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Publication Date: 04/1/2011
Archive >  April 2011 Issue >  Special Features: Assembly and Packaging > 

Better Inspection at Lower Cost
Array of precision vision equipment for inspection can be added to any production line.

From surface mount IC chips, to potato chips, customers are demanding higher quality and lower costs. That places the responsibility totally on manufacturing machine designers to use innovative tools that both inspect for 100 percent quality and increase the product throughput rate.\par \An example of delivering quality and faster throughput comes from food manufacturers — held to strict agency regulations regarding product quality and consistency. Repeatable visual inspections are critical to ensure that consumers receive a consistent and safe product. As regulations have increased, machine vision technology has necessarily become more intelligent to follow suit — a trend that some machine builders are using to their advantage.

The Bud{AE} Group (Masstricht, Netherlands) selected the PPT VISION IMPACT® M-Series Embedded Vision System for this new equipment offering, called the Multipacker®. This vision system can incorporate up to four of the company's M-Series smart cameras — each capable of performing its own independent inspection task — utilizing a single M40 processor, reducing the cost per inspection point. These inspections can be initiated independently at different times or simultaneously, increasing application flexibility, yet the shared processor allows communication among all cameras.

Inspecting for Quality
The Multipacker system is used to inspect a product's quality, including how a product is shaped, oriented and sized, before it is packaged for distribution. In one application of this technology, Bud{AE} used the Multipacker system to inspect hamburger patties — which are fried, then frozen for preservation — to verify product quality and consistency in color. To complete this inspection, the vision system utilizes the IMPACT software suite, which allows users to develop custom graphical user interfaces and create complex inspections via dragging-and-dropping icons and simplified programming. The IMPACT M-Series platform also supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), reducing cabling.

"We have worked with other machine vision systems in the past, but we have never had a system that offers as much value and flexibility as the M-Series," said Mr. Marcel Bud{AE}, Director of the Bud{AE} Group. "PPT VISION's M40 system allows us to provide visual inspection for all types of food applications, including high-speed robot sorting or multi-camera inspections, while reducing production costs and ensuring the end customer receives only the highest quality product possible," he added.

Helping in Deployment
Vision Competence Center (VCC), the distributor for PPT VISION in Heerlen, Netherlands, helped to deploy the M-Series Embedded Vision System in the Bud{AE} Group's new equipment offering. VCC assisted in quickly solving the company's vision inspection requirements for the food manufacturing process by providing a simple setup and economical solution.

"Utilizing the same powerful software as current IMPACT smart cameras, the M-Series requires no additional training to program the unit," said Mr. Marcel Heugen, Director of VCC. "Additionally, we were able to keep system costs down because of shared processing capability and multi-camera expandability: It allows us to inspect and reject the product at multiple locations in the production line and helps reduce adding any value to bad product."

Equipment using smart cameras and machine vision systems is applied in both food processing and food packaging. Smart cameras, such as PPT VISION's IMPACT vision system, inspect for food and food packaging quality to verify correct product shape and size, as well as to verify correct package markings. Smart cameras also guide food products through the production process and identify barcodes and human-readable text on food packages. With these capabilities, vision system cameras — such as the one Bud{AE} selected for its food industry equipment — can help assure end-users that only the highest-quality products will reach consumers.

Contact: PPT Vision, 6301 Old Shakopee Rd., Suite A, Bloomington, MN 55438 952-996-9500 fax: 952-996-9501 E-mail: Web:

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