In manufacturing terms, standards relate to product specifications. They specify the product in terms of dimensions, colours and materials. Further, they stipulate tolerances, which are the allowable lower and upper limits of each specification. In terms of bottle threads, each measurable characteristic can be specified, including angle of thread and thread profile characteristics.
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The need for standards
Large numbers of plastic bottles are produced across the globe, each with their own thread specifications. These include number of threads per inch or centimetre and comprehensive dimensional characteristics. Thread standards in the manufacture of plastic bottles ensure products of consistent quality. Further, they rationalise manufacturing processes. Some bottle manufacturers have several plants in different countries. With standards in place to govern manufacturing tolerances, bottle types made anywhere in the world should be identical.
International Society of Beverage Technologists
The thread specifications of the International Society of Beverage Technologists influence large sectors of the international drinks market. The ISBT produces detailed specifications for many types of bottles. A typical specification is remarkably detailed, giving the bottle’s neck height, the inner diameter of the neck and the outer diameter of the thread, amongst many other dimensions. The thread angle and meticulous measurements for the thread profile are stated.
Jubb UK Limited is typical of several British bottle manufacturers. It produces a range of polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) bottles. In each case, internal neck diameter and thread diameter are specified. Since May 2002, this Wigston firm has had a quality management system certificate. Their processes -- including bottle manufacturing -- were judged by certification body NQA to be in line with the relevant British Standard, BS EN ISO 9001.
While standards are periodically tested by bodies such as NQA, standards are maintained on a daily basis by the manufacturing plants themselves. Inspection technology available to manufacturers includes the bottle thread inspection vision application by Industrial Technology Systems Ltd. In this automated system, bottles travel on a conveyor belt and pass a brightly lit LED panel. A camera uses a sophisticated sensor to measure and check the thread of each bottle. Bottles with non-standard threads are rejected.
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