Pattern Matching in Part Inspection
Pattern matching tools are useful in applications where you want to ensure that the correct product is running on the production line or to recognize which product is running and communicate that information to other factory floor devices. A good example of an application where pattern matching is important is in the production of containers of ice cream. You have the same containers going through the production line but the contents of the containers can be materially different.
In the premium ice cream business, packaging is very important. One company I work with uses state-of-the-art packaging design, with colorful graphics - all designed to make the product look as good as it tastes. In light of these packaging demands, this company decided to remove the barcode from the lid of the container. This introduced a challenging food safety concern. A packaging mix-up, if undetected, could lead to a costly product recall. This, combined with food allergy risks, makes for a potentially serious food-safety situation. Pattern matching guarantees the correct packaging is being used for the ice cream currently in production, without the need for bar-coding.
Cognex features a PatMax® tool that meets the demands of an inspection process like the one I just described. There are a number of situations in which the PatMax tool is your best option:
- When variations in lighting and reflections on the production line are difficult to control
- When the pattern being inspected is similarly shaped or shaded compared to something in the background
- When the pattern is being overlapped or partially hidden by other objects in the image
- When you need the highest possible accuracy