In-line product identification: example of radiators

At VASCO group, Brugman produces radiators in a mass-production environment.
Each single unit can be different.
Multiple batches are produced and packed in one flow.
All Brugman radiators are categorized automatically according to physical properties such as height, width, convector spacing and colour.

The challenge:

  • 11.000+ different products (measurements, geometry, assembly, logo)
  • Variations in specifications and materials (use of different suppliers)
  • Accessories (barcode labels) placed between the convectors
  • Random positioning on roller track and conveyor belt
  • Long radiators causing substantial vibrations on the track
  • Dirt on the conveyor belts
  • High-speed movement at varying speed, stops and slip
  • Future types and brands to be handled

Solution

A large variety of products and unique characteristics requires a clever vision system.
Different lighting set-ups and camera-techniques are needed for identification and to inspect all unique features in a robust way.
From each captured image, a set of vision algorithms turns images into data and measurements.

Reliability

Given the rough factory-environment the system is equipped with extra functionality to ensure its robustness.
It automatically compensates for a contaminated conveyor belt,  and the radiator may randomly be placed on the conveyor belt.
The vision-system automatically locates the product and its characteristics, matches this data with the requirements and gives out the identification-string to a printer.
Directly after this recognition, the radiator automatically moves on to a specific packaging and printing line.

The vision-system became one of the central nerves of the factory; communicates with the printers, collects real-time data and feeds the ERP system.
The strategic importance of the project has been respected throughout hardware set-up and commissioning.

Customer comment

 “ this far reaching automation is the only way for us to preserve quality levels at competitive commercial conditions whilst being able to handle increasingly decreasing product series ”

Laurens WytzesDirector Operations VASCO-group, Plants The Netherlands and Poland

Service

VASCO Group and Beltech have a service agreement to ensure a long life-time of the system in perfect condition.
With this Service level Agreement (SLA) in place, both parties have the guarantee that the system will keep doing what was promised.
Below you can find a short movie about this application.
Feel free to imagine your product instead of the radiator 😉

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