Turnkey systems use line-scan cameras to provide high-performance inspection
June 8, 2012
By Xing-Fei He
Whether the goal is to reduce waste, ensure consistency, maintain quality, or increase throughput, manufacturers look for – and need – high-performance turnkey inspection systems. That’s why Active Inspection, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., designs vision systems for machine builders to incorporate into printing presses, packaging machines and other web/sheet-fed or form machines.
AI’s solutions look for printed or surface defects in a variety of applications and materials, including: tag and label, flexible packaging, folding carton, converting, plastics, non-woven, paper and foil. Based on user requirements, each AI video station incorporates image processors, I/O, AI software application, lighting, encoder kits, and between one and four colour and/or grayscale cameras.
Software lets operators quickly identify problems
The AISurface substrate inspection system detects defects – including gels, skips, pinholes and contamination – on aluminum and other metals, paper and non-woven materials. AISurface software features adaptable filters for different materials, an easy-to-use classification system, roll mapping and an XML data flow interface. To enable operators to quickly pinpoint and resolve any identified problems, a StreamPlus add-on enables real-time recording and playback of the web or sheet at production speeds, while a VideoPlex add-on allows the operator to view the entire sheet or web while the inspection system is running.
“The key to increasing profits is to reduce costs at the earliest possible stage, and that’s what AISurface allows manufacturers to do,” says Arun Dalmia, founder and owner of Active Inspection.
Sergio Sylos, engineering manager at ENPROS in Brazil, agrees. ENPROS, an industrial automation systems integrator since 2003, uses Active Inspection’s AI Surface system in label, plastic film, specialty paper, and printing machines.
Sylos plans to specify Active Inspection’s vision system on a new line of large, high-speed paper machines and coaters. The systems are built around powerful grayscale line scan cameras made by Teledyne DALSA. Available in resolutions from 1k to 8k and with two or four output taps at 40MHz per tap, the cameras versatility to accommodate a range of application requirements. And, since the cameras share the same programming, control, and interface options, they’re designed to be easy to program and use.
Machine vision application helps pharmaceutical industry
AI also uses a specialized machine vision application to provide 100 per cent inspection of printed webs and sheets, primarily for the pharmaceutical industry and other label inspections during the printing process. The software references a golden template to determine whether a product passes or fails the inspection.
“Our pharmaceutical and packaging industry customers use it to reduce costly returns resulting from mislabeling or other misidentification, meet regulatory requirements for compliance reporting, and increase operational efficiency,” Dalmia says.
The inspection system is built around colour cameras. The cameras are designed to deliver colour fidelity at the industry’s fastest line rates and highest resolutions (33 kHz—2k and 18 kHz—4k), thanks to a trilinear RGB sensor that eliminates artifacts associated with prism cameras.
Xing-Fei He is a senior product manager at Teledyne DALSA. He manages DALSA’s Linescan and TDI product lines. Prior to this position, Xing-Fei served as product manager at JDS Uniphase in Milpitas, Calif. and business development manager at LUXELL Technologies in Mississauga, Ont. He holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. Degree in Semiconductor Devices from Zhongshan University and a Ph.D. in Photonics from the Australian National University.