4Sight – take a different view on print, packaging & product inspection
Vision solutions for industrial code printing have always been particularly difficult, especially with continuous inkjet. Similarly, automatically inspecting for packaging accuracy or for product quality is challenging in real world situations. Historically, therefore, these types of inspections have been carried out manually utilising valuable Operator and QC resource and time.
AutoCoding Systems launched 4Sight initially to inspect printed codes to ensure all products leaving the factory were printed with legible codes in the correct location. However, the application has recently been extended to include additional types of inspection to tackle the challenges of packaging and product inspection.
The 4Sight solution has already received global interest, particularly from customers looking for an alternative to expensive OCR/OCV products. 4Sight uses a different, focussed approach to inline print quality inspection which does not follow the usual OCR/OCV route of teaching fonts. By using our detailed understanding of coding equipment and the characteristics of what they print, AutoCoding Systems has been able to develop a product which is adaptable to differing requirements, putting the user at the core of what they deem to be acceptable print quality – considering factors such as printing technology, speed of line and processing time.
For code inspection, the unique feature of 4Sight is Inspection Depth which gives users the choice to define the level of quality required for their inspection. The objective is to determine, with a high level of confidence, that the print is of adequate quality for the specific application. The user can decide on the print quality tolerance thresholds to define what is considered a good read, bad read and poor read on a per product basis. The deeper the inspection depth, the greater the processing time, but even at the highest inspection depth with the lowest tolerances, delivering exceptional results both in terms of quality and accuracy, the speed of inspection is faster and more reliable than conventional OCR.
The latest version of 4Sight delivers even more flexibility and functionality than its predecessor. Additional inspection types include Barcode Inspection, Packaging Verification, 3D Dimensioning and Classify. 4Sight is capable of reading both 1D and 2D codes; barcode inspections can be combined with print inspection and packaging verification. With packaging verification, artwork comparisons can be carried out against a reference image to verify that the product packaging is correct. This type of inspection can also be configured with permitted rotation simplifying the process of inspecting circular products such as pots, bottles and tins. 3D Dimensioning uses the SICK Trispector P 3D camera to inspect product size, checking against reference dimensions and, therefore, volume. The quality and consistency of the top surface of the packaging can also be checked for issues such as damaged seals or open flaps. Classify allows users to compare image histograms against reference images and selects the best match. This type of inspection can be used for checking the quality of actual products, for example, toppings on biscuits or evenness of bake on crumpets, bread, biscuits etc. For increased versatility, multiple inspections can take place simultaneously combining up to 8 different inspections across a range of up to 4 cameras. This allows users to set up multiple inspections in one configuration, looking at different objects in a specific field of view, each with their own region of interest.
With three different set-up options; standalone, printer-led or integrated into a code deployment solution; even greater flexibility is offered. The newly enhanced HMI offers users easy-to-navigate, clear drop-down menus, with explanatory descriptions where relevant. The step-by-step Wizards ensure that new users, with the relevant permissions, can create new inspection configurations or load existing inspection configurations with ease.
Managing Director, Mike Hughes, stated, “The 4Sight product is a game-changer when it comes to automatic print inspection. Many companies veer away from automatic print inspection because historically it’s been expensive, unreliable and complicated to set-up. 4Sight alleviates these fears by offering a viable alternative to OCR/OCV methodology.”
3D Dimensioning inspects product size against reference dimensions