Vision System Provides Objective Quality Spec for Elastomeric Membrane Band

invotecManual inspection of a 4-inch wide, 8-inch circumference elastomeric band is difficult because there is no objective way for a human inspector to determine what is or is not a defect. In general, defects are areas that are darker or lighter than the surrounding material.

The method was automated with two Cognex In-Sight® 5000 series vision systems that completely inspect a band in 16 seconds. The systems capture several images of each section of the band. The first few images are used to adjust the gain to compensate for possible thickness variations caused by stretching of the band as it is rotated in front of the cameras.

We developed an objective specification for defects based on machine vision parameters and demonstrated the ability to repeatably inspect bands based on that specification fast enough to enable 100% inspection,” said Daryl Greywitt, Vice President and Technical Director for Invotec.

The vision system has demonstrated the ability to improve inspection consistency while reducing inspection costs.

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Vision System Provides Objective Quality Spec for Elastomeric Membrane Band

Vision system key to new serialization solution for pharmaceutical manufacturers

cognex-serializationIn order to improve product traceability, prevent counterfeiting and isolate the source and extent of safety and quality control problems, Marlton, NJ-based supply chain software and services provider Acsis worked with Cognex to respond to the emerging serialization mandates and requirements facing their pharmaceutical industry clients. Acsis and Cognex delivered a serialized packaging data management (SPDM) solution designed to convert demand from the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in order to drive individual packaging lines and production cells.

Serialization using SPDM is introduced throughout the manufacturing and packaging process by integrating with existing equipment. Smart camera vision systems such as the Cognex In-Sight 5605® 5MP are a small, but critical component used extensively in the serialization solution, not only to validate the presence, accuracy, and readability of the various labels, but also to ensure product safety and package integrity.

“The Acsis SPDM solution is currently an extension to our ProductTrak for Life Sciences solution that is installed at several major pharmaceutical companies,” Acsis Chief Technology Officer John DiPalo said. “This extension of the solution into the packaging area provides a cost-effective and easy-to-implement way to incorporate data serialization into new and existing packaging lines while maintaining existing machine speed and quality. Cognex vision systems play a critical role in our SPDM solution by providing a compact, fast, and accurate method of reading and verifying the quality of 2-D barcodes.”

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Vision system key to new serialization solution for pharmaceutical manufacturers

 

Vision system eliminates count deviations, inspects vials

count-deviationsQuality, accountability and product reconciliation are production mandates at Eli Lilly and Company (Indianapolis, IN), which is why the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer has automated its mechanical vial counting process. The system chosen would need powerful vision tools to meet the demand for accuracy and repeatability to comply with ever more stringent regulatory requirements. “Second, it had to be very simple to use, so operators with no vision experience could easily modify the inspection on-the-fly during product changeovers.”

A groundbreaking tray inspection system was developed using a color visual inspection process powered by In-Sight® machine vision systems from Cognex.  This quality inspection system, dubbed TIS-3000, is reportedly the first fully-integrated tray inspection system for the pharmaceutical industry that combines machine vision with automatic tray handling, to enable one hundred percent accountability of products.

Cognex tools were more robust for this application than the other vision tools we evaluated, and the powerful pre-processing filters helped us achieve the desired inspection results. The Cognex vision tools provided the most robust solution.”   The image pre-processing filter tools that other systems offered were not extensive enough to accomplish the inspection goals for the vial trays used by Eli Lilly.  The total count of each tray was not repeatable and therefore not reliable.  Filter tools could not easily be referenced together in order to obtain a refined pre-processed image.  Also, to obtain real-time counts of a tray being inspected, additional front-end programming would be required within the other systems evaluated.

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Vision system eliminates count deviations, inspects vials

 

Traceability for medical vials

cognes-tracebility-for-medical-vialsTechnifor and Cognex guarantee complete security and tracability of biological samples for Central Labo Europe

Central Labo, a French company specializing in the manufacture of plastic medical devices found themselves faced with the challenge of ensuring the individual traceability of biological samples stored in particular containers. Each container holds 48 separate wells destined to hold samples of blood or serum. The solution needed to mark two different codes with a result that would be both machine-legible and visible to the human eye even after long periods of time.

Cognex In-Sight® vision systems read each of the codes on each sample. The use of Cognex PatFind® technology greatly aids the inspection and verification process. Codes are decoded during an automated process which compares the relayed information with the information expected. In case of error the process is momentarily interrupted and the bad piece is rejected.

The entire process takes just one minute per set of 48 wells which means the company benefits from increased efficiency as well as 100% reliability.

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Traceability for medical vials

 

Tiny trace detection at high speed for medical vials

cognex-tiny-trace-medical-vialsA major pharmaceutical manufacturer relies on Cognex In-Sight® vision systems as part of their inspection machines designed to inspect small vials containing serum as well as detecting even the tiniest impurities within the serum.

One particular customer, Fresenius Kabi, a global leader in infusion therapy and clinical nutrition, needed a special machine capable of tackling the challenge of inspecting small vials of serum.

In this application, In-Sight cameras were installed to inspect the levels of liquid in vials of serum as well as inspecting for impurities at a speed of 10,000 bottles an hour.

IPF chose Cognex vision systems for their robustness under industrial duress. The speed of the 5603 and its ability to memorize inspections at the fastest line rates is remarkable and difficult to match. Also, this application demanded very high resolution vision, and the In-Sight 5603 proved the only vision system capable.

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Tiny trace detection at high speed for medical vials

Vision Tools Speed Development of IMB Postal Barcode Verifier

fastechnology-in-sight-postal-us_10-webThe new Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) has all but replaced the old POSTNET and PLANET barcodes used in United States Postal Service (USPS) automation.  FASTechnology Group created FASTverify Postal Verification System is the first system that not only verifies the readability and critical metrics of the barcode but also verifies that it is the right barcode. They chose to integrate the Cognex In-Sight 5613 because it provides powerful tools for IMB verification and automation control connectivity that greatly reduced development time.

The new Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) has all but replaced the old POSTNET and PLANET barcodes used in United States Postal Service (USPS) automation.  FASTechnology Group, already the leading developer and supplier of high-speed selective binding and mailing controllers used to address large mailings, anticipated the need for an inspection system that would validate the quality and conformity of IMBs to help mailers avoid potential additional charges.

FASTech used the Cognex In-Sight® 5613 because it provides powerful tools for IMB verification and automation control connectivity that greatly reduced development time.  Mark Breunig, VP Product Development for FASTech. “Cognex offers a full set of built-in IMB verification tools that make it possible to program the vision system to verify IMB compliance with just a few simple commands. Cognex connectivity tools make it easier to integrate Cognex vision systems into existing automation control systems.”

We were able to develop the application in a remarkably short period of time,” Breunig concluded. “The cameras and software that we have used in the past to develop vision applications could have done this job but it would have been more difficult and taken considerably more time. Cognex vision tools helped us quickly bring a product to market that is the first in the IMB verification space to offer a number of important capabilities. Our system is the first to provide the ability to not only verify that the IMB is produced to specifications but also to verify that the right code has been printed on the mailer. The FASTverify Postal Verification System is also one of the first systems with one button calibration and the capability to inspect every single piece of mail produced by today’s high-speed selective binding and co-mailing systems with full image archival capability”

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Vision Tools Speed Development of IMB Postal Barcode Verifier

Simplicity is not sacrificed in demanding a vision system for high quality production

S2bgtrengthened by their initial experience in the automotive sector, 2BG needed to explore new opportunities to develop their business activities. Taking into account their automotive experience and considering market trends for the development of new sources of clean energy, 2BG decided to start producing machines for the manufacture of solar cells.

The first tabbing machines for the production of solar cell panels used a mechanical alignment and centralizing system was difficult to calibrate. In addition, the direct mechanical contact of this process risked damaging the cells themselves. Therefore, the solar panels could potentially have tiny surface defects at the end of the production and were not well aligned.

The research and development team at 2BG decided to investigate innovative technological systems that could improve their already high standards of quality control and eliminate all potential defects during production.

2BG decided to test  Cognex In-Sight vision systems. The application was rapidly planned and installed by the 2BG team on a first prototype and the final result was excellent.

The In-Sight family of vision systems is indispensable for 2BG because it guarantees such high quality production. For 2BG, it’s impossible to imagine their machines without Cognex systems; “Cognex total reliability, the most innovative technology and top order service allows us to satisfy our own high quality standards every time, as well as being able to efficiently plan our business. Another advantage is the fact that In-Sight operates in a simple and efficient manner.”

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Simplicity is not sacrificed in demanding a vision system for high quality production

Rubber stopper placement and measurement

Vision sensors check vials for raised stoppers

cognex-rubber-stopperVials are small. The rubber stoppers that go in them, even smaller. But small things can lead to big problems for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

“If the rubber stopper on a vial is not seated properly before entering the capper, two things can go wrong,” said Genesis Senior Electrical Engineer Lou Cosentino. “The stopper could be pulled off and product spilled, or, the stopper could be pushed back into the vial and reseated. If this happens, there’s a chance that sterility could be compromised without detection.”

The system uses two In-Sight vision systems from Cognex and provides 100% automatic inspection to detect raised stoppers on vials containing injectable liquid and lyophilized drug products prior to capping and sealing.

Machine vision has proven invaluable for this application, by allowing Genesis to raise the bar for quality assurance in the production environment. “Our strength is producing a quality seal at speed that not only looks good, but has high integrity,” Cosentino said. “The vision system allows us to advance the notion that when you buy our capper, you also buy our expertise in vial handling and seal integrity.”

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Rubber stopper placement and measurement

Reading codes on beer kegs using DataMan readers from Cognex

Cognex DataMan barcode readers help ensure fill quantities match stated weight.

cognex-reading-codes-on-beer-kegs-using-datman-barcoder-readersTo ensure the fill quantity matches the stated weight, the Warsteiner brewery, located in Germany, weighs their kegs before and after the filling process. Traceability of the kegs during the production process is currently provided by a combination of label printing, precision weighing and barcode reading.  The labels (and the Data Matrix codes) are subject to beer foaming over the keg and the cleaning water from the barrel washer unit, which make them even more difficult to read. There are often highly reflective water droplets on the code when the full keg is weighed, which would be a challenge for most barcode readers.

DataMan® barcode readers from Cognex are used to read the challenging barcodes that are affixed to the kegs Cognex DataMan 302X barcode readers for the challenging 2-D Data Matrix codes, which are robust enough to read the reflective codes on labels which are soaking wet and wrinkled.

The two weighing stations with Cognex barcode were a complete success for Warsteiner, saving them time and money. Because the reading station recognizes 100 percent of the  Data Matrix codes applied to the kegs, manual re-weighing becomes unnecessary. The DataMan 302X is one of the main factors in the success of this solution. It was designed to cope with the most demanding applications with hard-to-read codes on clocked or high-speed lines. The 2DMax algorithm gives it a crucial advantage over competitive products. In addition, the liquid lens autofocus gives the DataMan maximum flexibility in obtaining the desired depth of field. Additionally, the controllable and field replaceable red lighting allows the DataMan to be configured to provide the best possible lighting for any application. This unique design enables the DataMan 302X to achieve the highest read rates, even under the most difficult conditions.

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Reading codes on beer kegs using DataMan barcode readers from Cognex

Package verification and presence/absence detection

Cermex – Perfect packaging at 150 products per minute

cognex-cermexCermex manufactures the liquid that is injected during MRI scans. This product, which is expensive and sensitive to light, is packaged in small flasks/containers and is placed in special crates for maximum protection.

In order to inspect this packaging, Cermex, specialist in end-of line packaging machines, chose  Cognex vision technology. A  vision sensor and an In-Sight vision system from Cognex verify the number of flasks placed in the crates as well as checking for the presence of a document in each one.

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Package verification and presence/absence detection

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