A Complete Solution for Optimum Quality

The application spectrum for capsules is enormous, and, not surprisingly, they are produced in large quantities. Greiner Packaging has enjoyed a successful 50-year history and has now digitalized its quality inspection process for capsules, thereby ensuring that they never have to choose between large quantities and quality requirements. A key part of this Austrian company's cutting-edge end-to-end solution is the ZEISS VoluMax 800 CT scanner.  

The challenge: even more inspection parameters

Defective packaging can severely damage a manufacturer's reputation and image. That is why quality regulations for packaging have assumed massive proportions – even though each piece of packaging costs just a few cents or even less. In the past, Greiner Packaging, headquartered in Kremsmünster, Austria, performed manual inspections with gauges and other devices to determine if the capsules met the customers' requirements. The process took a lot of time, effort and concentration, because just touching a capsule incorrectly can cause pressure marks and thus falsify the measuring result. As the customers continued to stipulate additional inspection parameters, Helmut Reckziegel, Head of the Capsules business unit, decided to look for an efficient solution for inspecting the capsules during the quality assurance process.  

The solution: CT scanner instead of manual inspection

Greiner worked very closely with ZEISS for over a year so that the company would be able to use the VoluMax 800 to inspect the capsules they produce. This process involved programming complicated algorithms and assembling virtual gauges. Inspecting an entire batch of random samples at one go required a loading logistics solution for the X-ray chamber, prompting the development of capsule holders and stands. Since July 2016, fifty capsules are taken from the production line at Greiner multiple times per shift. The door to the CT scanner closes, the start button is pressed and the inspection can begin – that is all there is to it! "I am totally impressed," says Quality Inspector Muhcu Zeynep. "Now  everything is a lot easier, faster and, most importantly, far more precise."

The holders and stands are made of a special plastic which does not affect the scanning process. These were developed together with ZEISS.
"Packaging is no longer a singular product, it has become a high-tech functional unit," explains Helmut Reckziegel (right), Head of the Capsules business unit, sitting next to Karoline Schmalwieser (left), Head of Communications.

The benefit: almost no risk of recalls

It used to be the case that inspecting eight parameters manually took 45 minutes; now 16 can be measured in half a second with the CT scanner. The solution has almost tripled employees' productivity in Quality Inspection. For Quality Engineer Robert Pfundbauer, this increase in speed is desirable, impressive and also reduces costs. But for him, it all comes down to safety, and thus the question that should be asked is: "How probable is a recall caused by packaging, i.e. the worst-case scenario for Greiner customers?" Since these days twice as many parameters are tested than before and with far greater precision, Pfundbauer thinks the likelihood is almost zero. Summing up his experiences with the new system, Pfundbauer reports: "This machine is what every quality expert dreams of."