Machine vision systems were unheard of fifty years ago, and only poorly conceived some thirty years ago.
However, the advent of the technological revolution has given us small, smart and intensely useful cameras.
These cameras (more information, here) are finding their way into all sorts of processes, where they are transforming the way work is done.
What Are Machine Vision Systems?
As the name implies, these systems use machines to make visual checks on products.
This is very useful with manufacturing, for instance the automotive industry; making sure that each car part is a uniform size and shape to ensure easy assembly.
It is in the world of food safety and pharmaceuticals that these clever automations are quietly making a name for themselves.
We have all seen footage of old-style factories, where someone sits overlooking the conveyor belt…
This person picks out one or two of every hundred or thousand items, then checks them for any issues.
They then either pass the whole batch or recall them should unignorable problems be found.
The downside with this way of working is that it is slow.
It is also patchy.
Many faulty items can slip through before the production line is stopped – and there is the possibility of human error.
How Are Machine Vision Systems Useful?
Modern methods use machines that are capable of perfectly performing all the acts undertaken by the human.
But, in a fraction of a second.
Therefore able to check every single unit as it flashes past on the conveyor belt.
In this way, any issues are picked up as soon as they occur.
The machine can work in real time, shutting off the conveyor the instant an error is detected.
Once the foreman is alerted to the issues, he or she can make the necessary changes and get straight back into production mode.
This saves money that would otherwise be lost to downtime or product recall – or worse, lawsuits.
The same processes can be applied to foodstuffs.
This ensures that each item falls within the promised weight or size range.
Machine vision systems (read more on this website) are also perfect for measuring the ingredients into the vats for mixing.
These systems can ‘see’ if the product mixture is exactly the right shade that means that all the ingredients have been added and even mixed to the right consistency.
For instance, whipping air into products tends to lighten the colour, which can then be very precisely assessed by the machine.
Vision systems can make sure each product is identical in size, shape, cooking time, weight and decoration.
All of this can be done at computer speeds, so conveyor belts can run much faster than if a human was in charge of quality control.
Although provision can always be made to randomly pick a couple of items to test to provide a back-up to the machine systems.
Good Reputation Is Important
Machine vision systems can help a factory, whether manufacturing food, drugs or other products, maintain a reputation for excellence.
While almost everyone will accept that accidents can and do happen, it can be catastrophic should such an event strike a business that is responsible for our nourishment or our health.
Accidents seem like carelessness, and customers will vote with their feet and their wallets, heading straight for the competition.
Therefore it is infinitely better to ensure the absolute safety of those consumers before they are given any reason to find your competition at all!
It’s very important to know that your safety systems are robust.
A process that benefits from double-blind checks, as well as using the latest technological advances.
Selling products to the pharmaceutical or food wholesale industry in the certain knowledge that they are 100% safe.