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Automated grading of bacon using vision technology

22 November 2012

STEMMER IMAGING has been working with Marel to integrate a vision-based grading option into the company’s IBS 2000 bacon slicers. Marel is a pioneer in the application of advanced computer and vision technology to look at and measure a cross section of product, such as bacon, prior to slicing.

Vision is an enabling technology which allows the slicers to produce greater volumes of more accurate slices to a closer tolerance, with consistent pack weights.

The addition of grading helps to maximise the yield of premium value meat products. However, this presented a vision challenge due to the organic nature of the product and significant variations due to season, geography and handling.

To meet the challenge, STEMMER IMAGING selected the most appropriate high-speed cameras and developed an image processing methodology using its Common Vision Blox imaging toolkit. The result is a flexible and accurate measurement solution which could not be achieved using traditional machine vision technology.

The solution has helped to reduce Marel’s manufacturing effort by delivering the vision subsystem pre-configured and tested, removing the need for any post design engineering which is, traditionally, inherent when using fast changing PC based technology.

Vision technology has been used by Marel in other applications too, such as cheese and ham slicing and high capacity automatic portioning machines for fresh or chilled boneless product.

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