Can Inspection with Cognex In-Sight Vision Systems

A solution featuring Cognex In-Sight Vision Systems

cognex-can-inspectionSelf-Contained Vision System Inspects Unlabeled Cans to Improve Food Safety

Producers of canned foods typically make a large volume of a particular product, such as tomato soup, then store the cans in a warehouse without labels while waiting for orders from customers. The cans are labeled just before shipment, often with the customer’s private brand label. The cans go by at a speed of one every 60 milliseconds so conventional manual inspection is not possible. The only known effort at applying machine vision to this problem used a camera connected to a frame grabber board on a computer. Its weakness is that the specialized hardware is not designed for use in a factory environment. The cameras and frame grabber boards are susceptible to heat and dust. A considerable level of expertise is also required to set up and maintain this type of system, expertise that is typically not found in a canning plant.

Application Solution:cognex-in-sight-vision-systems
Matrix Technologies utilized recent advances in vision system technology to develop a better approach to brightfield automated inspection. “The key to the new approach is the use of the Cognex In-Sight® 5600 vision system to inspect the product codes against the bright can background at a speed of 1000 products per minute,” said Les Haman, Department Manager for Matrix Technologies. The Cognex PatMax® pattern matching tool inspects the product code. This application takes advantage of the ability of the PatMax tool to recognize a pattern regardless of its location. Rather than reading individual characters the application is configured to simply look for an image that matches the three-digit product code. A new product code can be configured simply by putting a can with the new code in position to be viewed by the vision system and positioning a rectangular box around the product code. From that point, the vision system will detect that product code even if it is in a different position or at a different angle as long as it is in the field of view. This approach is much simpler, more robust and more economical than the machine vision technology used on this application in the past.

Matrix Technologies is in the process of deploying 10 of these systems to its initial customer. “Two of these machines are already up and running and they are working very well,” Haman concluded. “The bright stock labeling solutions have already proven their ability to provide accurate inspection results with virtually no downtime. Matching the images of the product codes has proven to be a much more reliable and robust solution than attempting to convert the images to characters. The existing plant personnel are able to maintain the equipment and program them to read new product codes without any difficulty. Based on performance criteria, benchmark testing, and user acceptance, this solution delivers an attractive value for bright stock inspection in the food and beverage industry.”

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Matrix Technologies ensures label accuracy with In-Sight vision systems

Wash-down Application Woes? Bison’s™ New SANIMotor Keeps Your Equipment Running

Application solution from Bison

Eaglestone is a custom conveyor and equipment manufacturer specializing in solutions that are safe for food processing and packaging. Designed to not only reduce accumulation of foodborne bacteria but also to improve productivity with reduced need for cleaning and maintenance, Eaglestone’s equipment has been integrated into a multitude of different food processing applications. Recently, they collaborated with Apex Industrial Automation and Bison Gear and Engineering on a new stainless steel product conveyor used to transfer baked and frozen goods down the production line. Bison was able to recommend a newly designed stainless steel gear motor that would provide long-lasting operation while maintaining a clean and bacteria-free environment.

sanimotorApplication Solution:
After reviewing the design specifications and working with Bison Gear’s application engineers, Eaglestone selected their new SANIMotor™ IP69K-rated gear motor. The SANIMotor™ features a smooth outer exterior encased in 304 grade stainless steel; ensuring clean, hygienic food processing while easily enduring moisture, heat and harsh cleaning solvents. To promote long product life and operation, the internal electrical components are encapsulated in epoxy resin to tolerate temperature extremes up to 40°C. Ideally suited for food service equipment, conveying, wash stations and chemical applications, the SANIMotor™ was a natural fit for Eaglestone’s conveyor.

Once installed, the SANIMotor™ performed very well in the harsh environment created by the wash-down process and provided reliable operation of the transfer conveyor without any maintenance issues.

SANIMotor – IP69k Rated Stainless Steel Gearmotors

sanimotorBison Gear’s innovative SANIMotor™ line of stainless steel gearmotors were designed to meet the IP69K extreme washdown rating established by the European IEC for equipment exposed to temperature extremes, constantly wet environments, and the use of harsh cleaning agents.

To ensure long, trouble free life, all electrical components are encapsulated in thermally conductive epoxy resin, allowing use in up to 40°C (104°F) ambient temperatures. The encapsulation optimizes heat conductivity within the motor, allowing TENV construction. The encapsulated assembly is enclosed within a 304 stainless steel tube and investment castings front and back. Output shaft sealing is done with a two part rotor-stator style seal, providing three sealing surfaces. Electrical termination is done with a stainless steel, modular, multi-pin power connector that is IP69K rated. The three-phase 230 volt inverter duty SANIMotor™ gearmotors employ Bison’s Verdant Duty™ design for increased energy efficiency and are available in two frame sizes (88.4 and 127mm dia.). Each frame size is mated to 7 standard gearing packages offering fixed output speeds from 345 RPM to 8 RPM and rated torques ranging from 7 to 500 in-lb (0.8 to 56.5 N-m).

SANIMotor™ is ideally suited for food, chemical, and pharmaceutical processing applications as well as foodservice equipment, packaging machinery, factory automation, conveying, car wash, and a wide variety of demanding applications where gearmotors are exposed to harsh environments and/or frequent washdowns.

This application success story is from Bison
Tri-Phase Automation is Bison distributor in Wisconsin.
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Automatic Milking System

aaeon-automatic-milk-systemApplication Story from AAEON

Removing milk with no more effort than flipping a switch

Traditionally, we picture milking as a farmer sitting beside an udder of a cattle or sheep as he/she laboriously pull down the teats of the animal, spouting milk into the bucket below. However, the practice of hand milking has long since been retired from being the sole way of milk extraction to recreational activities for some “good old days” experience. The dawn of Industry 4.0 has ushered in a digital revolution that gives many traditional industries, such as dairy farming, a technological facelift and propels its operations towards a very promising prospect. In Australia, for example, removing milk from cattle needs no more effort than flipping a switch

AAEON’s Solution GENE-A55E Subcompact Board

GENE-A55E Subcompact Board

Automatic Milking Systems, or Robotic Milking Systems, existed since the 20th century with the rise of computer technology. Programs and software that drive these machines are often the results from many hours of trial and error, troubleshooting and experimentation. Furthermore, specific requirements from different farms mean that programs have to be specially written, leading to additional testing efforts. The cost, size, as well as sophistication of the machines themselves often translate to the fact that total replacement is not a practical, or even viable, option for smaller dairy farmers.

To address the above mentioned concerns, AAEON provided the solution in form of the GENE-A55E subcompact board, whose main highlight is its support for legacy software and hardware.

Supporting the long-standing but still widely used Industrial Standard Architecture (ISA) bus, the board offers its users the ability to directly program buses without the need for drivers that are required in newer systems. This feature allowed users to leave their tried-and-true programs and software untouched as instructions are written straight into the bus with no additional modifications necessary to the program’s code. The support of the ISA bus also opened up capabilities such as precision motion control (of the robotic arm and teat cups), digital I/O (for functions such as emergency stopping and LED indications) and CAN BUS (for communications).

Also present on the board is Ethernet technology that grants a true Industry 4.0 experience. With it, any factors that might contribute to an unfavorable milking condition, such as unconducive weather or poor cattle health, can be made known to the user via wireless means so that appropriate measures can be taken even before milking begins. And after it does, data such as the amount of milk collected, the cattle’s physical condition and duration of the process will be sent in real time to a companion app in the user’s PC, tablet or smartphone. In addition, via the onboard expansion options, capabilities including cleaning the cattle before milking to ensure untainted milk and sampling of the collected milk can be added easily.

As an added benefit, and especially applicable in a farm setting, the board’s fanless design negates problems stemming from moving parts. On top of that, the computing unit of the machine, where the board is housed in, can be built completely enclosed, preventing the entry of dust or other matter and allowing it to be washed with water without compromising its functionality. Users of the GENE-A55E may expect a long product life cycle of more than 5 years.


AAEON’s continued support for legacy hardware helped dairy farmers modernizes their operations without the need for a complete overhaul of their assets. Its feature rich board design enhances performance of their machines to include the latest technologies.

Read the fully story: Automatic Milking Systems

Bottling, Filling and Conveying – Kollmorgen’s Motion Solutions for Food & Beverage Manufacturers

Here are bottling, filling and conveying solutions from Kollmorgen.

Get a Quote from Tri-Phase Automation, a high tech automation distributor in Wisconsin.

Bottling Filling and Conveyingsmac-liquid-dosing

Whatever you’re producing – juices, milk, beer, wine, soda or maybe an entirely new beverage category – the packaging can be as important as the product. Your packaging processes can make the difference in terms of controlling volume, eliminating waste, maximizing throughput and ensuring quality. Even more, better packaging can strengthen your brand reputation, improve your competitive position on the shelf and increase consumer satisfaction – driving higher sales and profitability.

Uncork Innovation and Performance.

To compete effectively today, beverage manufacturers are looking to wow customers with new products in innovative containers. At the same time, they’re looking to maximize profitability by increasing bottling line uptime and throughput. They can’t afford sluggish performance or wasted product during changeovers – let alone the “Monday Morning Shock” of a machine that won’t run after an extensive cleaning performed over the weekend. Kollmorgen removes the barriers to full performance and true innovation.

Mechanical Systems Are Stuck in the Past. Look to the Future.

With servo control of each axis, your machine can deliver far greater uptime and throughput, along with the configuration flexibility to enable innovative package designs, fine-tuned portion control, pushbutton changeovers and more. There’s no backlash and slop from transmission components, and no limitation on your ability to program motion optimally for each independent process – from beverage preparation to filling, capping, cleaning and labeling.

Clean It Faster. Make It Last Longer.

Kollmorgen’s food grade, washdown-ready motors and gearheads make it easy to clean the machine and keep it productive over an extended lifetime with minimal maintenance. With a smooth cylindrical design and sealing systems that allow us to double the industry’s standard warranty period, our stainless steel servo motors and AquaTRUE™ planetary gearheads last longer and reduce your cleaning time by as much as 85 percent.

Inspecting Candy-Roll Orientation With Cognex Vision Systems

Cognex vision has been implemented in a system to maximize the speed and automation of processing PEZ candy blister packs. Randomly placed candy rolls are deposited onto a conveyor belt. As these rolls move past, an In-Sight® vision system determines whether or not they are facing the appropriate direction by viewing the orientation of the print on the roll. If in fact, the roll is incorrectly placed, it is then redirected to a turning station. Here, the roll is pivoted to face the correct direction and then sent back onto the conveyor belt to be inspected again. This production line upgrade that Cognex has been a part of has since enabled PEZ to increase blister-packing speeds to a rate of 16-18 per minute.


Bottle Rejecting, Diverting, and Multi-Lane Sorting

SMAC electric actuators can reject or divert a single container only, at line speeds over 1200 containers/minute. Movement of container is smooth, fast, and gentle with unique Soft-Land™ feature. Container will not tip over because of force and velocity control. First the actuator must slowly make contact and start the bottle moving then do the high speed push after 10mm or so of movement. Total out and back is 50ms, 1200/min.

Multi-Lane Rejection and Sorting Systems

SMAC is capable of sorting and rejecting containers into different lanes. For example: Lane #1 is used for bottles with missing caps, Lane #2 is used for unlabeled bottles. The sorting capabilities of SMAC can be individually programmed and tailored to your application.

Multi-Lane Rejection and Sorting Systems on a Conveyor line
Multi-Lane Rejection and Sorting Systems


Reliable Detection of Gapless Consecutive Boxes Moving on Accumulating Conveyors


sensor_tgw_2_medTGW is one of the world’s leading system providers of highly dynamic, automated and integrated materials handling solutions for warehousing, production, order picking and distribution. Together with its American subsidiary, the TGW headquarters in Wels, Austria, has developed a control engineering solution which enables direct handling of carton boxes. The solution comprises a pneumatic accumulation roller conveyor with low dynamic pressure and a corresponding logic module – the CRUZ-Control unit – which enables the user to remove boxes from the conveyor either individually or in a chain. In order to detect the boxes, TGW was looking for a sensor solution which could be integrated into the conveyor segment without taking up much space, required no setting work and could be connected directly to the logic module. By working closely with SICK, they were able to find a suitable solution.

Application Solution

Together with SICK developers, TGW created a miniature photoelectric sensor (Z sensor) for detecting the cartons that fulfilled all of the company’s requirements. Due to its miniature design, the sensor can be optimally installed in defined slots in the roller conveyor segments. The lack of complicated setting options, the minimal need for additional functions and the direct connection to the logic modules, make commissioning much easier, and the sensor much more economically attractive. In operation, the integrated ASIC technology guarantees high detection performance, due to features such as the reliable background suppression and safeguarding against the influence of neighboring sensors. The specific requirements demanded a special design that enabled the optics to turn steplessly in different directions, in a similar way to the human eye.


  • Close cooperation during project definition and development leads to optimum realization of the customer’s wishes
  • Miniature and special designs allow space-saving detection solutions to match specific applications
  • Focus on basic functions and direct connection to logic modules reduce procurement and commissioning costs.

The sensors from SICK play an important role in enhancing the performance of the TGW accumulation roller conveyors, as their miniature and special designs enable space-saving detection solutions to match specific applications. Their economical advantages are also impressive: by concentrating on the basic, essential sensor functions and the direct connection to the logic modules, SICK has reduced TGW’s procurement and commissioning costs. The close cooperation between TGW and SICK was also key to the successful solution of the task. Josef Reischl, Product Manager for Conveyor Systems at TGW Mechanics GmbH, confirmed this: “SICK offers an all-round package, from the quality of the products to the scope of services provided, e.g. for new products developed for a special customer or application.” The joint project definition and development meant that the full extent of the customer’s wishes could be fulfilled.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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