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Why is it Worth Automating the Quality Control Process?

Automated quality control based on vision systems is a common element of assembly lines and stations designed by ELPLC S.A. Automating this process allows for 100% quality control without the need to stop the production line and eliminates errors that can occur in the manual process. Vision Control systems are designed with the assumptions of the Industry 4.0 concept in mind.

Modern vision control systems find applications in verifying the correctness of features such as dimensions, assembly accuracy, surface properties, shape, color, etc. Vision systems are also used for verifying graphic elements and text, as well as for checking the presence and position of objects. A properly designed computer application, working in conjunction with the system, generates quality statistics with the ability to compare actual parameters with defined ones. The system can notify when predefined parameter thresholds are exceeded and signal the need for preventive or corrective actions in the production process.

In many applications, vision quality control systems are integrated with production machines, allowing for real-time correction of their operating parameters. It is possible to generate appropriate documentation for quality control purposes, taking into account the requirements of system and industry standards.

Applications

The range of applications for Vision Control systems is very wide. In the automotive industry, they are used for precise positioning of parts with verification of free positioning within components, considering the appropriate shape tolerances. Vision systems also check the functionality and parameters of car headlights and lamps.

In the machinery and metal industries, threads (external and internal), dimensions and shapes (e.g., after machining), color, and surface condition and structure are verified. Defects, such as corrosion on components, can also be detected. ELPLC S.A.’s Vision Control systems are often implemented in robotic welding applications, e.g., for monitoring weld parameters.

In the pharmaceutical industry, vision control systems are used for verifying blister fill levels and checking labels on packaging, e.g., for the presence and position of labels, batch numbers, expiration dates, etc. The requirements of industry standards and systems, such as GMP, can also be considered.

Vision control systems are frequently used in the electronics industry for checking the operation of indicators, positioning accuracy, content of packages, and presence and position of electronic components for assembly purposes. In the food industry, Vision Control Systems are used on bottling lines to detect defects—dents, cracks, microcracks. They can also check expiration dates and the condition and content of packages. Vision systems are often used for applications like counting bottles and cans.

Vision Control systems are also used in applications for capping bottles on production lines. In this solution, the gap between the cap and the bottle lip is verified. Similar applications are found in the cosmetics industry. In transport and logistics, vision systems are used for monitoring the palletizing process and checking labeling accuracy.

Design and Implementation of the System

At the design stage of the vision quality control system, ELPLC closely considers the needs of system users. First, the properties of the material of the controlled elements are analyzed, and the parameters to be checked, tolerated values, and limit thresholds are defined. ELPLC is a manufacturer of machines and production lines, a supplier of process automation and robotics. Therefore, engineers approach such systems individually and flexibly, understanding the processes, risks, and needs of the end user.

For stations operating automatically or as part of automated assembly lines, the appropriate method of component feeding is considered. This includes feeders, robots with grippers, and transport systems. The station dimensions are designed for specific applications. More advanced systems may use several vision cameras.

Appropriately selected algorithms are crucial for the proper functioning of the system. For reading and distinguishing characters, the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) algorithm is effective, while the OCV (Optical Character Verification) algorithm is better for character comparison.

Operation

The system operation method is selected, whether remote or local—PC computers, HMI panels, mobile devices—as well as its functionality concerning reporting. Cooperation with other systems operating in the factory—production lines, ERP, MES, CMMS, SCM, PLM software, etc., considering a specific data exchange standard—is important. Both the hardware and software parts of Vision Control are designed from scratch by ELPLC S.A. engineers.

Summary

Dedicated vision quality control stations from ELPLC S.A. allow for analyzing object parameters such as shape, dimensions, color, 1D and 2D codes, OCR, etc. Each solution is designed considering the specific application’s needs in terms of functionality and operation—remote, local, from mobile devices, as well as reporting and integration with other solutions working in the factory. The application range of vision quality control systems is very broad. Such applications are found in the automotive, metal, machinery, food, and pharmaceutical industries, among others.

Investing in Vision Control implementation quickly pays off, primarily due to improved effectiveness in the quality control process. This is done automatically, eliminating errors that often occur with operator-performed quality control. All this translates into improved production quality and reduced losses.

 

 

Vision systems

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