Reading of barcodes on paper coils

Reels of paper are transported to various printing presses in a printing works. As the paper thickness and color varies from reel to reel, it must be clearly identified which reel needs to be taken to which machine. The barcode to identify the reel can be at any position on the front of the reel. Comparable requirements exist in paper mills.

Application Solution
Two SICK CLV490 barcode readers are used; these devices are arranged with their scan lines at 90° to each other. The scan lines move over the front face of the reel of paper due to the movement of the reel. With the maximum read distance for the scanners of up to 2100 mm at a modulus width of 0.5 mm and the autofocus function, the coils can be clearly identified and the controller for the conveyor line receives the necessary information to be able to guide the reels to the correct printing press.

Using the CLV490 with autofocus, it is also possible to reliably read imprecisely positioned codes at varying read distances. As a result the fully automatic transport of the reels of paper can be undertaken rapidly and reliably.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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Positioning of Spray Cans

Spray caps must be fitted to spray cans with the highest possible precision, as the nozzle must always be centered above the manufacturer’s lettering and logo. The system produces around 18,000 cans per hour. For this reason the rapid and reliable detection of a position marking must be ensured.

Application Solution
The system manufacturer and SICK jointly developed the idea of using the EAN barcode for the alignment of the cans in the sealing machine. This barcode is always applied to the can and is required for scanning at the cash till in the shop. By modifying the software, the CLV 410 barcode scanners are now able to output signals to the controller over the entire length of the marks for the barcode while the can is rotated. From the sequence of “reading” and “not reading” the barcode, the machine controller calculates the rotational position of the can and aligns the can appropriately for fitting the spray cap.

By means of a special algorithm, the CLV 410 generates a specific output signal even if the code is partially covered; the barcode is sampled sufficiently often and therefore sufficiently precisely due the high scan frequency 800 Hz. Scrap can thus be reduced to a minimum.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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Positioning of Storage and Retrieval Systems and Goods Identification

The requirement was to increase the speed and positioning accuracy of storage and retrieval systems, as well as to allow products to be definitively identified whilst still in the storage bay. All the requirements were met with SICK sensor systems.

Formosa Heavy Industries Corp., Taiwan, a company in the FORMOSA Group, has been developing, producing and installing automatic warehouse systems worldwide since 1982. Their products include storage and retrieval systems (SRS), automated guided vehicles (AGV) and the racks themselves. In order to optimize the process speed in the high-bay warehouse, Formosa Heavy Industries Corp. needed to increase not only the speed of the storage and retrieval system itself, but also its positioning accuracy. These objectives were to be achieved by replacing the incremental encoders used previously with fast absolute encoders. Also, the customer wanted maintenance costs to be minimized. The greatest challenge, however, involved adapting the interfaces and control logic used for the nominal/actual comparison. It was a further wish of the customer in this project for the system’s efficiency to be increased by specifically minimizing order picking errors. Accordingly, bar code readers were installed on the load carriers of the storage and retrieval system for some applications. These would identify the products to be picked locally, i.e. at the storage bay itself. SICK developed an outstanding solution for this together with the customer.

Application Solution
The sheer number of DME distance sensors installed successfully in high-bay warehouses all over the world represented another argument that persuaded the customer to use this solution in its storage and retrieval systems (SRM) in future as well. In this case, the DME3000 precisely met the customer’s requirements because it communicates its absolute measurement values in a stable manner via an RS-422 interface, thereby allowing high-speed and highly precise position changes by the storage and retrieval system (SRM). Furthermore, the maintenance-free design of the DME3000 not only won over Formosa Heavy Industries Corp. itself, but also its own customers. It goes without saying that this reduces the maintenance time required. Last but not least, the overall package from SICK was rounded off by using a CLV432 bar code scanner which reads the bar codes on the load carriers within the storage bay with extremely high reliability. In this case, SICK cooperated with Formosa Heavy Industries Corp. to meet the set objectives, thereby significantly boosting the end users’ confidence in the overall system.

– Rapid response times by the DME3000 distance measuring devices

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get A Quote

SICK Heated Bar Code Scanners

Need a cold storage bar code scanner?

Now SICK’s high-performance bar code scanners can be used in cold storage applications in temperatures as low as -35° F.

Application Solution
The heated versions of CLV63x through CLV65x bar code scanners can be ordered as a complete unit. Integrated temperature sensors ensure the scanners’ temperature remains consistent. Ideal for cold storage applications!

A cold temperature-rated CMC600 cloning module and specially designed mounting bracket for thermal insulation are also available.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get A Quote

The Power in the Wind

Identification of permanent sensor bolts. An application success story from Cognex

Larger and larger wind power turbines are bringing the forces of nature under control. The main structures, the powerful tower and rotors, are supported by parts that play a less obvious, but no less important role: bolts. As simple as it may look, precision tightening of bolts is an art form of its own. Intellifast GmbH is now ensuring perfect support in any weather using ultrasound permanent sensors and Data Matrix codes and reading the codes with the DataMan® 150 from Cognex.

The Challenge
At first glance, all bolts look the same. But, when measured by ultrasound, each bolt reveals its individual inner life and a characteristic surface. It may only be in the µ range, but no two bolts are exactly the same in shape or length. Scattered friction values in the thread and under the head make it a real challenge to tighten bolts with precision. As a result, tightening factors of 1.8 to 2.0 (twice the maximum force actually required for pretension) are generally used for torque-controlled assembly for safety precautions.

Application Solution
Pre-tension instead of torque Bolts can be tightened much more precisely if the target variable pre-tension is used as a reference variable instead of torque. Compared to the “force times lever arm“ of torque, which only takes into account the force required to adequately pre-tension a bolt regardless of friction values. Ultrasound measures the pre-tension of the bolt as it is being tightened. People have been working with ultrasound technology for decades to enable this real target variable to be applied accurately, however, there has always remained a potential source of measured value errors with this method: the transmission medium. Intellifast GmbH from Speyer developed permanent sensors for bolts to eliminate this type of error. Bolted to a specification To be absolutely certain that the bolts have the optimum dimensions, Intellifast GmbH relies on the “digifast®” track-and-trace solution. This process uses lasers to apply an individual Data Matrix code to bolt heads or ends to indicate their ultrasound measurement. At the assembly location, the DataMan® 150 ID reader from Cognex® recognizes the individual bolt by reading the Data Matrix code. In the next step, the bolt’s data is passed to the Intellifast LP 3000B measuring device that assigns the hydraulic tool with the exact pre-tension required for assembly. The process is fully automatic. The simple control and rapid check by the permanent sensor system optimizes the bolting process. Once in the bolted state, the Intellifast LP 3000B measuring system can also measure the bolt to make sure the pre-tension is correct as a doublecheck.

Connecting elements can thus be bolted together at the exact assembly pre-tension required with an accuracy of +/- 3%. The result: lighter-weight, smaller, and cheaper bolts and connecting elements, such as flanges, can be used. Incorporating DataMan 150 within digifast gave the manufacturer the smallest and highest-performing industrial ID reading device in the world.

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

Track and trace of pharmaceutical folding boxes with Cognex vision systems: certain to be original

Cognex taking a role in the fight against counterfeit pharmaceutical packages

An application success story from Cognex

According to the EU Commission, the rate of counterfeit drugs has risen by around 400 per cent since 2005. The Customs departments of European countries seize up to 2.4 million counterfeit pharmaceutical packages each year. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, it is assumed that around 10 per cent of all medicines worldwide are counterfeits.

The DataMan 200, developed specifically for the efficient reading of even the most complex Data Matrix and linear barcodes, verifies that the label is applied in the first step. As the world’s first scanner with autofocus, its liquid lens ensures fast and highly accurate focus settings without any mechanical parts. To ensure optimal lighting conditions, it has integrated illumination with laser alignment.

“A significant contribution to the success,” according to Krempien Petersen CEO Stefan Klöpping, “has been because of internationally standardized and proven components, such as the DataMan 200 and the In-Sight 5613 vision system from Cognex. Only 40 pieces out of 250,000 during the two-shift operation are scrapped each day, a successful number for any operation.”

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 barcode readers from Cognex. The DataMan 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  can deal with an hourly throughput of 450 units.

The DataMan image-based code reader replaced laser scanners that KLS had previously used. DataMan  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 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. 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, 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.

Product: Cognex DataMan 360

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

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

ID Readers save assembly time and improve tracking of surgical instruments

cognes-surgical-instrumentsAssembling accurate sets of instruments for the many different types of surgery performed in a typical hospital is a time-consuming and difficult manual task at most hospitals. Censis has developed a software product called Censitrac that allows hospitals to set up surgical set pick lists and then ensures that the correct instruments are loaded into surgical sets. A 2D Data Matrix barcode is electrochemically applied to each instrument and this barcode is scanned during the assembly process to ensure accurate set assembly and track the location of every instrument. It’s very difficult to read a barcode on the shiny surface of a surgical instrument. Censis went through five different generations of ID readers before it found one, the Cognex DataMan® 7500, that provides the accuracy, speed and ease of use required by this critical application.

The Challenge:

Technicians in the central sterile department typically wash instruments, re-assemble them into sets based on pick lists provided by surgeons, and sterilize them so they are ready for the next day’s surgery. The problem is that when surgeons open the kit the next day instruments may be missing and it may be necessary to delay surgery while technicians race around looking for them. The surgical set assembly challenge “In the past we assembled instruments based on a document that we called a count sheet,” said Pat Stefanik, Registered Nurse and Central Sterile Manager at Saint Thomas Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee. “This task was complicated by the wide range of individual preferences among the different surgeons and by the large number of non-traditional instruments that are used by our surgeons. For example, some like all their curettes together and all their scissors together while others want all the ringed instruments together. The result was that the relationship between Central Sterile and Surgical was not as good as it should have been. An instrument would turn up missing and the first thought was that Central Sterile had made a mistake.” “There are many problems with the traditional approach of using count sheets,” said Janice Hardrath, Chief Technology Officer for Censis. “Count sheets are often produced on a spreadsheet and then photocopied. When the list changes it is difficult to retrieve all of the old incorrect paper lists and replace them with accurate information. The biggest problem comes when surgical sets reach the OR with incorrect instruments or instruments missing. This often causes delays in the OR, risks to the outcomes of the surgical procedures and dissatisfied surgeons.” Another problem with the old approach is that there is no way to identify or document instruments or track their movements. In the event of a biological test problem with a sterilizer load, the hospital needs to know exactly which instruments were in the load and their current location. This is difficult with the conventional approach because it is necessary to rely upon handwritten notes and the memory of the person who assembled the set. Hospitals often lose large numbers of instruments and spend considerable amounts of money for replacements. Maintenance is also supposed to be performed on instruments after a certain number of uses but with the manual system there’s no way to know how often each instrument is used so instruments are often over- or under-maintained. Finding the right ID reader has also been a challenge. “We went through five different generations of scanners,” Hardrath said. “Each generation was better than the previous one yet only the latest generation has met our requirements in terms of reading the mark quickly and reliably.” The instruments are typically a silvery metal, normally either stainless steel or aluminum. Some have a matte surface while others have a mirror surface. Some instruments are flat and others are curved. The reflectivity of the surface makes it difficult to form a good image of the mark. Generally, the scanners that Censis has tried in the past were able to read the marks by using algorithms that account for the reflectivity of the surface. The problem is that the scanning and computation took too long. When delays occurred, technicians typically pulled the instrument away and started over again or went back to the previous manual methods. The best results are achieved by moving the instrument slowly from one side to the others so that the scanner can view the mark from different angles and apply algorithms to account for the reflectivity.

Censis has developed a software product called Censitrac that allows hospitals to set up surgical set pick lists and then ensures that the correct instruments are loaded into surgical sets. A 2D Data Matrix barcode is electrochemically applied to each instrument and this barcode is scanned during the assembly process to ensure accurate set assembly and track the location of every instrument. It’s very difficult to read a barcode on the shiny surface of a surgical instrument.

Finding the right ID reader
Censis went through five different generations of ID readers before it found one, the Cognex DataMan 7500, that provides the accuracy, speed and ease of use required by this critical application.  The founders of Censis developed the concept of putting a bar code on each instrument and maintaining the pick list within a software package. The technician assembling the kit then scans in each instrument and the software ensures that all of the proper instruments are in the kit. The process of marking the instruments and then accurately reading that mark has proved to be the most difficult part of the entire concept.  We started out using a laser to etch the instruments, then went to an adhesive label with a 2D Data Matrix barcode, Hardrath said. It was difficult to keep the adhesive working during wash and sterilization so Censis tried laser bonding the label. Finally, the company went to an electrochemical marking technique that applies a 3mm Data Matrix barcode. This marking method has been demonstrated to provide the durability and readability needed to stand up to surgery, washing and sterilization. Hardrath set up what she called a scan-off competition to find the best possible vision system for the job.  I put together an assortment of 30 different instruments of various types including curved, flat, shiny, matte, colored and uncolored. I lined up three of the preferred models on the market, including the Cognex DataMan 7500. We asked a number of different people to scan each of the instruments. Then we measured the results, the amount of time required to scan each instrument and the reaction of the people participating to each scanner.  The Cognex DataMan 7500 was noticeably superior to the other devices, Hardrath said.  Most of the people that did the scanning commented that it was faster and easier to get a good scan with this ID reader. So we made the decision to exclusively offer the Cognex instrument with Censitrac. We now have 250 DataMan 7500 scanners out in the field. The average hospital has five of these scanners and the largest has 30. Our customers love them. Most have decided to replace their earlier generation scanners with the new Cognex units.  Cognex DataMan 7500 series ID readers achieve their unique capabilities with an innovative combination of lighting, software and optics. These ID readers incorporate software that handles a wide range of degradation to the appearance of the code. DataMan readers can illuminate marks of any type on any surface. The integrated diffuser provides soft illumination required for highly reflective parts such as electrochemical etched marks on shiny round surfaces. The Cognex DataMan 7500 is the first to offer a handheld verification solution that meets the requirements of the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) 2D Data Matrix code quality grading requirements. Censitrac overcomes the problems associated with manual methods of tracking instruments and automated methods that track the set rather than the individual instrument. The software automates the set assembly process to ensure 100% rate assembly and automatically tracks the movement of each instrument whether it is in a set or in loose inventory. This makes it easy to locate any instrument immediately. Censitrac measures instrument usage, including which instruments in sets were used in procedures and which were not, and determines exactly when maintenance is due.

Major improvements at Saint Thomas Hospital

“From the first day that we started using Censitrac we saw a substantial reduction in the number of errors,” Stefanik said. “Just as important, we now know where every instrument set is located. Sometimes the OR will call and say that an instrument is missing. In most cases, I will look it up in Censitrac and discover that it was scanned and put into the set that was sent to the OR. I will let the OR know and in most cases they will look around and find it in the OR. If not, we will scan and send them up a replacement without wasting time looking for the one that was already placed into the set.”

“We saw a major improvement when Censis upgraded us to the Cognex DataMan 7500 series handheld ID readers,” Stefanik added. “The first two scanners that we used were stationary and we had to run the instrument under them which was somewhat awkward. The DataMan 7500 on the other hand, is portable so we can move it over multiple instruments at a time, which saves time. The DataMan scanner is much faster than others we have used and the accuracy of the instrument is 100%. The DataMan scanner is also the most rugged we have seen. In the past, we were breaking them right and left but as far as I know we have never broken a Cognex scanner.”

Cognex readers power LABELYS solution for comprehensive cheese production management and traceability

A comprehensive identification and traceability solution featuring  Cognexcognex-labelys-cheese

LABELYS, founded in 2004 and based in eastern France, specializes in producing labels made of casein (a milk protein biocompatiable with cheese) This method cannot be removed nor falsified. It becomes the cheese’s passport.  providing reliable identification that allows producers to protect their wares and their brand, defending against imitations and guarantee flawless traceability. Since cheese evolves as it matures reading the label can become a challenging task.

Application Solution:
Growth in the use of Data Matrix codes, with higher data capacity and density, encouraged LABELYS to add to its range of code reading systems suitable for this type of marking. After testing multiple competitors, the company selected Cognex DataMan readers.

Cognex readers provide uniform results despite the variations in label quality, fully rebuilding coded from available data to ensure 100 percent identification.

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Cognex readers power LABELYS solution for comprehensive cheese production management and traceability