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Friday, March 31, 2023
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Precision and speed in dimensional controls of L'Oréal vials and capsules

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence's Optiv 3.2.2 multi-sensor machine equipped with palletization mode offers precise and automated dimensional measurements of L'Oréal capsules and vials, and allows for the development of packaging expertise on other analytical criteria such as deformation and verticality vial.

Created in France in 1909, the L'Oréal group has 88,000 employees worldwide. It relies on its excellence in the fields of research and innovation and its 4,100 researchers to meet all beauty aspirations in the world, and has made ambitious commitments in terms of sustainable development on the horizon. 2030, bringing together its entire ecosystem for a more inclusive and sustainable society.

With more than 10,000 employees at 44 production sites in charge of 36 international brands, L'Oréal France accounts for more than a quarter of the group's global production. The 240 people at the Rambouillet production site, near Paris, are in charge of the production of nearly 300 million units per year of haircare and skincare of the shampoo type, shampoo and shower, including those for the Elsève and Dop brands.

L'Oréal's marketing and development teams create each new product (franchise) in a different shape, colour and/or material depending on the product categories or targeted markets. Recycled resin bottles, for example, represent one of the latest ecological innovations of the L'Oréal Paris brand. Each new creation requires adaptation in production processes. Specific tests are needed to ensure that any new packaging can be adapted to the packaging lines. They are also essential to validate that production will be done in the right conditions with the right yields and therefore without loss of pace in the medium term. Eric Debreuille, chemical engineer is responsible for packaging the Rambouillet site and in charge of this process. He works closely with the group's centralised packaging/development departments as well as the plant's technical packaging teams.

"My role is, among other things, to ensure that design choices are matched with packaging equipment. To do this, on the basis of the product definition, a formalized risk analysis allows to assess the impacts of packaging developments on industrial equipment. This means organising, monitoring and supporting the trials by synthesizing the results that will validate the technical choice or not,"explains Éric Debreuille.

Two quality systems thus coexist at L'Oréal: design quality (packaging) and conformity quality (production). Éric Debreuille navigates between the two. In design, he contributes to the product definition and the industrial feasibility (tests) that he builds and realizes with the centralized packaging and the technical teams, allowing or not the approval of the new packaging item.

In the quality-compliance department of the site, laboratory technicians check whether the products are compliant, especially during the first production of a new format or during a change of material. The specifications and specifications of these new packagings specify the dimensional measurements to be carried out.

The Optiv M offers precision, reliability and speed of measurements of vials and capsules as well as real expertise. "We used to do our dimensional measurements using hand tools, including using electronic backstage feet. However, some measures were very complex to implement, especially those to be carried out inside a capsule and even on a bottle," recallsÉric Debreuille.

The need for a three-dimensional measuring machine to help develop real packaging expertise, mainly on vials, resulted from a request for analysis from Sematec, a member of the Hexagon Group. This is how the Optiv multi-sensor machine was presented at L'Oréal. "Our decision group, consisting of the quality manager, the laboratory manager and myself, stipulated that the new tool should not only enable a more reliable, faster and automated dimensional analysis, but also allow for a concrete interpretation of the deformations of the faces - verticalities observed on our vials. The aim is to correlate these measures with our quality problems found on the packaging lines. » 

Combined with a series of sensors for very fast, accurate and versatile measurements, the Optiv M 3.2.2 was the solution for the inspections and analyses sought by L'Oréal. "We were able to quickly reduce the control time on the vials by five, while guaranteeing more reliable measurements thanks to the combination of the machine's vision and sensor techniques, perfectly suited to the measurement of certain ratings. And the measurement time of the capsules has been divided by ten thanks to the palletization of the system adapted to our needs, says Éric Debreuille. Opus, a partner of Hexagon, has been able to design sophisticated, high-quality applications adapted to our various items to be controlled and thus optimize the measurements made with our three-dimensional machine. These equipments allow, among other things, to compensate for the limited volume of the Optiv 3.2.2 and thus to be able to measure all the sizes of bottles regardless of their size. »

L'Oréal uses the PC-DMIS CAD software coupled with the Inspect operator interface with the pallet option as well as the Hero analysis reporting software, all from Hexagon. "I have already been able to design about 20 PC-DMIS programs and train three machine laboratory technicians in analysis. I discover new possibilities every day and can be reassured to see our level of packaging expertise increase even more in the coming months," concludesÉric Debreuille.

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