Biscuits benefit with vision system

24 June 2008

A European biscuit factory has reduced costs following the installation of laser scanning technology. The manufacturer bought the equipment from Machine Vision Technology (MVT) which claims to offer ‘greater process control and reliability.’

European biscuit factory installs a vision system
European biscuit factory installs a vision system

Automatic control of length, width and height dimensions is aimed to ensure that all products meet their necessary weight criteria. At the same time the optimum balance and economy of ingredients is being obtained by precisely controlling content for the biscuits, coating and filling.

Previously subject to manual sampling and dimension checking, MVT’s system measures to within +/- 1mm on length and width and +/-1.5mm on height for products typically up to 76mm long, 26mm wide and 6-9mm high. One hundred per cent inspection is now being achieved, according to MVT, for high volume production rates of 170,000 items per hour.

MVT’s system uses a laser scanner for measuring height interpreted by four cameras, which also measure the length and width. Thirty rows of cooked biscuits that pass underneath are scanned on a continuous conveyor travelling at 110 columns per minute. Any product detected outside tolerances triggers an immediate, on-screen alarm message to the operator who can isolate under or overweight product and adjust process settings such as oven temperature. A simple drop down menu allows the operator to change process parameters for product changeovers.

The customised front end of the software, specially developed by MVT, incorporates an average size display for measurements over the last 100 rows produced. These statistics are stored against time and date to satisfy industry requirements for product traceability. All process information is available on remote and duplicate screens for monitoring by production engineers.

MVT sales manager, Rick Marshall, said 20 years of experience helped the company meet its customers expectations.

He said: ‘We can access any of the machine vision hardware on the market and apply our bespoke software capability to provide an optimum solution.

‘The key customer benefit of this project is that there is now 100 per cent ongoing inspection and, therefore, greater process control and reliability.’

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