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

 

Problem:
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.

Solution:
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.

Results:
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

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 8402 and DataMan 150Q 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.

Packing line upgrade for sorting and defect elimination

A customer success story from Cognex

The challenge

Supplying packaging to the world’s high profile consumer drinks manufacturers is serious business. Rexam is investing in vision to automatically inspect bottles in order to ensure that they are intact, clean and meet safety standards.

By the end of the 1990s the company had begun to invest in vision systems in order to improve the quality and reduce the number of errors in the manufactured beverage containers. Then the company got an order from an important customer to develop a beer-bottle made of polyethylene naphthalene (PEN). These bottles have a more glass-like quality compared to their PET bottles and can withstand higher temperatures during washing. During the manufacturing of the PEN bottles, a problem arose with air-bubbles appearing in a small number of them. The customer was concerned that the bubbles would cause cracks thus risking contamination.

The Application Solution

Rexam decided to implement vision systems from Cognex in order to develop a process of sorting out defective bottles thus eliminating the problem reducing the failure rate to almost nil.

Use of vision systems is a part of Rexam’s efforts to become a resource-efficient company. For improved quality and customer-satisfaction in the face of stiff competition. With the use of vision systems, the quality of bottle manufacturing is assured. The amount of unnecessary waste is eliminated through vision inspection.

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

Solar Panel Production: Mondragon found the right solution with In-Sight vision

cognex-mondragonMondragon Assembly in Spain designs and manufactures systems and equipment for automation and robotic guided assembly processes in the solar sector. They needed a reliable solution for their solar cell manufacturing equipment in order to ensure the quality inspection of solar cell panels while in production. A powerful vision solution was required that could handle high-speed production while performing different inspection tasks all the while ensuring that the delicate product remained intact. In-Sight® vision systems from Cognex are now performing the inspection tasks ensuring zero fault production.

Tackling the alignment issue

Solar cell production is expensive and involves a high level of automation in large volumes. Therefore, quality is critical to maintain a competitive advantage and solar cell alignment has been a great challenge. In addition to centering the solar cell properly, the system performs defect checks, such as inspecting for broken edges or cracks, verifying dimensions, positioning in relation to the edges, etc.

Machinery for assembling and handling solar cells and panels requires high precision inspection and positioning systems. Mondragon Assembly inspection applications increasingly require stability, robustness and greater flexibility in their machines. Cognex In-Sight vision systems offer flexible programming capacity for machine operation. This flexibility, coupled with robust In-Sight hardware, afforded Mondragon the necessary stability they sought. The first systems were developed and integrated with the support of local Cognex partner integrator Ikusmen Artificial Visión, S.L..

Vision systems bring flexibility in the guiding and handling of solar cells and panels with high precision. Vision systems consistently detect extremely small defects in damaged or badly soldered cells for nearly 100% quality control.

In-Sight brings ease of use

In-Sight offered advantages such as ease of connection and configuration as well as the programming power of the “spreadsheet”. Vision also controls the positioning of the cell and with adequate calibration, indicates its position by a robotic arm. Furthermore, Cognex innovation ensures that regular improvements, software updates and the latest vision tools are available for In-Sight systems. The powerful, patented PatMax® tool is the innovative industry standard part location algorithm from Cognex that provides accurate and reliable location of parts significantly reducing or eliminating fixturing requirements and costs. With such innovation, Mondragon can be assured that the solar cells being produced in their machines are 100% quality inspected.

The best vision system for the task

“We were able to find the solution to the problem,” confirmed Jean Philippe Aguerre, Project Leader for Robotics at Mondragon. “The Cognex In-Sight system’s technical capacities such as the Ethernet port, real-time remote operation, fast processing, and In-Sight Explorer software were fundamental to solving the problems we were confronted with. The software is easy to use and has an optimum adjustment range. At the end of the day, the price was not what mattered most, but rather the quality and expert support.”

Motivated by their success with the Cognex In-Sight, the engineers at Mondragon continue to place their trust in the quality of Cognex products for other production lines.

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

Vision system enables fast and inexpensive upgrading of tablet printing systems

ackleyAckley Machine Corporation, a global leader in tablet, caplet, capsule (hard and soft), and candy printing technology based in Morristown, NJ, USA was confronted with a serious challenge to its tablet printing business. Ackley Machine needed to be able to inspect all printed products in order to identify and reject bad items to comply with the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) mandate that each printed tablet be identifiable. The company’s existing technology was not suitable for meeting this requirement, being too time consuming and too costly. Ackley solved this problem by switching to Cognex In-Sight® vision systems, a solution that incorporates both camera and image processing in a single enclosure.

“Switching to a new vision system now requires only a short and simple validation procedure that ensures the new vision system provides the same functionality as the old one,” said Mark Ford, Engineering Manager for Ackley Machine. “The In-Sight vision system also is much easier to program because its PatMax® pattern matching algorithm easily finds the printed image on the tablet with a single command.” Ackley deployed this solution in its latest system, which prints and inspects over 400,000 tablets per hour, much faster than other machines, while providing unique single tablet rejection capabilities.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin.
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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.

Read the full customer success story
Vision System Provides Objective Quality Spec for Elastomeric Membrane Band