Food & Beverage Container Manufacturer Improves Quality Control with Shapegrabber

Background:

Whirley-DrinkWorks is a world leader in the manufacturing and sales of souvenir beverage and food containers. With more than 50 years of experience, the company designs containers used at restaurants, resorts, colleges, and universities, and sold at amusement parks, fairs, festivals and convenience stores around the world. Producing mugs, tumblers, plates, bowls, straws, and more, Whirley’s attractive products are reusable and BPA-free.

Situation:

For years, Whirley searched for a system that would identify non-flat surfaces on its decorated products. “Once we’ve manufactured a product, it’s sent to our decoration and assembly department where a label is added,” explains Renee Shutters, Quality Engineering Manager at Whirley-DrinkWorks. “That label needs to adhere smoothly to the product, and that can be tricky when the product is conical in shape. If the product’s surface has any sort of indentation or imperfection, bubbles can appear in the label. In those cases, someone will need to manually remove the label, re-adhere it, and smooth out the bubbles – a very time-consuming process!”

In the past, Whirley had tried both a portable 3D scanner and coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to inspect label surfaces, but found that they did not perform as well as a standard metal straight edge used to judge flatness by eye.

Solution:

After learning about the automated 3D scanners produced by Shapegrabber, Whirley-DrinkWorks evaluated and purchased a Shapegrabber scanner to quickly and thoroughly scan its complex-shaped food and beverage containers.

“No other piece of equipment has given us the capabilities and accuracy we’ve achieved with the Shapegrabber scanner,” says John Snyder, Assistant Quality Engineering Manager at Whirley-DrinkWorks. “From the first tests, we could see exactly where bubbles would appear. The scans consistently showed exactly what was on the product and allowed us to accurately identify and address imperfections before they made it to the production line. And we’ve yet to find a position that the laser won’t read.”

In addition to providing the accuracy needed by the company, Whirley-DrinkWorks has found the Shapegrabber scanner to be very intuitive and easy to use. “We have a variety of skill levels within the team – from highly-proficient computer users to employees who don’t work with computers at all,” adds Snyder. “The Shapegrabber scanner has been easy to learn and work with, and has stood out from other products we’ve used.”

Moving forward, Whirley-Drinkworks plans to expand the use of its Shapegrabber scanner to inspect additional product components such as drinking cup lids.

“We’ve been extremely happy with the scanner to date and our interactions with Shapegrabber,” says Shutters. “We purchase a lot of technical equipment and would say that Shapegrabber is one of the best firms to buy from – not only for its excellent product support but for the reliability of the equipment.”

About Whirley-DrinkWorks

Whirley-DrinkWorks! has 50 years of experience designing and manufacturing food & beverage containers for a variety of different channels such as Restaurants, Amusement Parks, Convenience Stores, Fairs & Festivals, Resorts, and many more. Its product offerings include food and beverage containers for Coffee, Kids, Food, Barware and Cold Drink promotional programs. It also offers a full range of services including new product development, custom graphics, and turn-key programs to help customers increase margins on food & beverage sales. Its headquarters are located in Warren Pennsylvania. www.whirleydrinkworks.com

About Inspection Technologies

Inspection Technologies is a distributor for highest quality metrology equipment throughout Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Their primary focus is to provide a world class product in a timely manner that meets with your business requirements. Inspection Technologies provides sales, service and training to a wide range of industries. www.itgage.com

About Shapegrabber

Shapegrabber is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quality Vision International, the world’s largest vision metrology company. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Shapegrabber designs, manufactures, and sells automated 3D scanners that are ideal for measuring complex shapes such as injection-molded plastics, castings, and stampings that are otherwise too time consuming, costly, or difficult to measure. Considered to be one of the industrial pioneers in the field, Shapegrabber has been supplying automated 3D scanners to customers in the automotive, aerospace, medical, and other industries since 1993.