Machine vision system inspects Tabasco hot sauce products

Acquire Automation designed a machine vision system for McIlhenny Company, producer of Tabasco hot sauce products, which uses Cognex vision software and area-scan cameras to inspect each bottle as it goes through the line.

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In order to improve its existing processes for label inspection of its Tabasco hot sauce bottles, McIlhenny Company selected Acquire Automation to come up with a solution for 360° visual inspection.

The system put in place by Acquire Automation utilizes Cognex OmniView to produce complete images of the circumference of each bottle. OmniView vision software uses images acquired from multiple area-scan cameras positioned around the bottle to allow for 360° in-line inspection and to generate a virtual 3D surface model. With the 360° inspection, the orientation of the bottle isn’t important, as the inspection system obtains a full 360° view of all of the bottle’s features.

Traditionally, such inspection requires line scan vision technology and complex mechanical handling devices for image acquisition. With the OmniView-powered system, less intrusive integration options and higher throughput rates are achieved, according to Acquire Automation. The system—which can inspect up to 1,200 parts per minute—can read barcodes, verify text, inspect graphics, and measure features of each Tabasco bottle.

Once images of each bottle are captured, Acquire Automation’s system uses Cognex VisionPro to train the system to identify each of the company’s labels. VisionPro imaging software features drag-and-drop linking between tools, which enables communication of values, results, and images. It offers reusable tool group and user-definable tools, and is designed to harness the power provided by modern multicore machines.

Tom Grimsley Jr., bottling manager at McIlhenny Company, told Food and Beverage Packaging that the inspection system has already paid for itself by ensuring that only conforming products are shipped. In addition, he says the overall quality of the products has improved.

"If something goes wrong with the equipment that is causing skewed labels, we can identify the problem on the very first label," Grimsley said in the article. "Overall, we are more comfortable with our quality and feel confident that every product we ship conforms to our standards."

View more information on Cognex machine vision software.

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