Inspection and Detection: Who’s Doing What?

By Joan Mantini

It is not just the food and nutrition industry facing increasingly stringent requirements relating to product quality and safety, other markets such as pharmacetical, cannabis and even eCommerce are facing new regulatoins and requirements that manufacturers must adhear to. With a push for these new regultions and standards, inspection and detection systems are evolving quickly, and are indeed bringng new technology and robotics along with them. What follows is a list of packaging manufacturers with recent news in the inspection and detection segment of packaging that are using the latest automated systems to check dimensions, sorting, sealings, cleanliness, surface defects, and more.

ADLINK TECHNOLOGY

ADLINK Technology recently announced it has joined forces with Intel and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to simplify artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge for machine vision. The integrated solution offers an Amazon Sagemaker-built machine learning model optimized by and deployed with the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit, the ADLINK Edge™ software suite and certification on AWS Greengrass.

The ADLINK AI at the Edge solution closes the loop on the full cycle of machine learning model building—from design to deployment to improvement—by automating edge computing processes so that customers can focus on developing applications without needing advanced knowledge of data science and machine learning models.

“We’ve worked on multiple industrial use cases that benefit from AI at the edge, including a smart pallet solution that makes packages and pallets themselves intelligent so they can detect where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there, in real-time,” said Toby McClean, vice president, IoT innovation and technology, at ADLINK. “This enables warehouse customers to yield improved logistics and productivity, while also decreasing incorrectly shipped packages and theft. And this use case can be replicated across verticals to improve operational efficiency and productivity.”

Additional use cases include object detection modeling for object picking functions or worker safety, such as identifying product defects on conveyor systems or worker impediments in manufacturing environments, and equipment failure predictions to reduce machine downtime and increase productivity.

ANTARES VISION

Antares Vision, a leader in visual inspection systems, track and trace solutions and smart data management, recently announced it has developed a new Raised Stopper Inspection (RSI) machine to verify proper sealing of freeze-dried vials. Functioning as a standalone machine, the RSI is designed for installation in A-Grade-A cleanrooms and operates via laminar air flow (LAF).

With an overall length of just 76cm, the first-of-its-kind RSI Machine is easily installed in existing lines, according to press materials. To identify stoppers not wholly adhered to the vial collar, the machine features a 1mm detection threshold and can inspect up to 300 units/min. The module is compatible with an array of vials, spanning from 10-300ml with a 20-32mm cap range.

“Such comprehensive inspection is increasingly important to ensure quality assurance for freeze-dried vials, especially with the uptick in highly potent pharmaceutical products,” said Andrew Pietrangelo, president, North America for Antares Vision. “The RSI machine represents a drop-in solution into existing lines that promotes the highest level of production safety and medicine efficacy.”

FILTEC

FILTEC recently unveiled the INTELLECT Compact Support Unit– its latest addition to the company’s line of inspection solutions and technologies. This compact-size inspection system has the functionalities and efficiencies of its larger standard unit, the INTELLECT, but is only half the size. The INTELLECT Compact Support Unit is designed for small production lines, making it particularly attractive to craft beer, cannabis and other such emerging industries.

While comparatively small in size, the INTELLECT Compact Support Unit provides all the inspections solutions required by manufacturers, according to press materials. It identifies and isolates contaminants and damage in real time at the exact point of the production line process and rectifies the problem immediately. This allows companies with small production lines to reduce product and packaging waste. Furthermore, the INTELLECT Compact Support Unit provides detailed information allowing production teams to identify preventative maintenance schedules before a problem becomes critical, which minimizes downtime and lost production.

LEUZE

With the CMS 700i, Leuze electronic is bringing a new 3D contour measurement system to market. It is based on the CML 730i measuring light curtains and can be adapted to specific customer requirements.

The CMS 700i measures the contour and position of passing objects regardless of its shape and surface structure. Even flat objects such as polybags can be precisely and economically measured without a complicated camera installation. The object information can be used to optimize the load on a pallet or incoming goods. Distortion or protrusion of the object is reliably detected, reducing problems or downtime when warehousing automatically. The CMS 700i thus increases the availability and cost effectiveness of the system. With the intuitive WebConfig, commissioning and remote maintenance can be performed easily by the customer.

METTLER-TOLEDO

Mettler-Toledo recently launched its GC Series conveyorized metal detection systems. The conveyors systems at the heart of these metal detectors are designed to improve compliance and reduce users’ total cost of ownership. The new systems support food and non-food manufacturers’ quality and production objectives by providing a robust, easy to use, modular conveyor system that is readily re-configurable to support future requirements, according to press materials.

The systems offer a highly configurable design that can adapt to the changing requirements of the food industry and to manufacturers’ needs. They can be supplied with a variety of Safeline metal detectors, polyurethane or modular belts and different reject mechanisms. It is also possible to re-configure the system to adapt to changing production and retailer demand.

“We know the benefits a metal detector can bring to a production line; however, having an integrated conveyorized metal detection system provides far greater benefits than merely the detection of metal contaminants,” says Mike Bradley, product inspection specialist from Mettler-Toledo. “With a complete solution from the same supplier, manufacturers can rest assured their metal detection system is fully compliant with food safety legislation and retailer requirements, and be confident that it delivers the best possible mechanical integration for maximum production uptime. The GC Series’ modular system also makes operation and maintenance procedures far more efficient. Supplementing the system with electronic data collection software takes it one-step further to ensure manufacturers have a fully integrated process solution that enhances compliance and increases production efficiency.”

THERMO SCIENTIFIC

The latest scanning multi-frequency metal detector for food quality and safety assurance from Thermo Fisher Scientific is making its debut this month. TheThermo Scientific Sentinel 3000 multiscan metal detector is designed to improve productivity and maximize factory floor space by combining the benefits of multiscan metal detection technology with accurate weight control.

The Sentinel 3000 is the smallest model in the line of Sentinel metal detectors and mounts on the frame of Thermo Scientific VersaWeigh and Versa GP checkweighers. The Sentinel 3000 detector is reportedly the first multi-frequency metal detector specifically designed for metal detection-checkweighing combination systems in food production, providing users with improved functionality and performance in a smaller footprint than typically required with two pieces of equipment. By integrating the detector onto the checkweigher frame, the need for an external metal detector conveyor is eliminated. New harmonized Versa checkweigher software incorporates capability to operate the checkweigher and metal detector from one screen and is designed to improve usability and reduce training time.

The Sentinel 3000 metal detector features multiscan technology, which allows users to select up to five frequencies from 50 to 1000 kHz and scan through each frequency at a rapid rate. It acts like five metal detectors in one. Multiscan is designed with improved sensitivity to identify contaminants that are up to 30 percent smaller in volume than previous Thermo Scientific technologies. The technology also is devised to increase the probability that all random sizes, shapes and types of metal foreign objects are found before food products reach consumers.

The Sentinel 3000 metal detector is designed for a range of food applications, including dairy, meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables and bread.

WIPOTEC-OCS

WIPOTEC-OCS announced it offers a compact three-in-one checkweigher / serialization / temper-evidence module for pharmaceutical applications with a small footprint machine design. The TQS-HC-A-TE Checkweigher also offers the precision weight monitoring plus added traceability and anti-counterfeiting elements increasingly required on pharmaceutical packaging lines.

The unit is literally bookended by built-in quality control: its lead acronym, “TQS,” stands for “Traceable Quality System,” indicating the machine’s ability to perform such serialization-centric duties as in-line printing of batch or unique product identifiers, print verification, and the ability to add extra sensory data to a product’s unique identifier.

“TE” indicates that the machine is equipped with tamper-evident labeling systems on both sides, allowing pharma manufacturers to seal the insertion flaps of folding boxes or even apply further anti-counterfeiting vignettes from above. Combined, the traceability and tamper-evidence elements provide compliance with all foreseeable worldwide serialization, including the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act and the European Union’s Falsified Medicines Directive.

YASKAWA MOTOMAN

MotoSight™ 2D, a 2D vision hardware / software solution for robot guidance and inspection, has recently been enhanced to feature next generation high-performance cameras and industry leading pattern recognition software.

Powered by Cognex, new standalone cameras (MS8101, MS8401, MS8402) offer comprehensive vision functionality inside an ultra-compact 31 mm x 31 mm x 64 mm form factor. Models feature Power over Ethernet (PoE) for integrating into many different applications, and each camera utilizes Cognex high-speed PatMax® technology for part and feature location, providing accuracy and repeatability under the most challenging conditions.

MotoSight 2D is ideally suited for general robot guidance, error proofing, part identification, part inspection and high-speed picking, according to press materials. Target applications include machine loading, pick and place transfers, assembly, packaging, palletizing, depalletizing and welding.