The constantly increasing degree of automation in production lines, combined with ever higher throughput rates, necessitates adaptable quality control solutions. Furthermore, especially in the food industry, end customers have a zero-defect tolerance.
The complex inspection tasks for automatic vision systems for end-of-line quality control
The requirements for vision systems for end-of-line quality control today often go far beyond the performance of individual camera installations. Inspection points with image processing should at best detect several quality-related problems simultaneously. In addition, data and statistics are to be generated in real time and used for optimisation and documentation. Therefore, such complex inspection tasks require systems with the latest software, camera and lighting technology and corresponding know-how.
All in one: Minebea Intec delivers turnkey camera inspection
With the new series of automatic vision systems, Minebea Intec adds a fourth pillar of quality inspection to its portfolio of end-of-line inspection equipment. Food can now pass through all quality inspections with Minebea Intec solutions without any gaps: from checkweighers, metal detectors, X-ray inspection to the new automated vision systems. Three different sized vision systems can now be used by users based on the requirements of their production line.
- The compact SmartInspector® can be integrated into existing conveyor belts and completes essential inspection options with minimal installation space;
- The VisioCompact® enables a more comprehensive two-sided inspection with numerous inspection options, also with a minimal footprint;
- The VisioPointer® system offers the widest range of inspection criteria of any single unit, supported by three cameras as standard, multiple types of illumination and optional side and satellite cameras for multi-sided analysis.
Added to this is the range of customised solutions as Inline-Inspector® for integration into packaging machines. Cameras and lighting in the systems can also be extended beyond the near-infrared spectrum to hyperspectral analysis.
The most important test criteria in the food sector, bundled in one place in the line
One of the most important optical quality checks in the food sector is the seal seam inspection, because the product’s best-before date can only be achieved with tight packaging. “Seal seam inspection with cameras is fast, non-destructive and adaptable. Conventional methods do not offer these advantages. We are proud to now be able to integrate this outstanding solution into our customers’ production,” says Dr Thorsten Vollborn, Head of Product Management for Inspection Products at Minebea Intec.
However, Minebea Intec’s vision systems can do much more than just this one inspection process. Depending on the customer’s needs, further parallel inspection steps are possible. Classical optical inspection processes such as the correct placement of a label, the reading and evaluation (OCR/V) of the date, for example, as well as the readability of a barcode or QR code can be effortlessly integrated into the optical inspection and extended by further criteria such as colour, shape or placement of the package contents. The vision systems also offer the usual Minebea Intec quality in terms of ease of use: the control panel with touch screen ensures simple operability with an intuitive user interface.
VisioPointer® and VisioCompact® are “turnkey” and can be effortlessly integrated into existing production lines. The systems come with infeed and outfeed conveyors, appropriate housing for optimal lighting conditions and a terminal for teaching in products and monitoring the inspection. An automatic rejector for defective products is also available. ERP connectivity and cloud-enabled production analytics provide a multi-layered overview of production performance as well as comprehensive analysis and logging capabilities of the generated data.
Optical inspection ensures packaging quality
The additional optical inspection contributes decisively to reducing the risk of striking quality defects and thus recall actions, which is also confirmed by Willy-Sebastian Metzger, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Minebea Intec. “With our new portfolio of vision systems, we are expanding our footprint in the inspection systems business. This means that we can offer everything from a single source when it comes to quality control of packaged food, which is very well received by our customers.“
For manufacturers who focus on product safety, the integration of one of Minebea Intec’s new vision systems is a very useful addition to automated end-of-line quality inspection. Food producers in particular can benefit from this to further optimise production efficiency, product safety and reduce recalls as much as possible.