Production Line Inspection System
When the leading confectionery manufacturer, Pladis decided to implement a new production line in their Jacobs factory in Liverpool, they turned to Adbro controls to provide a suitable solution for a production line inspection and rejection process.
Within the biscuit industry automated packaging machines are often deployed due to their speed and efficiency. To ensure they run smoothly, it is important that the shape and size of product is kept within acceptable tolerances. If misshapen or broken biscuits can be identified and removed prior to entering the packaging machines downtime due to stoppages can be kept to a minimum.
One way to achieve this is using a machine vision system with automated reject. With our extensive knowledge and experience within this engineering discipline, we were able to design and install a suitable solution for Pladis.
Taking into account the requirement for a production line inspection system, our design consists of an array of six area scan cameras spaced evenly over the width of the conveyor. The individual images captured from each camera are stitched together providing a complete view of the belt. The Image capture is controlled by an encoder synced trigger signal, this allows image capture to be tied to belt speed, providing a continuous 100% belt coverage. Two linear array white LED lights are used to illuminate the inspection area.
As each individual product passes under the camera it is inspected for its shape and dimensions. We can inspect and measure multiple aspects of the product, from Length, width, area, angle, and deviation from target shape. The pass criteria for each measurement can be set via the HMI by the operator. If a product is found to lie outside the configured limits, then it is marked as a reject and tracked through the system until it can be removed from the line.
To remove defective products from the line a pull-nose conveyor was installed. The end of the conveyor retracts at the correct time allowing the reject to fall from the line. Rejects are then carried to a scrap bin by a secondary conveyor.
The software uses a recipe system for storing configuration and pass/fail tolerances. This allows different product types to be setup and easily switched between by an operator. As well as providing real-time trends, the results of each inspection are logged to a database. This data can be queried to generate reports, assisting managers in gaining an insight into the overall performance of the line.
The system inspects 1920 products a minute providing 100% inspection. Operators can easily switch between configurations for the three different product types run on the line thus allowing for a efficient change over of inspection when required.
By identifying and removing misshapen items, stoppages due to product jams further down the line are significantly reduced. This has led to an improvement in the performance of the line. Additionally, the quality of product reaching the end customer is also improved.