Similar SKU Treads were getting mislabeled before shipment. Some SKUs have very similar tread patterns but vary in width by only 1/2 inch. With the product being black rubber, imaging the product can be quite difficult, and with 100s of different SKUs, pretraining all the SKUs is not feasible.
An auto-guide interacts with the PLC to get the current SKU and opens/closes it to the appropriate width, allowing the tread to be centered over a combination of 3D laser displacement cameras. The tread is imaged as it passes over an encoder / grooved conveyor rollers. The image is converted into a 2D image and contrast-enhanced.
A Setup Wizard allowed the local QA staff to easily train a new SKU in less than 10 minutes. Vision Scripts are stored on a central repository, allowing all three finishing lines to use the same files.
Track and Trace dashboard allows QA to review inspection results and replay images in case of a future customer complaint.
When customers are finished with a laser ink cartridge, they often send it back using the return box provided with new cartridges. These cartridges are returned to centralized recycling centers across the country by the truck loads. Used cartridges are removed from their packaging and thrown onto a conveyor belt for manual sorting. As volumes steadily increase, additional workforce is required to aid in the sorting. Since the recycling center is credited for each cartridge processed and specific cartridges have a higher number of recyclable components than others, an accurate count of models is highly desired.
PC-based vision system monitors the conveyor for cartridges as they enter into the field of view. At this point, it makes note of the cartridge's encoder location and its orientation. Using a blob tool, the system pre-classifies cartridges based on their shape using a high-end multi-core processor for parallelized pattern matching. Subsequent secondary pattern matching is performed in some instances to identify other key markers when subcategorization is required. A local register retains counts of each cartridge identified. Encoder location, orientation, and cartridge ID are passed to a spider robot to pick and place the cartridges into large bins. Multiple instances and orientations of well over one hundred cartridges were trained into the system.
The existing smart sensor did not have the tools to determine if label placement was out of spec. Quality Department requested the ability to make sure that the Lot/Date code is present.
The line was moved from another facility to a local one, and no documentation could be found. The existing controls system was reverse engineered, and the vision camera was upgraded to a Cognex InSight that mimicked the old system. Retrofit required the removal of some of the existing material handling components, which were removed, modified, and installed over a long weekend. The system was successfully brought online for the start of production.
Prior to a tray of vials being loaded in the freeze dryer, the number of vials needs to be counted and documented. Depending on the size of the vials, the number of vials on a tray can range from 100 to 225. Descrepencies between the manual count and actual count occur from time to time.
Due to the need for a continuous laminar airflow on the vials within the cleanroom, the vision system components could not be mounted directly above the vial tray. High-intensity side lights were deployed on the side of the tray. The vials would act as a light pipe allowing for sufficient contrast for the smart camera to identify and count the vials. The HMI of the software provided the Operator with an overlay for each bottle located, and a foot pedal allowed the Operator to acknowledge the count. The images were archived, and a PDF-generated report was saved to network storage at the end of the batch.
A labeling system was added to a mixed nut packaging line. A single line can process 16 different product lines at 120 - 150 jars per minute. Some products use very similar labels, with differences attributed to what country the product is being shipped to. Occasionally the wrong labels are loaded into the labeling system. If this goes unnoticed, a large number of jars need to have their labels removed, and new ones applied.
Cognex InSight cameras were mounted downstream from the labeler to view the front and backside of the jar. Multiple pattern matching zones were established to ensure no two different labels would generate a false positive and stored in a lookup table. Ethernet/IP communications was established between the PLC and the smart camera for effortless product changeovers via a PanelView HMI.
A Temp labor team assembled packaging for box displays for a Trading Card game. Occasionally cards or accessories were incorrect or missing.
The product enters a multicamera light tunnel and a QA engineer uses a Wizard to draw ROIs for each card and accessory. Cognex VisionPro's PatMax was used for its robust pattern matching algorithms. The system would stop the conveyor once it exited the light tunnel if there was a mismatch or no match, and turn on a stack light.
Car interiors are often customized for their material, trim, and user features. Variations may be subtle and batch runs are small. An end-of-line inspection system is needed to ensure the product that was assembled matches the build ticket.
A camera with a bright field and dark field configuration was mounted to the end of an ABB robot. The operator loads an assembled car door interior onto an open nest and presses the Inspect bottom. The robot would move to 20 different locations on the backside of the car door interior, triggering the camera/lights, and then requested the operator to rotate the fixture. The robot then moved to 6 different locations, triggering the camera/lights for each.
A mock display is presented to the Operator for pass/fail of all zones. The operator had the ability to select a zone to see the image taken and individual pass/fail results for each Poka-Yoke item.
Prior to loading the tire for shipment, the highpoint is located and the sidewall of the tire is marked with a red dot, white dot, white P, white N or a sticker. Storage and material handling of the tire can cause the highpoint mark to get rubbed off or faded.
Cognex VisionPro was used to identify and verify the presence/absence of the various types of highpoint marks based on the product SKU.
A fuse block assembly for a car or truck has similar frames, but what goes into them can vary. A component can easily be missed, such as a fuse or diode or the wrong relay model installed.
A GUI was developed to allow an Engineer to train a new component (color, pattern matching, OCR) and add it to a component family. Once populated with components, an Engineer can create a product SKU and create a Region of Interests (ROIs) for each component location on the fuse block. The engineer can choose the allowed orientation of the component for the ROI.
With a fully configured product, an Operator can recall the SKU from a part list and batch inspect multiple fuse blocks. Any component that is missing, in the wrong orientation, pattern score is too low, or OCR is mismatched, then the ROI is highlighted in red. Components that pass are highlighted in green.
Key blanks for major retailers are plated, stamped and channels cut. Non-conformances can include poor plating, poor stamping, misaligned stamping, and misaligned channels.
The system was trained with the average composite image of 10 or more keys. Cognex PatInspect and additional image processing were used to determine the difference image, then blob analysis determined pass/fail result.
Opiate Lozenges are sonic welded onto a plastic stick, inspected, and transferred to a packaging tray. An embossed number on the lozenge indicates the dosage of the product. The wrong or unreadable embossed number is considered a non-conformance. A chipped or cracked lozenge is also considered a non-conformance.
Cognex VisionPro was used to pattern match the embossed number; too low scores were rejected. Image processing tools masked out the embossed number, and edge detection algorithms were used to identify cracks/chips.
The product is placed by a robot into a thermoformed package. If the product is not properly placed into the individual pockets it can create a problem with the top foil seal.
Cognex InSight and pattern matching were used to verify the product was seated correctly in the individual pockets. The product line was stopped for non-conformance.
After the products have been loaded into a vacuum-formed tray, a top foil is applied. If the wrong foil has been loaded into the machine, and if gone unnoticed for a while, a whole batch of products would need to be destroyed. Sealed and unsealed products can not be repackaged.
A Cognex Smart camera was used to pattern match key features of the print on the top foil. Mismatches will signal to the PLC to stop the line.
Ice containers getting filled with the wrong chocolate-covered ice cream nuggets, if uncaught until later, can create a costly recall.
Two Cognex InSight cameras were set up on opposite sides of the oval container. Pattern matching was done on the picture label to verify the match based on the SKU. On the ingredient label, the UPC code was verified against the SKU.
On pills/tablets with a surface coating, contract pharmaceutical manufacturers will print a brand/ID instead of making an imprint. Missing text or faded print is considered a non-conformance.
Cognex InSight smart camera located the print, and pattern matching scores were determined for individual characters. Pattern match scores below a specific threshold were rejected.
International mail brought in through airline processing centers are often in large sacks with a 4”x6” card attached to it. Depending on the country of origin, some of these cards are hand written and others are printed. The individual at the processing window needs to manually enter in all of the information on the mail tag into a data entry system before it can be thrown onto a conveyor belt to be processed. This creates a bottle neck in the work flow, since only so many transfer windows can be manned and managed to allow baggage/cargo trucks to be unloaded.
A portable prototype imager with a flat surface allowed the mail handlers to position the mail tag for image acquistion. At the start of a new load the mail handler would enter in the Airline and Flight number, along with the number of pieces. The mail handler would take an image of that tag and then the local Vision PC would attempt to read all of the text on the tag, then present the image along with data to the mail handler. Once approved, the data would be saved to a database. If tag was not readable, the image was sent to a remote location where it was presented to a person for manual entry. This allowed for reconcilation of a load and moving mail bags as quickly as the manual imaging process would allow.
Supplier for the machines that manufacture the Permanent Residency Cards needed to ensure that the text printed on the card matches what is contained in the database. It was also to ensure the person’s face was printed clearly, and verify the presence of several security features.
Standard lighting techniques and Optical Character Recognition routines where used to validate the text and data that was contained in the database. Image correlation was used to validate the person’s face printed on the cards. Multiple different lighting techniques and LED wavelengths were used with different image processing alghrothims to verify the presence of all security features.
Supplier for the machines that manufacture the Driver’s Licenses needed to ensure the text printed on the card matched what is contained in the database. Also needed to ensure the person’s face was printed clearly, and verify presence of the engraved birth date on the card.
Standard lighting techniques and Optical Character Recognition routines where used to validate the text and data that was contained in the database. Image correlation was used to validate the person’s face printed on the cards. Photometric stereo imaging technique with IR LED lights was used to extract the engraving and filter out the print on the driver’s license.
Dashboard displays manufactured by automotive suppliers are hand assembled with different Legend Tags (door open, oil temp, washer fluid low, etc.). Before the product is packaged and shipped for assembly into a vehicle, 100% inspection is required to prevent quality chargebacks.
PC-based vision system reads the 2D barcode on the cluster assembly and queries a database. The database provides information on what Legend tags are to be installed in each of the 10 locations. Using pre-trained patterns, the system verifies all 10 locations on the cluster and prompts the Operator of any mismatches.
Dashboard displays manufactured by automotive suppliers must have all the gauges (speedometer, tachometer, engine temp, etc.) calibrated before shipping.
The operator places the product into a test docking station, and the gauge is provided a signal for 3 different values. The PC-based vision system determines the angle of the needle on the gauge and provides the value back to the test docking station. The 3 data points are used to calibrate the gauge, and values are saved to the EPROM of the dashboard display.
An Automotive manufacturer needed to verify the correct roof has been placed on the vehicle prior to robotic welding.
PC-based Vision system identified key features of 6 different possible roof configurations and verified a match based on the VIN barcode.
An Automotive manufacturer needed to verify the correct fender has been placed on the vehicle prior to robotic welding.
PC-based Vision system identified key features of 4 different possible fender configurations and verified a match based on the VIN barcode.