Makro Labelling, one of the leading industrial labeler manufacturers, always committed to taking account of, or anticipating, the market’s requests, developing products, systems and patents able to guarantee performance, lower costs, less production waste and top-quality packaging. The choice for advanced technological skills, production process rationalization and the ability to anticipate the evolution of the market, brought the R&D department of Makro Labelling to the development of two brand new vision systems for labelling machines.
“The machine vision system is the natural follow-through to the labelling process, as the procedure does not end when the label has been applied. It is necessary to check that the right label has been attached, positioned correctly and smoothed without defects. We at Makro Labelling therefore decided to create an in-house Vision Department and to invest heavily in developing two new vision systems: A.L.I.C.E. and M.A.I.A. We have recently launched them onto the market, and they will guarantee perfect and complete integration with the machine automation and a flexible, intuitive, practical response to companies who know they need automatic systems”, says Simone Marcantoni, head of the Automation Department.
Fruit of about 10,000 hours of software development, the two systems integrate with the labelling machines and are also simple to manage for the line operator who can thus exploit the system to the full.
In-house development and production of the two systems allows our customers to interface with a single producer, able to guarantee rapid and direct technical assistance and above all to satisfy the market’s diverse
packaging needs, once again confirming the concept of flexibility which has been a hallmark of Makro Labelling since the beginning.
A.L.I.C.E. – Advanced Label Inspection and Control Environment
A.L.I.C.E. is a quality control system able to assess the horizontal and vertical position and angle of the label, together with its alignment with respect to a reference point, whether the logo on the glass, a capsule or another label.
The system also checks the label is correct and the overlap of a wrap-around label and can read barcodes, a data matrix or characters, or simply check for the label’s presence.
M.A.I.A. – Makro Advanced In-line Analysis
M.A.I.A. on the other hand is Makro Labelling’s bottle orientation system. It is based on use of Line Scan Camera technology employing line scan cameras (also mounted on Makro Labelling’s patented Follower system) able to take thousands of linear photographs (1×2048 pixels) which, pasted one after the other, produce a single image representing the full length of the bottle. When subsequently analysed, this indicates the position of the reference point to be used by the plate control system to position the bottle correctly and receive the first label in the right position.
“A vision system must not be complex, otherwise the operator will not be able to use it easily, in practice limiting its use. We have seen production lines where the system has been turned off or bypassed because the operator is not able to manage it and so decides to do without its assistance. Or the intervention of highly trained but costly engineers is required in order to produce and obtain reliable checks. One of the reasons behind the success of Makro Labelling’s machines and systems is precisely our ability to offer functional solutions which, although complex, are available to operators simply and intuitively, giving them hitherto unthinkable possibilities and flexibility. A.L.I.C.E. and M.A.I.A. have once again been designed and oriented towards simplicity and user-friendliness, so the operator can master them completely, quickly and simply,” says Simone Marcantoni.