Experience example

Machine Vision

"Vision without execution is just hallucination" - Henry Ford

Industry
Food & Beverage

Sector
Manufaturing

Project

  • The client has been manufacturing preserved fruit, preserved vegetables and fruit juice cordials in Australia since the 1940's and currently produces over 150,000 tonnes annually.
  • The client had identified production of the fruit cordial Tetra Pak line was suffering due to packs being filled incorrectly, missing straws and QR code errors.
  • To address this complex issue the client determined that a vision system could be utilised to assist in reducing downtime and keep production flowing.
  • The client looked for a partner with the specialist skills to support the project.
  • Key requirements were a design partner who possessed vision engineering skills backed by a deep understanding of automation, networking and ERP Intergration.
  • With a known capability Cromarty were the obvious choice.

Solution

Cromarty worked collaboratively with the client's project team to develop the solution and then to electrically and mechanically integrate the system into two packaging lines. Scope included:

  • Develop functional description and electrical schematics.
  • Build the vision automation system including the reject station.
  • Build the control panels.
  • Install and commission the system during line downtime as to not interfere with production.
  • Provide operation manuals and ongoing system support.

The design requirements considered were:

  • One line had only one size of packaging the other line had multiple packaging sizes, so the system had to be engineered to adjust to the different sizes automatically without the operator moving or manually adjusting the focus of the cameras.
  • Utilise industry-proven vision detection technology.
  • Allowing the operator to select product via a local HMI.
  • Loading known good sample images of packaging, QR code and straw position.
  • Comparing the container to the reference image.
  • Comparing the location of the QR code to the reference image.
  • Comparing the location, shape and colour of the straw to the reference image.
  • On a discrepancy, reject the package.
  • On excessive rejections, halt production.

Outcome

The key benefits realised were the client realised a reduction in downtime costs associated with the line as having to call back incorrectly filled product was reduced and excessive faults were recognised early enough to prevent excessive wastage. The packaging met quality standards (straw available and QR Codes were readable at the point of sale) and the end customer received the expected content in line with the labelling.

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