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1. WO2020163417 - INSPECTION DE L'INTÉGRITÉ DE SCELLEMENT

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

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Claims

I .

An apparatus (10) for inspecting the integrity of a seal of a package (12) that includes a container (14) and a seal membrane (16) carried thereby, comprising:

a conveyor (18) configured to move said package along a path and including a vacuum plenum section (20) configured to create a sub-atmospheric pressure that is applied to said seal membrane of said package as said package moves through said vacuum plenum section;

an imaging sensor (22) configured to generate one or more images of said seal membrane following the application of a sub-atmospheric pressure thereto at said vacuum plenum section; and

an electronic processing device (24) configured to:

process said one or more images of said seal membrane generated by said sensor; and

evaluate the integrity of the seal of said package based on said one or more images.

2.

The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an inverter (36) configured to invert said package prior to the application of a sub-atmospheric pressure to said seal membrane of said package.

3.

The apparatus of claim 2, further comprising an inverter (38) configured to invert said package following the application of a sub-atmospheric pressure to said seal member of said package and prior to the generating of one or more images of said seal membrane.

4.

The apparatus of claim 3, wherein said inverter configured to invert said package prior to the application of a sub-atmospheric pressure to said seal member, and said inverter configured to invert said package following the application of a sub-atmospheric pressure to said seal member are the same.

5.

The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said vacuum plenum section comprises a vacuum plenum disposed beneath said conveyor.

6.

The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said imaging sensor is disposed above said conveyor.

7.

The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the electronic processing device is configured to evaluate the integrity of the seal of said package by determining if the seal of the package has been compromised.

8.

The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said package is a hot-filled package, and said seal membrane comprises a foil seal membrane.

9.

The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said electronic processing device is configured to process said one or more images of said seal membrane to determine a shape of said seal membrane, and to evaluate the integrity of the seal of said package based on said determined shape of said seal membrane.

10.

The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein said imaging sensor is a first imaging sensor and said apparatus further comprises a second imaging sensor (40) configured to generate one or more

images of said seal membrane of said package prior to the application of a vacuum to said seal membrane, said electronic processing device configured to:

process said one or more images generated by said second imaging sensor; and evaluate whether a vacuum was formed in said package based on said one or more images generated by said second imaging sensor.

11.

A method (100) for inspecting the integrity of a seal of a package (12) that includes a container (14) and a seal membrane (16) carried thereby, comprising:

moving, by a conveyor (18), said package through a vacuum plenum section (20) of said conveyor;

applying, by the vacuum plenum section, a sub-atmospheric pressure to said seal membrane of said package as said package passes through said vacuum plenum section;

acquiring, by an imaging sensor (22), one or more images of said seal membrane following said application of said sub-atmospheric pressure thereto;

processing, by an electronic processing device (24), said one or more images to evaluate the integrity of the seal of said package based on said one or more images of said seal membrane.

12.

The method of 11, further comprising inverting said package prior to applying a sub-atmospheric pressure to said seal membrane of said package.

13.

The method of claim 12, further comprising inverting said package following the application of a sub-atmospheric pressure to said seal membrane of said package and prior to said acquisition of said one or more images of said seal membrane.

14.

The method of claim 1 1 , wherein said processing step comprises processing said one or more images of said seal membrane to determine a shape of said seal membrane, and evaluating the integrity of the seal of said package based on said determined shape of said seal membrane.

15.

The method of claim 11, further comprising:

acquiring one or more images of said seal membrane of said package prior to the application of a sub-atmospheric pressure to said seal membrane in said applying step; and

processing said one or more images to evaluate whether a vacuum was formed in said package during a sealing process performed on said package.