Intelligent compact vision systems reduce investment and production costs.
Quality and price are the factors which influence buying decisions. For food manufacturers, who sometimes operate on small profits, this can often mean a delicate balancing act. One way to resolve this dilemma is to monitor food production using compact vision systems. These can significantly reduce investment and production costs.
The combination of a master controller, sensor interfaces and various drives, often result in very complicated and costly systems that make heavy demands on operators. The compact vision system SBOC-Q, on the other hand, provides an example of how 100-percent quality monitoring can be achieved simply and affordably.
Hamburgers at the limit
One of the world's most popular fast foods is the hamburger – millions are eaten every day. It makes sense that their production is highly automated. Not only the quality of the meat must be correct but also its size. A Chilean producer leaves nothing to chance and uses a compact vision system to monitor the diameter of his hamburgers precisely. These popular fast-food products must not deviate from a circular shape by more than 10mm in either direction. Any out-of-tolerance items will be ejected and never make it to the plates of hamburger fans.
Keeping an eye on the biscuits
One of the largest food manufacturers in Argentina produces many different types of food and beverages, including biscuits. If everything goes according to plan, these emerge at the end of the manufacturing process with a perfect chocolate coating. Any other result, for example broken or misshapen biscuits or ones with an incomplete coating, is rejected. A compact vision system SBOI-Q and an optoelectronic gap sensor SOEG-RTD ensure seamless monitoring of the entire production process. The vision system can detect imperfect biscuits at a production speed of 200 items per minute and generates a pulse to initiate ejection of defective products.
Another South American manufacturer produces a series of double-layered biscuits with a cream filling which holds the two layers together. Biscuits with too little cream are unacceptable and need to be separated out. Five parallel vision systems SBOC-Q provide this function. They detect 24 biscuits in a row simultaneously at a production speed of 150 rows per minute. This 100-percent quality control has resulted in a significant productivity gain for the biscuit manufacturer compared to the previous solution. This ejected a whole row of biscuits even if only one biscuit was faulty.
Beer under scrutiny
To ensure that every one of their bottles of beer is actually sealed with a bottle cap, a Bavarian brewery uses a compact vision system to check every beer crate after it has been filled with bottles. If a bottle cap is missing, the crate in question is separated out and the defective bottle is replaced manually. Otherwise, the beer crate is allowed to continue to the packaging station.
In the beverage industry, not only ‘presence control’ but also level control play an important role. For example, a fruit juice manufacturer uses a compact vision system to check every bottle to see whether the level of juice is within the allowed tolerances and the bottle cap is screwed on correctly. If one of these two criteria is not met, the bottle in question is separated out. The inspection process is carried out at the extremely high speed of 15 bottles per second.