In order to develop an environmentally-responsible approach, two Netherlands-based companies have developed an automated inspection system that sorts shrimp and returns crabs and other small fish unharmed back into the sea.
The system was developed by Pliant BV in tandem with a company that specializes in the shrimp fishing industry. In addition to identifying and sorting shrimp, the inspection system can identify objects that need to be returned to sea, including shrimp that do not meet the standards, small fish, and crabs, some of which are endangered species.
Providing the vision portion of the system are two UI-5240RE GigE cameras from IDS Imaging Development Systems. These cameras feature 1.3 MPixel CMOS image sensors from e2v that can achieve a frame rate of 50 fps. In addition, the cameras have an IP67 enclosure—including magnesium housing, lens barrels, and lockable connectors—so that they can be deployed aboard the ships on which they sort shrimp.
A vacuum system brings in the catch and distributes it on a conveyor belt. The two GigE cameras then capture images of the individual objects as they pass through. The software used for image processing is based on a HALCON script, and is used to identify shrimp into three different size categories. A controller receives the image data via the Ethernet connection and different air nozzles get activated and targeted blasts of air transport the shrimp by size into the appropriate container.
With the system, 10 to 20 images can be analyzed per second, depending on the speed of the belt. Up to 300 kilograms of shrimp can be sorted per hour.
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