What is a Vision Inspection System?
Machine Vision, or Vision Inspection Systems encompass automated machinery with cameras designed to visually inspect food, beverage or pharmaceutical packages for defects, and errors. These systems have been programed to take a photo of a package on the production line and compare specific inspections against an "ideal" image stored in its memory. This provides a manufacturer the capability to:
- Compare packaging on the production line to ideal images and reject mismatches
- Measure product dimensions and reject out-of-tolerance product
- Read data on products to verify that correct data is shown and is printed to acceptable quality standards.
- Count the number of products in a case or package and reject it if there is too few or too many items
What are the components of a Vision Inspection System?
There are a number of components available to choose from when specifying a vision inspection solution. These components are the fundamental building blocks of a solution and are critical to the effectiveness of the inspections the final solution performs. For an industrialized Vision Inspection System, typical components are as follows:
- Cameras - PC-based or Smart Cameras
- Lights – used to illuminate the product packaging to achieve the best image
- Framing & Brackets – used to hold the lights and camera in place to ensure accurate imaging
- HMI (Human Machine Interface) – a touch screen monitor and computer enclosure containing software tools to enable the user to fine-tune the inspection for each product inspected.
- Enclosure (depending upon the model) – used to minimize outside light or for harsh wash-down environments
- Addition equipment (conveyor, side grips, tracking modules) - integrated into the system depending upon the production line setup
What is the difference between a PC Based and Smart Camera vision system?
Smart Cameras are completely self-contained systems which perform all the image processing and analysis work using an on-board CPU. Smart Cameras often feature integrated lighting as well, making them ideal for simple applications such as code reading. Unfortunately, this simplicity is not without its drawbacks – on-board memory is naturally limited, meaning that a comprehensive record of all products inspected may not be feasible. A PC based vision system uses cameras which transmit images to a control PC which coordinates image capturing and processing. PC-controlled systems generally deliver faster processing times – which can be important for more complex applications – and carry the advantage of having far more memory to store different inspection profiles and inspection images.
Why do you need a Vision Inspection System?
Inspection of product packaging is critical to ensure products are safely packaged for end consumers. Using a machine vision system you can achieve 24/7 operation and track and record every product inspected. With a Vision Inspection System you can achieve the following:
- Minimize quality defects
- Protect the customer and consumer
- Protect your company brand and reputation
- Offer a return on investment (ROI)
- Support adherence to industry best practice guidelines and industry standards
- Mitigate the risk and impact of product recalls and returns
Investment of a vision inspection system will pay off over time, by eliminating mislabeled products, label mix-ups and the associated costs resulting from mistakes, you can avoid costs from product recalls, fines and production rework. Learn more from our ROI Calculator, by customizing your production data to see how much you can save.