3D and colour camera performs multiple inspection tasks

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Sick's ColorRanger E 3D and colour imaging camera is the key component in a new high-speed conveyor-based quality control and reject system developed by Adbro Controls.

3D and colour camera performs multiple inspection tasksAdbro Controls has integrated Sick's new ColorRanger E 3D and colour imaging camera in a high-speed conveyor-based quality control and high-speed reject system. Designed primarily for the food industry, this innovative system can easily be integrated with existing installations.

Adbro engineer Nicky Brian comments: "The ColorRanger E has enabled us to deliver a complete palate of inspection parameters for critical QC tasks. [Detection of] size, height, shape and some surface defects have been possible with previous profiling scanning cameras; however, the new system can inspect for colour defects as well.

"With all the data combined, the system can replace manual QC inspection, it offers precision inspection down to 0.3mm diameter, at speeds up to 1m a second, on a 600mm wide belt."

System components

A typical system would include the ColorRanger E with a laser scanner and PLC, which tracks the exact position of goods on a conveyor belt. The PLC compares scanned defects against the pre-programmed range of ideal items for approval, or rejection; it then controls a pneumatic nozzle that blows the faulty item off the belt.

Other useful data such as trends and defect types are also recorded. The system could be easily and quickly attached to existing conveyor systems, and integrated with process control without requiring totally new installations.

Brian adds: "We have comprehensively tested the system and its capabilities, with trials on a range of food items, such as bread rolls, sweets and biscuits. We have extensive production and process experience, and the Adbro/Sick ColorRanger E system is simple to install on existing process lines, and to scale up in size. It can easily replace existing sensors, and black and white cameras, and does not require new conveyor installations or extensive downtime, making it a cost-effective method of improving critical quality control."

Adbro has assembled a working demonstration and trial system. Lights and profiling lasers are in an enclosed unit, with the array of pneumatic nozzles over a gap between belts. Defective items are detected, tracked and rejected by a blast of directed air that blows the item into the gap between belts. The display screen offers process control either at the application or remotely.

Contact Sick (UK) for more information about the Sick ColorRanger E 3D and colour imaging camera.

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