Sensitive products require an even more sensitive packaging system. Cermex, a French specialist in end-of-line packaging machines, uses an integrated vision system to package a liquid product used by doctors in MRI examinations. Expensive and light-sensitive, the MRI liquid is packaged in small flasks and placed in special crates for maximum protection. The vision system is a Cognex Checker and an In-Sight 5100 vision sensor that verifies that each crate possesses the appropriate number of flasks and information leaflet.
A Cognex Checker and an In-Sight 5100 vision sensor ensure that cartons have the right number of flasks and an information leaflet in this packaging application.
The flasks containing the liquid are sent to a WB45 wrap-around packing machine where they are packed in boxes in batches of 12 or 18, depending on the format of the box. Specially developed by Cermex, the WB45 sizes the carton, packs the flasks, folds and prepares the boxes, inserts information leaflets, and closes and seals the boxes…all at a speed of 150 products per minute.
While both Cognex vision systems are integrated into the WB45 machine, each functions at a separate stage of the process. At the packaging post, the Checker system verifies the number of flasks present in each crate through detection of the presence or absence of bottle tops.
Just before the boxes are sealed and closed, the In-Sight 5100 checks for the presence of an information leaflet in each carton as it passes on the line. This is no easy task. The position of the leaflet in the box is completely random; during the process, the document can slip and end up flat or on its side. To ensure its presence, the vision system must locate the leaflet regardless of its position or the size of the box. To do so, In-Sight relies on the localization tool PatMax, intelligent software capable of meeting this challenge despite difficulties and inconsistencies in lighting.
Should the vision system detect the absence of a leaflet or flask in a crate, it sends a signal to the PLC, releasing a trigger and causing the machine to stop.
The PLC manages size changes in the flasks and cartons, eliminating the need for manual modification of camera and lighting positions.
“We opted for a 100% vision inspection system for several reasons,” said Jean-Marc Passemard, operational marketing manager at Cermex, “the technological homogeneity of the two
inspections, the space-saving qualities of the products, and cost.”