Understanding Vision Inspection

Food manufacturers invest in product inspection technologies to check that the food they produce is free from physical contamination and conforms to brand and regulatory requirements. Faulty packaging can not only lead to damage or spillage of the product, but also cause major damage to the brand. In addition, there can be serious ramifications for supply chain relationships, including fines from affected retailers or even the loss of customer confidence in a brand.

Before a finished product leaves a factory and reaches the market, it goes through several production and control steps. Product inspection solutions such as checkweighers, metal detection systems and X-ray systems ensure that the product itself is safe inside its packaging and has the correct weight. Vision inspection ensures its outward appearance to the public by checking if the product is correctly packaged and branded.


How does vision inspection work?

Machine vision, or vision inspection systems, typically consist of one or more cameras that visually inspect food, beverage and pharmaceutical packages for defects and errors. In addition, they can automatically read and verify labels on packaged products and check whether a printed code is readable and correct. Code types that are readable with vision systems include barcodes, 2D codes, datamatrix codes and alpha-numeric codes. The systems not only read the information, but also save data such as log, batch or product-specific information in order to trace back the journey of the product at a later stage, which is particularly necessary in the event of a product recall.


How to integrate a vision inspection system in a production line?

A vision system can be fully integrated into a packaging or production line, but can also be used as a standalone system, which is a far less complex implementation and gives the manufacturer more flexibility.


How do vision inspection systems fit into daily quality control?

Vision inspection systems are a superior solution for checking every product in every batch, carrying out foolproof quality checks on 100% of the products. This not only saves time, but also helps reduce costs.


How can vision inspection systems support digital traceability?

Vision inspection systems collect data, just as almost every up-to-date production and inspection system does these days. Thanks to Industry 4.0 it is now possible for systems to communicate with each other and share data. Modern vision systems already have this capability, being able to send and receive data via the OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) protocol to enable machine-to-machine communication. Digital traceability is important as it helps in supporting compliance with governmental and industry regulations. 

Are you interested in this topic and want to know how visual inspection for code checks works?