Compact vision system achieves 100% defect detection rate on high-speed indexing machine
Capilano Honey is one of the world leaders in honey production and with operations in Australia,Canada and Argentina, it has the capacity to process and pack over 25,000 tonnes of honey each year. At home in Australia, Capilano Honey is the market leader and over the last 50 years the Capilano name has become synonymous in every household with premium quality Australian honey. For a company of this calibre, however, quality assurance extends beyond the product itself: Capilano Honey insists that their product packaging also meets stringent quality controls.
The innovative twist and squeeze pack is used by Capilano Honey for a number of its honey products. An integral component of the pack is the spout which forms the seal for the honey container. An incorrectly assembled spout compromises the seal integrity of the pack giving rise to the possibility of production contamination. Product spillages and recalls can be costly for any company and for Capilano Honey the risk to its highly regarded reputation was also not one it was willing to take. Its seal fault detection system had to get it right every time.
The problem with people
No manual operation is infallible; a manual system is always vulnerable to a degree of human error. At the Capilano Honey packaging facility in Richlands (Brisbane), Queensland, the assembly of each cap and base was traditionally checked manually before being dispatched to the filling line. With an assembly rate of one spout per second, operators needed to work quickly to weed out any incorrectly assembled spouts; and no two operators’ judgement of a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ spout is ever the same. As a result, incorrectly assembled spouts were not always detected and required reworking further down the production line.
A case for automation
Scott Automation & Robotics approach to the seal inspection project at Capilano Honey was simple. Use advanced technology to create a compact and easily integrated solution. The result is the Cognex Insight 5100 vision system and complementary lighting system – a fully automated solution that eliminates the need for operators to manually check the accuracy of spout assembly.
The vision system at work
The Cognex Insight 5100 inspection system installed on the Capilano Honey indexing machine inspects for correct cap placement on the product selected before being dispatched to the filling line. With the margin between a correctly and incorrectly assembled spout being just fractions of a millimetre, a high degree of accuracy is required from the vision system for detection of the cap outline. To assist in this the lighting solution selected by MAR is a 24VDC light intensity controlled backlight. The backlight provides a silhouette effect on the part to be inspected by the vision system; this, in turn, provides an extremely accurate image to be captured by the Insight camera’s measurement tools. Accurate positioning of the vision tools themselves is also critical if the system is to effectively sample the gap, if one exists, between the cap and the base.
Equipped with ‘Best in Industry’ vision tools, the Cognex Insight performs the task effortlessly with a speed of operation capable of sampling an impressive 900-1000 inspections per minute: many times more than the 300 parts per minute inspection rate previously required by this application.
Adding up the benefits
For a large-scale company where maintaining a reputation for quality is of paramount importance this surprisingly compact fault detection vision system solution delivers a number of benefits to Capilano Honey including:
- An integrated vision system including electrical and mechanical design, software and functional design, vision I/O interface to PLC, installation, modification and on-line commissioning
- A high-speed seal inspection vision system delivering guaranteed quality assurance
- Labour reductions: this automated solution eliminates the need for manual defect detection by operators
- A user-friendly solution and comprehensive training
- An effective partnership of world-leading Cognex vision technology and MAR’s extensive vision system integration experience
- Expertise in lens, lighting and camera selections
- A compact system easily retrofitted into the existing assembly line with minimal disruption during system installation
Technology at work for Capilano Honey
- The Cognex Insight 5100 vision sensor was selected for its impressive 640 x 480 pixel resolution capable of operating at a speed of 60F/sec
- Programming of the sensor was made possible via inbuilt Ethernet communications (with 10/100 base-T capability) using simple windows-based Insight Explorer software
- The camera’s onboard I/O was used to interface the spout position to the camera for image acquisition and processing, and also to convey inspection results to the reject mechanism and statistics counters
- The vision system is supplied with M12 stainless steel connectors
- The Cognex Insight vision system has an IP67 camera rating
- Two high-speed outputs are standard with the vision system
- The system provides full backwards compatibility with existing Insight projects
- The compact solution with 16mm machine vision lens and a strobed red LED backlight made retrofitting to the existing assembly line possible