3D Final Product and Packaging Inspection
3D measurements and 2D image trails help food producers stay on track and avoid recalls
Food comes in many shapes and sizes. The organic nature of food products, with their infinite variability, poses a unique challenge for automated quality inspection systems. Identifying differences between candies, verifying frostings and decorations are correct, and determining that a finished product will fit inside its packaging are complex tasks for vision systems. To keep up, 3D solutions and easy-to-use software are working together to make the food and beverage industry even sweeter.
A Sweeter Dimension
Brand and product quality go hand-in-hand when it comes to customer perception. If customers buy cereal bars that are broken or cupcakes with the frosting smashed into the lid of the container, they may associate the brand with poor quality and not purchase the product again. Dynamic vision solutions are needed to inspect and verify the quality of foods. Processes include:
- Detecting defects
- Identifying cakes, cupcakes, candies, and cookies
- Verifying frosting height
- Ensuring proper volume
- Checking flatness
- Validating surfaces
A food and beverage inspection solution must be able to detect edges and blobs and find volumes. However, the biggest challenges often involve the time and difficulty of setting up the program associated with the solution. Production lines need software interfaces that are easy to set up, operate, and change. For these applications, systems that use real 3D images are easier and more intuitive to use than 2D systems with flat images that use color to represent different heights.
3D Volume Measurements Made Easy
Vision software, such as In-Sight software, provides true 3D blob tools and 3D edge extractors to verify lengths, widths, heights, volumes, and more. In-Sight software with the In-Sight 3D-L4000 smart camera from Cognex makes it easy to set up the plane of a floor or conveyor and to measure all other objects from that reference. The software then determines every pixel’s 3D location above and below that plane with true 3D linear and volumetric measurements. By working in familiar programs such as spreadsheets, even nontechnical operators can understand the In-Sight software.
Finally, the In-Sight 3D-L4000’s unique optical scanning engine offers several benefits over all other competing solutions, including eye safe operation while delivering more light to the surface for faster throughput, more accurate 3D point clouds for measurements, and the ability to measure 100% of the In-Sight 3D-L4000’s field of view even if up to 50% of the laser is blocked by debris. This third benefit is an unprecedented achievement in 3D laser scanning, which normally limits the designer’s option to mount the scanner upside down because of concerns about debris blocking the laser light.
Offering both 2D and true 3D vision imaging capability, the In-Sight 3D-L4000 high-performance smart camera captures measurements and images for advanced food packaging applications, production audits, and liability protection. With the In-Sight 3D-L4000, food producers and packagers can maximize productivity without compromising the safety of their customers.