High-speed hot melt glue inspection for global brewing company

This global brewing company produces millions of products every day, with its goods sold and consumed across hospitality, retail and leisure venues worldwide.

Driven by industry moves towards greater sustainability, it recently launched a new initiative at its UK manufacturing plants to ensure perfect product quality across its cardboard multipack production lines without the need for plastic wrap.

Now fitted onto every new bottling line as standard

beer bottling line

  • Accurate, high-speed pack inspection at 60 packs per minute


  • Inspects hidden glue bead with FLIR thermal camera


  • Supporting sustainability targets for plastic reduction

Ensuring perfect product quality across multipack production lines at 60 packs per minute

The Challenge

Open or damaged packs are a health and safety issue. Incorrect glue application could be a major cause of consumer complaints, with loose flaps or collapsing packs causing all sorts of issues between the factory and the end consumer.

The traditional approach to quality control was manual visual checks at set intervals. Because this isn’t 100% inspection, it leaves space for product escapes through natural human error.

Preventing downtime or defective packaging while still helping them to eliminate plastic wrapping was the big challenge.

Preventing pack defects, breakages and customer complaints without plastic, through vision inspection

Our Solution

The solution we devised was automated vision inspection. 

These brewing lines are continuously running – with most lines producing up to 60 multipacks each minute.  For such a high-speed operation, Bytronic’s Hotspot vision inspection system was the ideal solution.

A fast, dependable and non-destructive test of packaging integrity, Hotspot checks hot melt glue adhesive on packaging, using thermal cameras placed above the line to inspect every seal on every pack before it leaves the line.

The technology combines FLIR longwave infrared thermal cameras and Cognex Vision Pro high-res optical imaging with Bytronic’s intelligent machine vision software.

By capturing a thermal image through the cardboard, it verifies glue position and shows whether glue has been applied correctly – the right amount, in the right place and at the right temperature. 

A connected alarm system gives line operators early warning of any deviation in the glue application, picking up small issues before they become big ones.

Any defects are picked up before they leave the line, preventing accidents, breakages or customer complaints.

Rolled out across five packing lines over two years

The Results

Our Hotspot solution has been rolled out across five lines over two years – both new and retrofitted. It has been so successful that it is now being fitted as standard with every new line, with automated reject lines to further prevent downtime.