Label counting and print verification
When Reconcile Engineering was faced with certain challenges from customers in the CD/DVD manufacturing sector and in the pharmaceutical sector, they needed to find a viable solution. 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 Checker® vision sensor from Cognex whose intelligent part-finding sensor beat the competition hands down.
Reconcile Engineering is based in Dublin, Ireland. Manufacturing packaging inspection and validation systems, they are leaders in the development of CD, DVD and packaging inspection systems. Their label inspection and reconciliation systems can be found in many high-speed automatic packaging lines in major optical media manufacturers throughout the world. Reconcile provide solutions to gaps in the market in terms of quality packaging inspection equipment, assist customers in the reconciliation of their production lines and design tailor-made solutions for labelling and inspection.
Manufacturers have zero-tolerance for faulty packaging because consumers have become increasingly aware and demanding when it comes to what they purchase. Suppliers cannot afford to provide a faulty product and need to be sure of content for every product leaving their premises. Packaging needs 100% reliable inspection. Products cannot arrive with the wrong information, with missing print, in the wrong language or even with a misaligned label.
With this in mind, clients turn to Reconcile for inspection solutions that won’t let them down.
How do you ensure a French CD ends up in France and a German one in Germany?
One of the challenges faced by Reconcile came from a leading CD manufacturer. They needed to guarantee the inspection of their printed packaging verifying that the correct language is present on the inlay. Mix-ups could cause costly recalls and delays. The customers objective was to ensure that CDs with French language inlay cards are not sent to Germany or vice-versa. The customer also wanted to verify that the inlay cards were properly aligned and oriented in the right direction.
Reconcile investigated the options available for this kind of inspection and tested Checker from Cognex alongside competing systems. Checker was the only one to perform successfully. Checker’s part finding sensor proved very powerful in determining the text patterns printed on the CD boxes and as a result Checker 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.
Solving applications that a traditional photoelectric sensor can’t
This application would not have been possible with traditional sensors leading to a costly alternative involving multiple sensors. With Checker there is no need for an external trigger so different colours or products can inspected on the machine, giving the end-user complete flexibility.
Checker is particularly useful in packaging applications because it synchronizes part rejection on variable speed lines using encoder counts instead of time to accurately track flawed packages between the inspection and rejection points. Checker’s ability to determine what it is seeing allows it to precisely assert it's output at the proper encoder position for each piece.
Count on Checker at “100 labels a second”
Being faced with some particularly complex pharmaceutical labels for counting resulted in Reconcile taking the decision to include Checker as an option for all clients on their state of the art label counting machine. These clear labels with clear backing are marked with a text, batch number etc. The fact that they are transparent and are a two tier layer means that they pose a particular challenge for the machine when it comes to counting them. Previously, Reconcile would have used an optical or ultrasonic sensor. But neither of these options could have coped with such complex labels.
Checker 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 Checker easy to use and very stable, but the counting speed is unprecedented.
Ease of use: “Ready...Steady...Teach!”
For the end-user, nothing could be simpler. Checker is installed on their machine and Reconcile installs a small control unit. A laser pointer connected to a PLC is mounted on the Checker permitting the operator to align the lens with the product to be « learned » by Checker. All the operator has to do then is press a green button, "teach" and Checker is ready to go.
According to Des Farrelly, Managing Director of Reconcile Engineering, "It would have been impossible to solve this label counting application without Checker's part-finding sensor. With a successful counting rate of 100 labels a minute, we intend to include Checker as an option on our label counting machine from now on."