Page 57 - Food & Drink Magazine Jan-Feb 21
P. 57

                   MEMBER NEWS
 Krones says it has developed what it describes as an evolutionary quantum leap in inspection technology, by employing deep AI learning for empty bottle inspection.
The company says its new Linatronic AI drastically reduces both waste of material and commissioning times, by overcoming the issue of water droplets which often result in false rejects.
According to Krones, anyone who works with empty bottle inspectors knows that not every bottle that the inspector rejects has a defect. It says in most cases, it might simply be water droplets or a bit of foam still clinging to the bottle after cleaning.
An exclusive agreement with Canada’s Accu-Label will see Opal bring high speed paper-based labelling technology to the fresh produce sector in Australia and New Zealand. From mid-2021 Opal will manufacture the paper labels locally.
Opal and Accu-Label have signed an agreement continuing Opal’s exclusive distribution rights for Accu-Label’s internationally patented automatic high-speed labelling system, across Australia and New Zealand.
The agreement means Opal can provide a key point of differentiation through paper-based labelling technology, which it says is the first of its kind in the fresh produce industry and an alternative solution to plastic labels.
The Accu-Label range provided by Opal is available in a variety of customisable shapes, colours, artwork, and printed barcodes to support market distinction and traceability. Starting mid-2021, the paper labels for the system will be manufactured locally by Opal.
The labelling system itself delivers high label adhesion rates at high-speed, even on wet and fuzzy fresh produce, according to Opal.
Krones says that since conventional systems can’t always distinguish these from contaminants or damage with 100 per cent certainty, they tend to err on the side of caution and reject the container, resulting in countless perfectly usable bottles landing in the trash, never to be seen again.
To change that, Krones has taken the evolution of its inspection technology to what it says is “the next level”: the new Linatronic AI employs deep learning software to automatically detect and classify anomalies, making it smarter and more efficient than its conventional peers.
Deep learning is a technology that enables machines to do what humans do naturally: learn from example. But there is one big difference: a machine can use this ability many times more efficiently than humans can.
The same is true for machines that is true for humans: the more intensively you train, the better the results. Therefore, the Linatronic AI’s neural network was continually fine-tuned using thousands of example images, until it could accurately distinguish water droplets from other anomalies
– with a reliability rate of more than 99.9 per cent.
As a result, waste of material due to false rejects is no longer an issue. The time-consuming process of configuring the inspector during commissioning is also a thing of the past. The neural network doesn’t require manual calibration to local conditions. Instead, says Krones, the Linatronic AI is delivered fully trained and ready to start work.
Australian brand Zip Water recently acquired a fleet of new Toyota Material Handling equipment to support its investment in an expanded production line that is to increase output of its flagship HydroTap range.
Zip Water exports drinking water systems to more than 70 countries. The company manufactures its products in a factory in Condell Park in Sydney’s west.
Zip Water head of supply chain Glenn Bucknell said after being acquired by global water treatment company Culligan in 2017, Zip Water has launched into new markets, including the US and China.
“Culligan brought us an avenue into the US, so we had huge potential for volume growth, and they encouraged us to up-scale our manufacturing footprint,” Bucknell said.
“We made a significant investment in our new production line to scale up our output.” To support its expansion plans, Zip Water
updated its fleet of material handling equipment. It now includes four Toyota 730-DR32TT Double Deep Reach Trucks; two 8FBE18 and one 8FBN25 Toyota Battery Electric Counterbalance forklifts; Toyota Sprint elevated work platforms; Toyota Walkie Stackers; and a Toyota 32-8FG30 LPG Counterbalance forklift with Cascade hydraulic fork-widening attachment.
“We were gearing up our physical infrastructure and our material handling equipment was a further extension of that, because it’s a big part of our processes,” Bucknell said.
Zip Water formerly had an ageing fleet from another supplier and a mix of owned and leased equipment. Bucknell saw the plant expansion as an opportunity to update and streamline the company’s material handling equipment and sought advice from Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) and one other supplier.

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