Engineers at Avinashilingam University (Coimbatore, India) have developed a prototype machine vision system to sort nuts used in the automotive industry.
The system captures images of the nuts from a 60 fps 640×480 CCD camera from The Imaging Source (Bremen, Germany) as they move on a conveyor at a speed of sixty nuts per minute. The camera is mounted at an inclined angle so that an image of the top surface of the nut and the threaded portion of the nut can be captured in a single frame.
The images are then processed using image processing algorithms developed using Microsoft's Visual C++. The software first determines the alpha numerical characters on the top surfaces of the nuts. It then finds the threads on the nuts and determines their pitch, which it correlates with the character data. If the two are found to match, the nut is accepted. If not, the part is rejected.
The researchers are currently working to improve the performance of the system by using an artificial neural network technique assist with the nut sorting process.
More information on the system can be found here.
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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design