With the knowledge that a single non-conformance can result in a whole shipment being rejected and a company’s reputation damaged forever, Australian wineries face an ongoing battle to ensure every bottle of wine leaving their production facilities is perfect.
Over the past few years, Griffith based Calabria Family Wines, has taken steps to consolidate its strong position in the domestic market and also penetrate lucrative overseas markets.
The first stage in the process was when they called on I2R Group to help install a second bottling line that effectively doubled the bottling capacity of the business. I2R Group, the winery control and bottling automation experts, delivered this new bottling line from procurement to fully operational in under 10 weeks.
The I2R delivery team comprised of 12 dedicated engineers, programmers and electricians who completed a full scope, mapped out a clear installation strategy, executed a seamless installation and commissioned the project allowing the winery to operate at full production rates only ten weeks after initial contact was made.
The new bottling line is capable of producing up to 10,000 bottles per hour for both export markets and the co-packed domestic market and allows Calabria Family Wines to bottle up to 25 million litres of wine each year.
Once the bottling line was operational, the Calabria family engaged in discussion with I2R Group about how to ensure quality control of the bottling process. They required a solution that would measure fill levels, monitor cork levels and assess cap application.
Calabria Family Wines had looked at inspection systems in the past but found either reliability or cost prohibited them from investing in the technology. Having partnered with I2R Group to install, commission and the optimise a new bottling line, Managing Director, Michael Calabria was confident I2R could find a solution.
With bottling lines capable of over producing 10,000 bottles per hour, it’s almost impossible for any individual to detect cap defects with any level of consistency. The bottle inspection system created by I2R can comfortably inspect 20,000 bottles per hour and is even able to provide feedback to engineers on fill levels for Statistical Process Control (SPC) purposes, allowing the bottle filling system to be optimised, minimising overfill and delivering maximum efficiency.
Once installed, the operator can be deployed to other more productive tasks or the cost of production can be reduced.
Ensuring the end user is always at the forefront of design, the HMI has been laid out for easy operation and management of the system. I2R can provide interfaces into any SCADA or PLC system so that operators and managers are always aware when bottles are not up to the appropriate standard.
Operators can review the last 10 bottle fails, allowing them to conduct an initial fault assessment and make any necessary line adjustments. Maintenance teams can go further and understand trends of failures, presenting the opportunity for fault finding and preventative maintenance.
Based on the results of installations already in full operation, the I2R Vision System detects rejects at rates of approximately 0.05 - 0.1%. Over a daily run of 80,000 bottles this means around 400 bottles are detected as non-conformant which is up to 400 customers which may receive product which is not up to standard.
Aaron Webb, Operations Manager at The I2R Group, says the strength of the business is its ability to assess, analyse and resolve each situation on an individual basis and deliver customised solutions.
“We are not a one size fits all business nor are we one that will sell our clients something they don’t need because it’s not necessarily the most complex solution that is the most reliable, cost effective and easy for the customer to use. It should always be the right technology for the right situation to generate the very best solution,” he explains.
“I2R is not a traditional electrical engineering business. We are more focused on identifying and then implementing the best technology for the application, that is cost appropriate, reliable and effective.”
Michael Calabria was delighted with the solution delivered by I2R.
“Calabria Family Wines now has the confidence that every bottle produced will be ready for the rapidly growing Asian wine market,” he explains.
“We are very pleased that we engaged I2R Group to help us make these significant improvements to our business over the past few years. They truly are subject matter experts in this area.”
The I2R Group has over 20 years in the wine industry and the highly skilled team has managed a diverse range of projects for over a dozen winemakers. There aren’t many systems they haven’t installed, repaired or optimised. The team at I2R Group has a true passion for building reliable systems and then optimising them to get the best return for their clients.
I2R offer a High-Performance Vision Solution to meet all bottle inspection requirements including Bottle Fill Levels, Cap Colour Inspection, Label Application and Cap Application (Anvil, Tuck and Thread) all at high speeds, (over 20,000 bottles per hour) and high accuracy rates. The I2R Group can develop a solution that meets your individual requirements, saving time and money that stems from customer rejections, quality recalls and rework.