Coatings for Containers – Purpose and Performance” webinar, to be held on September 21 and 23, is produced by American Glass Research and is designed to provide an in-depth exploration of the purpose of surface treatments applied to glass containers.
This webinar consists of 2 sessions of instruction and will demonstrate the protection provided and indicate how the coatings ensure satisfactory container performance.
Topics covered include the general aspects related to the application and function of the hot end and cold end coatings. An introduction to the instruments and test methods used to evaluate the quality of surface treatments will also be presented. Participants will also become familiar with the practical aspects of interpreting coating measurements through the use of case studies.
This webinar is a live presentation consisting of two 1-hour sessions plus Q&A, and will be conducted by American Glass Research’s Doug Holscher. The live broadcast will be conducted at 9:00 EDT/13:00 GMT/15:00 CEST. The cost is $375 per person. Group discounts are available. For those unable to view the live broadcast, the webinar will be recorded so attendees can replay the presentation at their convenience.
American Glass Research has been conducting fracture analysis seminars for over 80 years and offers a full catalog of seminars and training sessions designed to augment and improve the skills and knowledge of plant personnel working with glass containers. This webinar is the latest in a series of educational webinars produced by American Glass Research to provide greater accessibility to training and resources vital to the glass container industry. The availability of the seminars in this series offer a convenient and economical means to continue critical training for plant personnel, particularly in light of travel restrictions and limited budgets.
Visit American Glass Research e-seminar site www.americanglassresearch.com to learn more about this program and to register for participation.
Agr International is sad to announce the passing of our long-time friend and colleague, Jose Ortiz.
As Agr’s Service Manager in Latin America, Jose was talented, knowledgeable and well-respected by his co-workers and customers alike. Jose will be missed by all who had the great opportunity to meet him.
July and August Savings on E-Seminar Packages
American Glass Research is currently offering special combined training, on-demand, E-seminar/Webinar packages from our full catalogue. These combinations are only available for purchase during the months of July and August with special promotional pricing on three different bundles. Buy during the promotion and view them on your schedule later!
Signing up for any combination package in the months of July or August automatically qualifies you to join one of our live, interactive Q&A Sessions (via MS Teams) offered every Thursday at 9:00 EDT. And as a special short-term summer offer, you also get our « Do’s and Don’ts of Lightweigting » webinar free (a $95 value) with any of the combination packages.
Butler, Pennsylvania – March 1, 2021 – Agr International announced the appointment of Mr. Steve Smith to lead Agr’s North American sales organization. This appointment is a continuation of Agr’s multi-year plan to strengthen and expand its sales and service organizations in order to better support the distinct needs of customers throughout the world.
Mr. Steve Smith will assume the position of Director of Sales. In this role, he will oversee all sales related activities within the United States, Mexico, Canada and several countries within Latin America and the Caribbean.
Since joining Agr’s sales team, Steve has consistently contributed to Agr’s business growth. Over the last twelve months he has played a major role in Agr’s efforts to successfully navigate through the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic. In addition to the outstanding sales results, Steve has demonstrated the ability to manage complex customer accounts in the bottle manufacturing and beverage industry.
Mr. Smith possesses significant knowledge and experience with Agr’s customers, products and services and is well positioned to provide the guidance necessary to lead Agr’s North American sales force. Steve has considerable experience in industrial sales and management. Prior to joining Agr’s sales team, he held sales managerial positions in the aluminum extrusion and carbon/graphite industries. This experience, along with his knowledge of Agr products, well positions he and his team to assist customer in meeting their varied needs, while achieving operational success.
According to Steve, “AGR International has provided me an opportunity to grow and succeed personally and professionally. I look forward to continuing to promote world class products to the plastic and glass container industries with the North American sales team. As a team and a company, we are well prepared for the challenge to help our plastic and glass customers navigate the production challenges of increased demand for recycled content through products, technology and services.”
Agr International Inc. develops and manufactures a full line of laboratory and on-line testing/quality control devices for glass and plastic containers and similar products. Agr products play a leading role in helping bottle manufactures meet sustainability challenges while improving productivity and profitability. The Agr headquarters is located in Butler, PA, USA.
Mr. Martin Küstner, Managing Director Agr Bangkok, International Sales Director, will participate as a presenter in the second edition of Pack Passion Week 2021.
The presentation from Küstner will take place on March 9, 2021 at 5:10pm CET and is titled, Precise Measurement Solutions to Minimize the Risk of Increased rPet Usage. With an increased focus on sustainability, brand owners are setting new and ever more difficult goals for the increased utilization of rPET in their PET bottles. Increasing rPET content however, does not come without risks. This presentation will discuss how the risks associated with increased rPET usage can be managed and minimized with the proper in-plant measurement and process control solutions.
Pack Passion Week will be held over three days, March 9-11, 2021. This virtual conference is an excellent forum for interaction between the worldwide PET industry. Register at www.packpassion.com.
Agr International has unveiled their latest development, the Gawis4Glass™. This all-in-one dimensional measurement system is designed specifically to improve the efficiency and testing throughput of the glass containers quality control laboratory. The Gawis4Glass automates a number of critical bottle measurements into a single operation and performs a complete dimensional analysis in a matter of seconds. This totally new laboratory test system provides an unmatched level of measurement capabilities to support the design, process and quality management of glass containers.
Continuing the legacy
Agr International has a long history of providing high-precision dimensional gauging and measurement systems to the glass container industry. Agr’s Dimensional Sampling Gauge and OmniLab products are well known within the industry for their high precision and automated measurement capabilities. These systems are relied upon by a number of bottle manufacturers and amply fill the need for at-the-line or near-the line sampling and measurement. However, in addition to at-the-line testing and measurement, there is still a need for similar capabilities in the laboratory, yet in a format that is more compatible with the size and style of laboratory operations. The Gawis4Glass was designed specifically to fit this need. With a footprint of 1 square meter, the Gawis4Glass can fit in laboratories with very limited space. The size of this system however, does not diminish its precision and the measurement capabilities.
The Gawis4Glass directly addresses the unique challenges that the dimensional measurement of bottles presents to laboratory personnel. This system incorporates features and functions specifically oriented to simplify this time-consuming task, while providing highly repeatable and accurate measurement results. To achieve this, the Gawis4Glass utilizes the latest optical gauging technology, in combination with automation and advanced, intuitive operational software, to simplify container measurement operations while maximizing testing throughput. As a result, this system can provide broad measurement capabilities on a wide range of glass containers with unmatched accuracy, repeatability and operational throughput.
Built upon a completely new measurement platform, this system incorporates a number of advanced features and capabilities including:
- Precise finish gauging and body measurement capabilities utilizing high resolution, USB 3 camera technology, optimized lensing and telecentric optics with 360º imaging
- Performance to exceed all relevant international standards
- Powerful yet simple job creation and editing tools incorporating Agr’s patent-pending AutoJob™ – automated job setup
- Large, customizable and intuitive user interface, with swipe and zoom capabilities
- Industry 4.0 communication protocols
Advanced Vision Technology for Precise Dimensional Gauging
A major design emphasis for the Gawis4Glass was to provide measurements with a level of precision and repeatability that not only can document dimensions of production containers but can also be used to qualify and manage molds. The vision measurement technology incorporated in the Gawis4Glass utilizes high pixel density camera components in combination with enhanced telecentric optics and lighting. Cameras are fixed with zero movement, eliminating any potential errors from vibrations or camera movement. Telecentric optics ensure that every measurement is accurate and repeatable regardless of container size, shape or distance from the camera. This combination provides a very crisp edge shadow, making it possible to achieve the highest dimensional precision and repeatability, as well as a very low percent of process variation for individual measurements.
Further, images are captured at one-degree intervals and the entire bottle is scanned, achieving 100% full-bottle capture in order to facilitate the most efficient dimensional processing. Once a sample is placed, a rotary lift table provides 360° of rotation, allowing measurement at any position around the sample. Precise vertical and rotary positioning guarantees that measurements are performed consistently every time, on every sample – preventing human error, unnecessary adjustments and incorrect data.
Ease of job setup
One of the biggest challenges with measurement systems of this type is the preparation and programming of the device to perform the desired measurements. The Gawis4Glass offers a range of tools that are available to simplify this process and minimize the time required to edit jobs. Operators can use AutoJob™ to automatically identify finish measurements, build a job from individually selectable measurement routines or choose from a library of industry standard or customized templates that include a collection of measurements and their associated limits. Gawis4Glass also enables an operator to select a single measurement or combination of measurements for a particular job. All job setup methods are straight forward and intuitive, yet provide the versatility to enable an operator to customize tests for the application.
AutoJob – job setup in less than 20 seconds
AutoJob™, is a patent-pending feature on the Gawis4Glass that is designed to simplify job setup by providing automated recognition of key finish measurements. With this feature, the operator simply selects the AutoJob mode and the work of locating and identifying finish features is performed automatically. The Gawis4Glass scans the sample, identifies the standard finish measurements for that sample and incorporates them into the job within a matter of seconds. The operator can adjust the selection, add control limits and incorporate additional measurements as necessary. AutoJob can be used to create a new job or identify an existing job template through Template Matching, that most closely matches the container. Template matching, another feature associated with AutoJob, provides the closest match of a scanned bottle finish to the job templates in the template library. In all, the AutoJob feature greatly accelerates job creation, saving hundreds of labor hours through the course of a year.
Industry 4.0 communication
Industry 4.0 standard communication protocols have also been incorporated into the Gawis4Glass to improve communications and support Industry 4.0 objectives. This capability facilitates advanced communication with other devices, to share data, support remote job change and interface with factory robotic handling systems without operator intervention.
“STONE ANALYSIS ESSENTIALS” ON MARCH 9, 2021
American Glass Research (AGR) will be conducting its latest in a series of educational webinars in a live webinar, “Spotlight on: Stone Analysis Essentials,” on March 9, 2021.
AGR’s “Stones in Glass: Analysis and Identification” in-person seminar has trained glass industry professionals for over 10 years in this specialized skill. To introduce practical stone analysis to a broader audience, we are offering a shortened version of this seminar that will be useful for glass plant QC employees, batch & furnace workers, and some filling line QC personnel.
This new, 1.5-hour training webinar focuses on visual identification of stones using simple tools available in every QC lab – a hand lens and an optical microscope. Using the material in this course, trainees will be equipped to identify the majority of stones found in commercial glass products and to address their root causes.
The 1.5-hour live presentation will be conducted by Dr. Brandon Aldinger. The live broadcast will take place at 9:00am EST/14:00 GMT/15:00 CET. The cost is $285 per person. The webinar will be recorded so attendees can replay the presentation at their convenience. A free preview of the webinar and additional information can be found at www.americanglassresearch.com
AGR has been conducting live in-person training to the glass manufacturing industry and glass container fillers worldwide for over 60 years. In response to the COVID pandemic and heightened health safety considerations, AGR has constructed a dedicated studio for the production of live webinars and self- paced e-seminar modules.