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Valco Melton introduces new system GapChek to measure gaps in packaging bundles

Measurement of manufacturer’s joint gaps has traditionally only been possible from inside the flexo-folder-gluer prior to the box being completely folded and straightened. This results in distorted and sometimes inaccurate gap measurements as well as exaggerated skew analysis. As key accounts with automated packaging equipment demand more consistent and correctly-sized folding gaps from their box suppliers, the pressure to accurately measure gaps and remove boxes with out-of-spec gaps in increasing.

Valco Melton’s ClearVision division has developed and introduced GapChek, a patented corrugated vision system technology, that moves the measurement point to the bundle so that the lead and trail gaps are measured on finished boxes.

Explaining the functioning of the GapChek, Ravi Kiran, director at Valco Melton India Engineering, said, “As finished bundles travel along the conveyor, they are imaged from the front and the rear by two cameras mounted above the conveyor. These images are used to locate and measure the manufacturer’s gaps and provide on-screen analysis of gaps that are too small or large as well as boxes that may be skewed, where the leading and trailing edge gaps have a large difference.”

Installed prior to a ClearVisionBundleChek system, bundles with gaps that are out of the plant tolerance specification can be ejected with the ClearVision screen used to locate the position of the out-of-spec box in the stack. GapChek provides a screen at the folding section as well as at the bundle ejector in order to facilitate folding rail adjustments. 

Kiran said, “GapChek displays both per-bundle averages as well as statistical process control charts on-screen that assist the user in modifying folding rail settings based on how much gap variation is occurring and the average gap size that is being produced.” As with all ClearVision systems, GapChek data is available remotely via the MeasurementChek access over the internet. Users can look at per-job and per-box gap data and analyze historical trends for certain box designs or customers. 

“Special cases such as square boxes and trimmed flaps as well as unstrapped bundles where the top boxes are partially open are all handled by GapChek,” added Kiran.

GapChek requires bundles to be spaced apart and stacked straight from front-to-back. Sideways skew or box offsets are not needed for accurate measurement. “GapChek is capable of keeping up with the fastest dual-out machines on the market today,” concluded Kiran.

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