3D Sensors Enhance Food Container Quality Control
Containers for food products must meet rigorous dimensional requirements (particularly on sealing areas) to ensure products are not exposed to external contaminants. Inspection requirements are further complicated by container manufacturing rates of thousands per hour.
At these production rates, sampling inspection procedures cannot provide a 100% guarantee that every container produced meets specifications. In these types of demanding inspection conditions optical and laser-based measurement sensors often provide the only solution to 100% product quality control.
3D sensors have been implemented in a number of container inspection applications to streamline measurements, provide higher product quality and lower costs. 3D sensors build on more commonly known 2D sensors, and differ physically only in the form of illumination used. In 2D sensing, area illumination is used, while in 3D sensors structured light is used to provide depth measurements. Some 3D sensors even have built-in ability to provide synchronized 2D information, useful in certain applications requiring unique part location or bar code tracking.
Contrary to common thinking, today’s 3D sensors are much easier to implement than before. For example, smart all-in-one solutions have scanning, measurement and control functions built right into the device. These sensors take simplicity to a whole new level because they don't require complex cabling, external controls, or PCs. What's more, these sensors are truly "smart" because they require no additional software — all measurement tools are configured by a simple browser agnostic web server in the sensor's processor.
Where is 3D Most Useful?
The many applications of 2D sensing in container inspection, such as length, width, height, and position measurement, as well as pattern recognition and code reading are well understood. Successful implementation of these 2D applications requires appropriate access to the measured features, which sometimes is not practical.
Many applications where 2D sensing is difficult or impossible can be addressed by 3D scanners, particularly where measuring a 3D map or point cloud of depth data is required.
Some Sample Applications Solved by 3D
Bottle Cap Integrity
Verifying that bottle caps have been installed tightly can be achieved by measuring the height and tilt of the caps. In some cases, where backlighting can be implemented and containers are in single file, 2D sensing can be applied. Where containers are in multiple rows, or backlighting is not possible, 3D sensing meets inspection requirements.
For wide production lines, multiple smart 3D sensors can be easily integrated to provide high resolution over branded areas.
Thermoseal Integrity Verification
Verifying the integrity of thermoseals is straightforward with 3D sensing technology. As each seal passes under the sensor, a complete 3D point cloud is measured and analyzed to ensure complete integrity. With 100% inspection, full confidence in every seal is provided.
Using 3D provides precise inspection, not affected by ambient light or component color.
Advantages of 3D-Based Inspection Systems for Container Inspection
Implementing 3D sensing for container inspection provides 100% verification of quality at high production rates. Applications difficult or impossible for 2D sensing can be made 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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