Vision System Prevents Injection Molding Tool Damage and Improves Part Quality

At TNT Plastic Molding, located in Anaheim, California, USA, when an injection molding operation is completed, pins on the movable side of the mold push the part out of the mold. Occasionally, however, a part sticks in the mold. In the past, the operator was responsible for checking the mold after each cycle to ensure the part was removed. Sometimes, the operator did not notice that the part had not been ejected—and the typical result was $14,000 in damage to the mold. TNT Plastic Molding has overcome this problem by using a mold monitoring system developed by A.S.K. Technologies, Yorba Linda, California, USA, that inspects the mold before it closes to be sure that the part has been ejected. The mold monitoring system utilizes the Cognex In-Sight® vision system, which was trained in minutes simply by taking images of the mold in the proper condition without a part. The vision system now checks the mold for the presence of the part on every cycle, eliminating the risk of damage to the mold. The mold monitoring system has also improved quality by enabling the press to run in automatic mode, which increases cycle time consistency. “We were interested in taking human error out of the equation in order to improve quality and reduce costs,” said Murray Anderson, Director of Sales and Marketing for TNT Molding. “We had noticed that the performance of vision systems designed for injection molding had improved at the same time their cost was being reduced. We selected A.S.K. Technologies’ mold monitoring system because their system is very easy to program for a wide range of mold monitoring applications including insert molding, short shots, part presence or absence, runner presence or absence and before and after shot inspections. The flexibility of the system also enables many other possible applications. We were also very impressed with the cost of the mold monitoring system which, at about $10,000, is less than the cost of a single accident caused by failure of the part to eject.”


An application success story from Cognex

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

Packaging machine upgrade for inspection verification

Packaging machine upgrade for inspection verification

The transparent lid of each baby food container being produced at Huhtamaki at very high rates each day has a label affixed declaring the contents and flavor of the food. Each must be correctly labeled. Vision sensors were the only possibility for such high speed production where human inspection would not be viable.

The solution was based on a Cognex In-Sight® vision system equipping both lines on the conveyor with a camera and connecting the Huhtamaki interface simply by OPC on one PC. The use of Cognex advanced vision tools in the form of PatMax® technology provided for a simple interface with the product images clearly displayed and played a decisive part in recognizing the label and acquiring the image to be assessed. Using PatMax, the program memorizes and recognizes an area of text and certain aspects of the label as well as its positioning on the lid.

There is no need for any complex parameter configuration which ensures ease of use and long term flexibility. An item that does not correspond correctly to the image acquired is immediately rejected. The capacity of PatMax to acquire a sufficient amount of detailed information ensures not only zero defects but also a negligible rate of false rejects.

This is a application story from Cognex.

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

Cognex vision in quality inspection and sorting – Gunnar Dafgard AB

Cognex vision guarantees perfect pizza

Gunnar Dafgård AB is Sweden’s largest family business in the food sector. Every day 110,000 units of Billy’s pan-pizza (a brand of Gunnar Dafgård AB) are manufactured and distributed frozen, to food services and to retail outlets in Sweden and beyond. Each individual pizza must be inspected to ensure correct form, size and look, all vital statistics for the success of a brand on any tough consumer market. In order to maintain high production levels as well as reliable and consistent quality control, a robust and highly automated solution needed to be found.

The In-Sight® 5100 vision system from Cognex inspects the position of the pizzas on the production line ensuring the look, the size and the form of the pizzas are correct. Even the coverage of cheese on the surface of the pizza is inspected. Any pizzas not conforming are rejected. The vision system was installed by a Cognex’ Partner System Integrator, AVT Industriteknik AB. AVT developed a user-friendly interface which made it possible for the employees on the pizza line to make choices of different vision applications and make adjustments of the vision program without any previous experience in machine vision.

According to Ove Rydberg, Project Leader of Dafgård, “Our use of vision-system for automatic inspection is an integrated part of the job for improved quality and a better working environment for the employees on the pizza-line. Cognex was chosen based on the fact that Cognex has in-depth knowledge of the food industry worldwide”.

This is an customer success story from Cognex.

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

Insert in a Bottle


A consumer product manufacturer was experiencing problems with inconsistent placement of bottle inserts.Standard photoelectric sensors checking for inserts would often pass units that were not fully seated, resulting in frequent line shutdowns to adjust sensors. Sensor re-positioning also hindered job changeovers.

A vision sensor was installed. The part finding sensor identifies a reference feature on each bottle. This feature is used to locate where the insert should be visible. The Vision sensor then uses a pattern sensor to inspect for the insert placement. Use of the part finding sensor to locate the inspection point provides consistent, reliable readings even when the bottle position varies.

Quality, yields and scrap costs were improved by reliably identifying missing inserts. Its part finding capability and ability to save settings for different jobs minimized setup and changeover times. Downtime was reduced by eliminating frequent sensor adjustment.

An application from Cognex

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

High-volume Competitive Inspection for Solar Panel Production

Gorosabel in Spain needed a solution to inspect its fragile solar cell panels. The company needed a powerful vision solution that could handle high-speed production while performing different inspection tasks while ensuring that the delicate product remained intact. In-Sight® vision systems from Cognex are now performing the inspection task ensuring zero fault production.

Gorosabel S.A. was created in 1957 and, with its extensive experience in machine tool automation, set up the Gorosabel Solar Energy division for renewable energy applications at the end of the 1990s. Their expanded product range now includes measuring instruments, integrated solutions for photovoltaic and thermal module production chains, installation engineering, and handling solutions and production accessories. With over 50 professionals and 3,500 m² of facilities at its disposal, the company has extensive experience plus the ability to develop and respond to new technologies.

The challenge—cell alignment.  The company ran up against a particular difficulty, in that solar cells are fragile and hard to position mechanically. The wide variety of cells makes this positioning even more complicated. Solar cell production is relatively expensive and, given the high level of automation and large volumes involved, quality is a decisive factor in obtaining a competitive advantage. Consistently positive results when implementing machine vision systems in the past encouraged further adoption when faced with the alignment challenge. In addition to centering the solar cell properly, the new system could also perform defect checks, such as inspecting for broken edges or cracks, verifying dimensions, further positioning in relation to the edges, etc.

The best vision system for the task Gorosabel consulted with Ikusmen, a Cognex partner systems integrator in northern Spain, and found a suitable solution using Cognex In-Sight vision systems. To solve the problem, the Cognex In-Sight camera is positioned in order to inform the robot of the cell position and to inspect its condition once in the field of view. The camera calculates the cell’s position and orientation and transmits the data to a robot, which then positions it correctly by the rear weld-on TAB. Moreover, if it detects any defects, it notifies the robot so that it can reject the cell.

This is an Cognex application success story.

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

360 degree view provides extremely fast surface check

In a strained economic situation, it is more important than ever to be able to optimize processes and make them more efficient. The Expert ETK inspection system, integrated with Cognex OmniView® technology, combines many different quality control requirements into just one compact system.

There have been two key challenges to implementing machine vision to aid in the quality control of labels on cylindrical objects. First, vision systems require the bottles be consistently aligned within the labeling machine, and second, labeling machines offer unfavorable ambient conditions and lack appropriate space within to contain the vision system.

Application Solution
But now, the innovative OmniView vision technology from Cognex integrated in the Expert ETK inspection system from Syscona Kontrollsysteme and Weber Systemtechnik has a 360° complete view of the bottle surface which provides new potential for the inspection of bottle features with much greater reliability. Expert ETK creates better inspection conditions Industrial bottle-labeling facilities are not kind places and inspection technologies have always been required to make individual checks inside labeling machines. Heat, moisture, and label glue place vision systems under severe strain and there is less space available, as production facilities become smaller. The answer is to take quality control out of the labeling machine. Expert ETK makes this possible. The checks are made outside the labeling machine as the non-aligned bottle travels freely along the line. The result is a complete inspection of all bottle features with maximum identification reliability and maximum flexibility. Four images, a perfect view At a throughput of 72,000 bottles an hour, the inspection data and 360° image for each bottle is available after just 50 milliseconds.

The OmniView vision technology creates a complete and perfect image from four individual images provided by four industrial cameras arranged at angles of 90°. An additional camera mounted above inspects the quality of the cap. With its specially developed and parameterized tools, Expert ETK checks the quality, presence, position, and completeness of neck, back, and front labels, as well as the location, edge waviness and logo on the cap. The tolerance limits are specified by parameters set for each type of bottle. Expert ETK also detects damaged products, date code presence, and whether the right label has been applied to the right product. The intelligent system can also read 1D barcodes and 2D Data Matrix codes.

The system visualizes QM data in fractions of a second. Specific fault characteristics are quickly detected so that potential sources of faults can be identified immediately. In the inspection tunnel, high-performance LED lights ensure that the lighting environment adapts to suit the different exposure requirements for each type of label. The stainless steel inspection system meets the high standard demanded by the beverage industry and the system is easily converted to different types of bottle at the press of a button or by using the touchscreen with stainless steel scroll mouse. Every detail of the system configuration of Expert ETK can be adapted for the specific requirements of different bottles at any time.

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

Laser-cutting path corrections and inspection

Laser-cutting path corrections and inspection

The Challenge
A medical component company was looking for best solution for de-gating and removing flash from an injection-molded, synthetic-rubber part. The part was extremely elastic in nature, and the required final shape was irregular and held to very tight tolerances. In addition, the customer wanted a total cycle time of about eight seconds for the entire operation, which includes placing a nest of parts into the station, laser cutting the parts, and removing the nest from the station. Before embarking on the laser solution, Invotech evaluated and even prototyped several technologies, including mechanical removal with a die or cutter, water jet cutting, and ultrasonic cutting.

The Application Solution
Cognex In-Sight® vision enables them to get their product on the market faster and meet cycle time requirements. The system designed by INVOTEC was created to de-gate and remove flash from an injection-molded, synthetic rubber part. The In-Sight 5403 camera communicates with the motion control system to dictate the path of the laser-cutter. It is triggered by a PLC to set up the calibration target, move a power meter, and inspect the part.

The Benefit
The cycle time of the entire system is approximately eight seconds.

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

Label counting and print verification

Flawless label detection at 100 parts per second

Reconcile Engineering was faced with certain challenges from customers in the CD/DVD manufacturing sector and in the pharmaceutical sector. Challenge number 1 involved verifying that the right language is present on the printed packaging for CDs.

The second challenge involved the counting of complex pharmaceutical labels. The only solution for both applications was a vision sensor from Cognex whose intelligent part-finding sensor beat the competition hands down. According to Des Farrelly, Managing Director of Reconcile Engineering; “It would have been impossible to solve this label counting application without Cognex’s part-finding sensor.  With a successful counting rate of 100 labels a minute, we intend to include it as an option on our label counting machine from now on.”

Application Solution
Reconcile investigated the options available for this kind of inspection and tested it alongside competing systems and it was the only one to perform successfully. The part finding sensor proved very powerful in determining the text patterns printed on the CD boxes and as a result it was retrofitted onto the printing line by engineers from Reconcile. The installation was complete within 2 hours and even in this short time a mix-up successfully detected and rectified.

The system was quickly installed and is now fully operational counting labels at a rate of 100 per second. The customer is fully satisfied – not only is it easy to use and very stable, but the counting speed is unprecedented.

Recommended Product:  Cognex In-Sight 2000

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

So many labels, so little time.

An application success story from Cognex

OTE Group produce special hydrating, cleaning and lubricating fluids for the lens care market. As well as their own three product lines they deliver more than 100 private labels to customers with their own brands. Delivering the finished products all over the world, they need to be sure that all bottles reach their destinations in perfect condition and in good time.

When faced with the challenge of boosting their quality the company decided to use Cognex’s vision sensor to ensure that the production code is present and also to check if the label is on the bottle. Using it ensures that quality control is improved meaning better traceability and faster more reliable production. OTE Group maintain high quality standards conforming to ISO standards for filling and manufacturing and so they cannot afford to take chances.

Cognex’s sensor has given OTE peace of mind with a 100% reliable inspection of each bottle – both their codes and labels. Before this they relied on random sampling but this is not enough to satisfy the strict requirements of their customers from the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

Recommended Product: Cognex In-Sight 2000

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

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.