Challenge: Perform an inspection on a weekly mailer to verify postal codes and ensure a correct insert is accurately placed, all while running at extremely high speeds.
Solution: Implement high-speed machine vision with filters, high-speed image-based barcode reader, custom programmed human-machine interface (HMI), signaling stack light, and trigger sensors
Story: Several years ago, the engineers at EMP Technical Group completed a project for the publisher of a weekly mailer, allowing them to successfully inspect postal codes on outgoing envelopes. The only technology available at the time of this initial project required the customer to manually switch between two different trigger points depending on what was being run. When it was time to modernize their system and upgrade it to include additional inspections, they returned to EMP.
Part one of the latest project was to inspect mailers to verify that each insert was correct and in the proper position. This needed to be accomplished as the pieces of mail were moving at an extremely high rate. Traditionally, this has been a very difficult application to tackle, but EMP engineers, who stay up to date on the most recent leading technology, utilized new high speed/ high-resolution vision technology along with a new extremely fast pattern matching vision tool to accomplish the job.
EMP’s software engineer wrote a custom program that allows the operator to interface directly with an HMI to input both the number of inserts and the trained images for each insert before a run. The camera inspects the saved pattern of each insert at a speed of 400 frames per second. Each insert is inspected in less than 50 microseconds. If the camera fails to correctly identify an insert or determines one is out of sequence, the machine stops and the stack light alarms a failure.
Part two of the project was to inspect each mailer’s postal code. EMP replaced the old low-resolution camera that inspected each barcode with a high-resolution, image-based barcode reader. This eliminated the need to switch between the two trigger points depending on which product they ran. If there is a duplicate or no-read barcode, it is recorded. After three consecutive failures, the line is stopped.
The project has been a great success and the customer no longer wastes time or money on sending out incorrect product!
Do you have an automation project you would like to get started?
Don’t hesitate to contact EMP Technical Group today!
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