Detecting PET Bottles to Regulate Product Flow

Detection of Plastic PET Bottles on a High-Speed Bottling Line Image

Application: Detect plastic PET bottles to regulate flow on an airvey system

Challenges: Variations in bottle size, shape, color, contours and translucence

Solution: QS18 Expert
Clear Object Detection Sensors

Benefits: Versatile, cost-effective and easy-to-use sensor helps to regulate the flow of bottles, reduces downtime and improves overall plant efficiency

A large scale beverage bottler fills many of their products in plastic PET bottles. Bottle shape, size, color and contours can vary depending upon the product being bottled. 

On each line, unfilled bottles are transported at high speeds using an air conveyance system. Identifying accumulations and gaps is essential to ensuring a steady flow of bottles. However, consistently detecting clear bottles at high speeds can be difficult. Photoelectric sensors typically burn through translucent targets and faceting on a bottle can reflect light in unpredictable ways. Ultrasonic sensors are very reliable for clear object detection, but lack the precision and response times necessary for most bottling applications.


QS18 Expert Clear Object Detection Sensors are deployed at strategic points along the length of the air conveyor. Each sensor is configured to use the Light Set sensing mode for clear object detection. As a bottle passes between the sensor and the reflector it will absorb light from the sensing beam and the sensor’s microcontroller will detect these changes. Quick detection of accumulations or gaps using the sensor helps manage the flow of bottles through the system, reduces downtime and improves overall plant efficiency. 

Banner’s QS18 sensor is a high performance solution for clear object detection. It features a polarized coaxial optical design to ensure reliable detection of transparent, translucent, and opaque targets. It has a fast 400 microsecond response time, ideal for high speed bottling applications like this. The sensor utilizes the "Clear Tracking" algorithm which automatically compensates for the effects of dust buildup and ambient temperature changes, enhancing sensor reliability and longevity.

The QS18 is a versatile, cost-effective and easy-to-use sensor. It has a universal housing design with an 18 mm threaded lens and multiple mounting options to simplify installation. Operators can configure the sensor using the remote teach input or a tactile push button, enabling rapid deployment.

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