REDwire Food manufacturer’s vision of high-speed inspection comes to life

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Biscuits roll off Nutrition & Santé’s production lines in France in stacks of four or five units that are then wrapped in packs and inserted in cardboard packaging at high speed.

For Nutrition & Santé, a maker of organic and health foods, quality is a big factor in the company’s success. But like most manufacturers, speed is also important — getting product to the customer in a timely manner. The company didn’t want to sacrifice quality for speed, or vice versa. Thanks to Keyence, a manufacturer of sensing equipment, the company is able to achieve both.

Biscuits roll off Nutrition & Santé’s production lines in France in stacks of four or five units that are then wrapped in packs and inserted in cardboard packaging at high speed. Broken biscuits making their way into packaging is unacceptable. 

“For us, broken biscuits are a critical defect. Not only did we want to increase our customers’ perception of the quality of our products, we also wanted to eliminate the risks of packs being incorrectly sealed due to biscuit bits getting in the way,” explains Fabien Ployon, production manager at Nutrition & Santé’s production site in Annonay, France. 
“We looked at the vision systems on the market and contacted a number of companies. All but Keyence declined on account of our speed requirements, which allow a window of just 150 ms for inspecting each stack.”

The company needed a detection solution that could handle the huge quantities of biscuits processed each minute — and operate around the clock. The answer was the CV-5000 vision system

Edge detection is performed by two cameras placed around 20 centimetres above the biscuits on each line. A different program has to be set for each of the 30-odd shapes and sizes conveyed on each line.

“Edge detection is just one of the 19 inspection tools available with Keyence’s CV-5000 vision systems. Each makes it possible to set up a detection application both simply and quickly. Despite not having any previous experience in vision systems, the CV-5000 was easy to set up and use. It took a little time to optimize it to our needs, but now we’re familiar with it and we’ve since embarked on a process of continual improvement,” adds Ployon. 

This biscuit-inspection application was made possible by the detection speed of Keyence’s CV-5000. For example, it allows one million pixels to be processed in 20.5 ms. This processing power also makes it possible to perform multiple inspections and further enhance the reliability of in-process inspections thanks to its repeatability (seven times higher than that of current standards) and many image-processing tasks that optimize inspection accuracy. CV-5000 Series models are controlled by a high-speed colour image processing engine and a high-speed RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) CPU. Both are supplemented by two digital signal processors) designed specifically for image processing. 

“Because the CV-5000 vision system works faster than our lines, it gives us definite leeway,” explains Ployon. “It runs seven days a week and we’re very satisfied with its detection reliability and stability.”

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