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    Plastic Bottle Counter

    Dear Members,

    I have a mini project and I have to do it from scratch. I have to design a bottle counter. There is a conveyor belt on which bottles go for the filling of milk or juice, bottles are translucent and they go totally back to back means there is no space between two bottles, I have to count them, using some sensor and microcontroller. which sensors should I use?

    •   Alt8th November 2016, 06:20

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    Re: Plastic Bottle Counter

    Hi,

    I'd try a narrow light beam (maybe laser) and a narrow sensor. The beam in the hight of the bottleneck.
    Analog or digital filter to avoid erroneous detection of reflections.

    Klaus



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    Re: Plastic Bottle Counter

    In such applications, it is also quite common to use an encoder to determine the "detection window", in the event that the conveyor stops at the surface edge of the product, or when the bottles shake a lot at slow speed. In general this Is not a big problem in glass bottles, but it is in tall soft drink bottles, once they have a less regular base, hence becoming more unstable. Just to add: There are microcontrollers which have dedicated inputs to deal with incremental encoders.
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    •   Alt11th November 2016, 22:56

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    Re: Plastic Bottle Counter

    Quote Originally Posted by electronic_engineer08 View Post
    bottles are translucent and they go totally back to back means there is no space between two bottles,
    Commonly I would guess that a counter based on interruption would be convenient. As you mention that there are no gaps between the bottles, this route may not work. The best bet would be in this case to measure reflection. Use an IR led and a IR phototransistor as a detector. The signal may need considerable processing before you can feed it to the microprocessor.



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    Re: Plastic Bottle Counter

    You could just use a lightly spring loaded lever with a roller on the end, as the bottles are all held tight together.
    Like a kid dragging a stick along a wooden fence.
    Cheers, Tony.



    •   Alt12th November 2016, 06:18

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    Re: Plastic Bottle Counter

    Since they are packed tight
    If you have the budget maybe a camera and vision system looking down
    and count the "circles"

    Or if they come off in batches - weight them when they are off the track - or maybe
    have a short weighbridge roller on the end of the track



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    Re: Plastic Bottle Counter

    maybe a camera and vision system looking down
    A vision system is pretty useful as quality control expedient for detecting irregularities and anomalies, or even as a double check to ensure the correct product brand in production, but in general need to be triggered by an external sensor, mainly if the conveyor runs at high speeds, which is common on filling process on the drink industry. A self contained application based on the camera online shooting by itself should work by tracking each product, but once all of them are of the same brand, it would be hard to distinct one from another, therefore the risk of losing the count.
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