Industrial design for an innovative production process

Plastic bottles are produced from small preforms in a stretch blow molding process shortly before filling. These parts are manufactured from PET and are subject to strict quality specifications with regard to perfect rounding, constant wall thickness, homogeneity and colour.

Intravis, a company based in Aachen, Germany, has developed a completely innovative testing method that works purely optical and analyzes the preforms coming out of the injection moulding plant in realtime and in large quantities. defortec's industrial goods design visualizes the innovative approach of this process by giving the machine an inclined dynamic housing. Its shape is also derived from the inner location of the testing technology such as cameras and sensors.

Camera analysis in real time

The aim of the development was a system that uses camera sensor technology to analyze large quantities of preforms simultaneously. It works like this: first, the preforms arrive at the separation area in the form of an inclined plane on which a conveyor belt and special fins separate and parallelise the parts. High-frequency stroboscopic light and several cameras then record the preforms, and an algorithm compares the nominal/actual data. In the event of deviations from the target values, the system instantly activates pneumatic cells, which blow the respective preforms out of the production stream.

From design concept to prototype

When defortec entered the project, Intravis had created a first functional prototype that proved the reliability of the technology. There was only a very tight timeframe for design development and to make the product ready for serial production, as the company wanted to present its innovation at the leading plastics trade fair K in October 2019.

Due to fast decision-making processes and the involvement of proven partners for prototype and serial construction, defortec was able to complete the development in just a few months. Thus Intravis was able to show three systems at the trade fair and immediately generate a great demand in the market. Because PreMon can be easily integrated into the production due to its compact design, it works with high precision and is more cost-effective than previous processes.

Industrial design and corporate design

The design of products, whether consumer goods or capital goods, is conceived at defortec according to its own rules. It is always a matter of making the special characteristics of a product visible to the outside and giving it a unique selling point in the respective market field. With Intravis PreMon, the outer design is derived from the technology on the inside. Firstly, the inclination of the sheet metal-based housing represents a formal response to the inclined separation plane on the inside of the process, and secondly due to this structure, the different camera levels and angles can be integrated flawlessly into the housing.

This also applies to the drive of the conveyor belt, which is actually cantilevered and is now well protected thanks to the asymmetrical machine housing. Separated by a yellow accent line, black glass surfaces form the other part of the housing - they are designed as doors and allow fast lateral maintenance access to the conveyor belt if maintenance is needed.

Target cost and immediate availability

Despite the high pace of the development, defortec's team was able to fulfill the customer's expectations: meeting the target cost of the system and to meet the requirement of immediate machine availability. The trade fair was not to feature a prototype system, but a fully developed product that was immediately available on the market. Two of the prototypes presented at the K show 2019 were already sold during the show days.

The defortec services at a glance

  • Analysis of design options
  • Design draft and detailing
  • Coordination of the realization partners
  • Procurement of material samples
  • Design Engineering preparation
  • Acceptance of prototype construction