We have a large workshop area where we build our prototype camera systems.
These are systems that we deliver to our machine building partners – they build the clever handling machines and we do what we are good at, building the machine vision system. In this particular case, it is for a large manufacturer of a biscuit product which is baked as one whole slab of biscuit, which leaves the oven as a snack for a giant in the form of a 2-metre wide biscuit. It is at this point, at the oven exit that it is inspected by the camera system.
It’s fast and it’s big, requiring lots of cameras and lots of processing power.
This requires quite a bit of development as the biscuit has to be inspected as one big block, at half metre intervals, constantly. So the vision system (Scorpion Vision Software) has to acquire the images from each camera simultaneously and process them as one. The cameras are designed to image each section of biscuit with an overlap between each camera image so that nothing is missed. Whilst the conveyor is moving, the cameras are being triggered in sync whilst the software is carrying out the inspection.
Image processing plays a large part in this application as the images have to be conditioned before the inspection is carried out. The field of view, camera and light synchronisation, light balance, colour tones and measurement calibrations all have to be correct.
So we build this in our laboratory around a MINITEC frame – MINITEC are located just down the road in Basingstoke, so ideal for quick prototyping requirements. We can mock up the final build using aluminium profiles and wire everything up the way it will be wired up in the final build. We get the product from the customers’ factory and before we eat some of it, we take images and make sure all is working as we planned it to be.
We take lots of images at this point and store these ready for development in the Scorpion Vision profile. Once we’re happy with the way the cameras are connected and working, we disassemble the prototype and ship the proven and tested components to our machine-building friends. They then build our components into their machine and connect everything up. In the meantime, we complete our work with the saved images.
Finally, the whole system is completed with the upload of our Scorpion Vision inspection software. The system as a whole is tested and verified with a factory acceptance before it is finally shipped to the end customer where the machine will continue to work for the next 10 years or more.
There is usually a very quick return on investment for this kind of system. But this relies on the ability of the machine builder to deliver a top-notch machine that works almost perfectly from day one.
We are definitely part of that winning team.
Cameras by Tordivel AS
Aluminium profiles by Minitec
Hard work and dedication by the Scorpion Vision Team