Perfect start on the fast track

A customer success story from Cognex.

Tighter insulation regulations and rising energy prices are fueling the demand for plastic windows. Plastic combines good insulating properties for both heat and noise with low maintenance costs. Even in terms of aesthetics, plastic windows have overtaken wood and aluminum in popularity because of their wide variety of colors and designs. Growing variety and rising demand require production lines to be more flexible with higher throughputs.

A hurdle just before the finish line
Just before completing the planning phase for the new cutting center, Arndt Fenstertechnik realized that the process had issues in the material feed area, one of the first steps. Incorrectly-fed frame parts could damage the line, resulting in costly down-time. Hundreds of different types of profiles, need to be distinctly identified in a matter of seconds.

The company searched for a reliable, low-cost solution to optimize this important step. After intensive research, they selected the In-Sight Micro 1100 in collaboration with Peter Scholz Software+Engineering GmbH of Weiden, Germany.

100 types in seconds
A central IT unit indicates which tubular profile should be placed upon the conveyor by the operator. The In-Sight vision system recognizes the profile cross-section and matches the previously programmed data to ensure the appropriate tube has been put into place. The window frame profiles can differ in terms of both external contour and the internal chambers and many vary only in terms of their dimensions.

The smart vision system, measuring just 30 mm x 30 mm x 60 mm, can guarantee up to 100 profile switches a day, maintaining a reliable process. And equipped with a VisionView® user interface, the operator can monitor the current production process.

It is important to Arndt Fenstertechnik to put the maintenance and installation of new profile data in the hands of its own employees. As the extensive product portfolio of window profiles is continuously expanding, the goal is to minimize the costs of frequent reprogramming. One of the great strengths of the In-Sight Micro 1100 is its EasyBuilder® configuration software. New profile detection patterns can be programmed with a few strokes of the keyboard. The intuitive, user-friendly interface leads a user through the entire set-up process until the application is complete. Once configured, the In-Sight Micro 1100 ensures short cycle times and correct parts feed without any PC input at all, enabling successful production of window frames on one of Europe’s fastest lines.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Optical inspection of pharmaceutical labels

A customer success story from Cognex.

A medical device manufacturer needed to inspect for the presence of two dowel pins and a plastic cover on a product. Traditionally, this inspection was done manually, but was prone to operator error and resulted in rework costs. Traditional photoelectric sensors could not adequately identify the missing components due to their small size and position.

A Checker® vision sensor was installed. The manufacturer wanted Checker installed in an inspection station. An operator would place the component into the station and would manually trigger Checker to perform the inspection. Checker uses two contrast sensors to inspect for the missing dowel pins and a pattern sensor to inspect for the missing plastic cover.

Manual inspection errors were eliminated and product quality was increased. Rework costs declined dramatically and production line speed was increased.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Medical Device Assembly Check

A Medical Products Application From Cognex.

The Challenge

A medical device manufacturer needed to inspect for the presence of two dowel pins and a plastic cover on a product.

Traditionally, this inspection was done manually, but was prone to operator error and resulted in rework costs. Traditional photoelectric sensors could not adequately identify the missing components due to their small size and position.

Application Solution

A Checker® vision sensor was installed. The manufacturer wanted Checker installed in an inspection station. An operator would place the component into the station and would manually trigger Checker to perform the inspection. Checker uses two contrast sensors to inspect for the missing dowel pins and a pattern sensor to inspect for the missing plastic cover.

Manual inspection errors were eliminated and product quality was increased. Rework costs declined dramatically and production line speed was increased.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Device Product Number Match

Medical Products Application by Cognex.

Device Product Number Match

The Problem

A Medical Device manufacturer required a Product Number inspection during their production process. Traditionally, this was done manually, but was prone to operator error and resulted in rework costs. Traditional sensors could not easily read the product numbers, and expensive Vision Systems were not practical.

The Solution

A Checker® vision sensor was installed. The manufacturer required a solution where a part would be manually inserted into a precision fixture and when an operator hits a start switch (external trigger) Checker would perform the Product Number inspection. Checker met this goal using two pattern sensors to inspect for the matching Product Numbers based on an internally stored template. As a bonus feature, Checker’s ability to store settings for up to 16 jobs allowed the manufacturer an added benefit to quickly enable line changeovers.

The Benefit

Quality was improved with the manual inspection replaced with Checker. Rework costs declined dramatically and the manufacturer was able to leverage Checker’s job changeover capabilities to decrease errors during line changeovers.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

DataMan ID reader used on cheese products

Unrivalled 2D code readability through a tough processing environment

A customer success story from Cognex

Het Kaasmerk b.v in the Netherlands is using a DataMan® ID reader to read the codes marked on individual blocks of cheese. The cheese mark with the 2D code is applied to the cheese at as early a stage of the production process as possible.The code is made from casein (a protein particular to cheese) and is therefore edible. This 2D code is not however immune to damage, as it undergoes the same treatment as the cheese itself during the production process. Pickling (salt bath) and coating (application of a paraffin or plastic layer) can cause significant damage. The mark can often become distorted as a result of the puffing up of the cheese.

The applied code functions as a veritable passport. In the past, these codes consisted of regular text which had many disadvantages. Isotron Systems and Het Kaasmerk B.V. therefore sat down together and jointly introduced the 2D dot matrix codes to cheese producers. They improved the contrast and cell size of the 2D code on the cheese marks.

Jeroen van der Meulen adds, “We opted for the Cognex In-Sight® ID reader in a waterproof casing. The implementation of the patented IDMax® algorithm also enables unclear, damaged and distorted codes to be read without difficulty. The codes must remain legible during the distribution and sales phases. To this end we provide portable readers: the DataMan 7500 series with its unique lighting source and IDMax with which highly irregular codes can be read. This provides a solution for new, young, and old cheeses. This solution offers 100 percent certainty. It is after all inacceptable for a code to be misread or that a reader indicates a different code than what is written on the cheese mark. This solution is 100 percent waterproof and counterfeit proof,” he concludes.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Creating a fully automated pharmacy warehouse

An application customer success story from Cognex.

Increased efficiency and process optimization have become hot topics for the professional pharmacist. An important technology that assists in overall customer service is a fully automated warehousing system. With these types of systems in place, more time is available for customer contact—valuable time that can be used to generate additional sales. In addition to the quick picking of products, the initial delivery and warehousing of products is also important because several hundred new products can arrive each hour at large pharmacies.

The fully automated warehousing system at KLS Steuerungstechnik GmbH, located in Germany, achieves this with ease thanks to image-based DataMan 500 barcode readers from Cognex. The DataMan 500 scans each product as it arrives and transfers the data to the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system so all warehoused items are cataloged. As a stand-alone system, the DataMan 500 can deal with an hourly throughput of 450 units.

The DataMan 500 image-based code reader replaced laser scanners that KLS had previously used. DataMan 500 offers variable focus liquid lens technology, which allows it to achieve a highly flexible depth of field—even when the package moves extremely fast. With the aid of its IDMax® code reading software, the DataMan 500 achieves higher read rates than a laser scanner and identifies codes that a laser cannot, for example, distorted, blurry, small, or extremely low-contrast codes. Even codes on reflective packaging pose no problems for the DataMan 500. It also keeps pace with the high speed system by achieving image capture rates of up to 1,000 frames per second. “With the DataMan 500, we especially appreciate its speed and accuracy,” says development engineer Daniel Hauch of KLS Steuerungstechnik. “It offers us considerably more handling flexibility than our previous systems.” The new system reduces the workload of pharmacies substantially and opens up new revenue potential.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

DataMan 500 high read rates ensure weight and measures compliance

Successful weight measurements of Beer Kegs

A application success story from Cognex.

The process kegging brings significant challenges and recording weight information. Barcodes are used in the weighting process and the barcode can become significantly damaged while being transported and when in use in the pub cellar.   Previously, a laser scanner was used to read the barcodes. However, due to the amount of damage the scanner was only achieving a 60 – 65 percent success rate of barcodes being read correctly.

Without making a change to the labeling process, the DataMan 500 industrial id reader was able to achieve 63 percent increase in read rates. A key advantage is it has no moving parts which means less chance of downtime due to mechanical faults. Plus, the DataMan is easy to use and set up which means operators can adjust or alter the system themselves without the need for technical assistance.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Cognex Vision in Defect Defection and Quality Control

Cognex Vision Helps Shorten the Defect Detection Time and Ensures Quality Control

A customer application success story by Cognex.

In order to adhere to the Bios Time corporate concept, “to make excellent products, quality becomes our responsibility”, the company required a more sophisticated approach to detecting defects and ensuring product quality control. The goal on the production line is to ensure that every product packaged in a box have the exact same serial number printed by the laser printer.

To address these quality control challenges, Bios Time decided to adopt an approach in which product data is collected and uploaded after the machine vision system completes its inspection. Using this approach guaranteed the packaging quality, improved the level of automation, and increased overall productivity.

Overall, the Cognex products have provided Bios Time with a highly stable and accurate way to eliminate defective products. Both the In-Sight Micro and DataMan 100Q systems are compact, easy to integrate, and feature powerful and flexible software functionality. The system has been adept at verifying and improving product packaging quality, productivity, capacity, and the degree of production automation.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Cognex Checker sensor checking bottle quality

A  customer application success story from Cognex.

When Meridian Beverage Co.’s new high-tech bottling line needed fill-and-cap verification, services provider Hamilton/ITS specified a reliable inspection sensor from Cognex that uses patterns to detect and inspect bottles and caps at speeds of 375 per minute. The challenge presented to Hamilton/ITS of Vidalia, Georgia was to provide a reliable “Fill & Cap” verification system for a new bottling line on behalf of Meridian Beverage Company of Atlanta.“The challenge is to kick out bottles that haven’t filled properly or have had the caps put on wrong.” Said Ray Hamilton, president of Hamilton/ITS.  “The new line runs almost non-stop at 375 bottles a minute so down time on our system wasn’t an option” he continued.

Cognex Checker sensors are the simple and affordable solution for verifying the presence of product and packaging features. Essentially a versatile “multi-sensor”, a single Checker detects features that would require multiple photoelectric sensors, or may not be within the capability of photo-electrics. The Checker model 101E has a built in PLC.

The Checker sensed 7 different features and sampled 5-7 snapshots of each bottle. The numerous snapshots reduced false negative responses. It self triggered, eliminating the need for an external sensor circuitry. Eliminating external sensors reduces costs of acquisition, design, installation and maintenance. After final in-place tuning, the system tested 100% f0r cap placement and proper fill level. Bottles were fed shoulder to shoulder and at 375 bottles a minute.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Cognex checker used in bottling line quality control

A customer Success story from Cognex

The automation solutions deployed in the Ottakringer Brauerei AG, Vienna, demonstrate the effectiveness and attractive cost/performance ratio of the Cognex Checker®

The main priority of the brewery’s maintenance department is the inspection of beer crates and boxes of cans to ensure they contain the correct amount. These tasks are performed successfully by  the Checker, the vision sensor solution from Cognex. In order to allow the brewery to develop an in-house solution, Schmachtl provided a test unit and specialist advice giving the maintenance team the flexibility to set up the checking station themselves. The ease of installation and operation as well as the simple programming of the system using a laptop computer proved significant advantages. The brewery was able to start automatically inspecting the boxes of beverage cans.

The Results

Their positive experiences with the checking system for boxes of cans encouraged the maintenance department to introduce the solution to further applications. The next step was to introduce a completeness check on the beer crates. This inspection method needed to be replaced with a more modern, more flexible and more reliable checking technology. The simple, space-saving design proved to be of great benefit, meaning that no fundamental changes to the conveyor line were required. Operating staff are able to program new jobs quickly and easily at any time using a laptop. With the new “Train and Go” capability, new characteristics can be programmed into a sensor even without a PC. When the job type on the production line is changed, the Checker can automatically switch over to as many as 16 different sensor configurations in real time. As a result, this checking station still possesses significant flexibility potential in terms of product range and characteristic selection.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.