Glass maker prepared for Industry 4.0

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Encirc's Industry 4.0 ready production line will feature a number of 'smart' elements
Encirc's Industry 4.0 ready production line will feature a number of 'smart' elements

Related tags: Packaging & labelling

UK glass manufacturer and filler Encirc has disclosed more details about the ‘world’s first’ Industry 4.0-ready production line it plans to build on its Elton site in Cheshire.

Responding to what Encirc managing director Adrian Curry has previously claimed was the “enormous pressure”​ on the UK glass sector to supply more containers in the wake of growing demand, the installation is due to be up and running in under a year’s time.

It will be a ‘quad gob’ line, meaning that output speeds will be among the highest, the Vidrala-owned company said.

Deviance automatically corrected  

In addition, there will be a number of ‘smart’ elements on the line, including intelligent swabbing to lubricate the moulds, and laser identification marking. A digital link between the latest inspection equipment and the ‘hot end’, where production takes place, means that any deviance away from the container specification will be identified and automatically corrected.

While the line would be Industry 4.0-ready, many relevant technologies will not be going in straight away, Encirc communications manager Oliver Harry told Food Manufacture.

Direct digital data relay

There will be a direct digital data relay from cold-end screens to the hot end, Harry said. “However, there will not be self-diagnosis and correction from the start,”​ he explained. “This is an aspect that will be developed.” ​The same would be true of intelligent labelling.

Harry added that Emhart was the “key partner”​ in creating the smart line.

The new line is part of Vidrala’s investment of more than £140m in its two UK plants at Elton and in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, which includes rebuilding four furnaces across the two sites as part of a four-year plan.

Industry observers noted that the new line demonstrated that glass, like other parts of the packaging, food and drink sectors, can appear to achieve Industry 4.0 readiness in manageable – and affordable – stages.

Related topics: Industry 4.0, Operations, Drinks

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