Boxed Product Inspection Using 3D Scanning Technology

3D Scanning Enables Automated Packaging Verification

A wide variety of products are packed into containers, such as boxes, for shipment to customers. Everything from food packages to consumer goods and cans of oil have multiple products that need to be packaged. Whether these products are packed manually or automatically, verification that the goods are properly placed is the only way to ensure that each container is properly filled.

For this type of application, manual visual inspection methods are labor intensive and also subject to human error. So, in order to achieve complete confidence that every container is properly filled, manufacturers need 100% automated verification as part of the high volume industral packaging line. Unfortunately the 2D scanning technologies that provide excellent capability inspecting some features, such as external dimensions of individual products, have very limited capability when it comes to checking products inside an open container or verifying that a closed container has been properly sealed.

The solution to these challenging applications is provided by 3D scanning technologies. 3D sensors use a form of structured light to provide depth information, generating a high density 3D point cloud of data over the full expanse of the container.

A few years ago, 3D scanning was considered very complex and hard to integrate, particularly for those with limited experience in machine vision sensing –– and indeed it was. That said, today’s 3D sensors have advanced dramatically. The key differentiator with 3D sensors today is that they offer “smart”, “all-in-one” functionality with scanning, measurement and control functions built right into the device. The best all-in-one 3D smart sensors on the market today require no additional software or external computing devices –– their comprehensive built-in measurement tools are configured by a simple browser web server in the sensor’s processor.

Applications Solved by 3D Scanning

Open Box Content Verification

Since all-in-one 3D smart sensors are able to “look down” into a container to create a full 3D contour point cloud of the contents, they are ideal for verifying contents, including product count and position, shapes and height variations as containers pass on a conveyor.

Boxed product inspection using 3D scanning technology

For bulk product or packing material verification, their are features such as the built-in Volume tool that can easily determine the volume of product or packing material. Other tools determine maximum height and positioning. All measurements can be compared to user set limits to make a pass/fail decision on each container.

Boxed product inspection using 3D scanning technology

Sealed Container Inspection

After a container is closed and sealed, all-in-one 3D smart sensors can again verify integrity by determining height variations of the entire closed container to determine whether it is properly sealed and does not have crushed or damaged areas.

Since 3D scanning measures geometry, sensor data is not affected by colour changes, printing or labels on the container. In fact, the best of today’s all-in-one 3D smart sensors also provide a synchronized 2D grey scale image of the container which can be used to automatically read characters or bar codes for verification, without the need for adding a 2D sensor for code reading or verification.

Seal verification using 3D scanning technology

3D scanning is the most effective solution for the inspection of products inside of open containers and for verifying integrity of sealed containers, providing a 3D contour point cloud of the entire container surface. With today’s all-in-one 3D smart sensors, applications that used to be difficult or impossible for 2D scanning are now easy to install and operate. The result is confidence in product quality and reduced exposure to costly, image damaging recalls.

Where could 3D inspection add value to your production?

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