Maintain precise dimensions with 3D vision sensors from SICK

Maintain precise dimensions with
3D vision sensors from SICK

  • Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Andreas Wiegelmesser, National Product
    Management Motion Control Sensors & Vision Solutions, SICK Vertriebs-GmbH,
    Düsseldorf, Germany

The 3D vision sensor designed for industrial use – the
TriSpector1000 from SICK. This stand-alone solution, with its intelligent
inspection tools, is suitable for a diverse array of applications relating to
the quality control of consumer goods and packaging. The image-processing
sensor boasts an exceptionally high resolution for the detection of the most
subtle features, easy configuration and operation, and the ability to output
directly usable measured values in millimetres
for all inspection dimensions. Last but not least, thanks to its autonomous
operating principle and its Gigabit Ethernet interface, it can be integrated
into smart processes via Industry 4.0.

Height and completeness monitoring;
volume, thickness, and dimension measurement; integrity checks of containers;
and counting and positioning objects – with the configurable TriSpector1000,
integrators and end users can carry out a wide variety of inspection activities
quickly, easily, and with a high degree of availability. This is vital for fast processes and under
adverse ambient conditions, as well as when there is a high variance of parts,
demanding object properties, or extremely high accuracy requirements. The
image-processing capability is already integrated
into the TriSpector1000, delivering up to 2,000 3D profiles per second.
These high-resolution measurement results are converted directly into millimetre values by the vision sensor without
the need for another PC and output in real time over the Gigabit Ethernet
interface. The TriSpector1000, therefore,
offers all the capabilities for intelligent quality controls used to ensure,
document, and track flawless products and processes, for example in the
consumer goods and packaging industries.

3D inspection
of consumer goods and packaging

Optical inspection and monitoring of goods
and packaging serve to reliably detect
faulty product features, incomplete packaging units, or insufficient labelling, and so on. The key driver in this
regard is in many cases the safety of the product, and consequently the safety
of consumers. The TriSpector1000 makes it possible to reliably manage numerous
3D inspections of dimensions, quality, and completeness in the food,
pharmaceutical, and packaging industries. The vision sensor features a rugged, anodised aluminium
housing resistant to a variety of media, offers the choice between IP 65
or IP 67 enclosure rating, and is available with a front screen made of either glass or break-proof PMMA plastic.
Thanks to laser triangulation, measurement is independent of product factors
such as colour, shape, gloss, brightness,
patterns, surface texture, or any moisture on the product. Moreover, intensity
data can be recorded by the vision sensor, allowing it to check for the
presence of labels or imprinted patterns.

set up inspections easily and safely

To carry out various inspection tasks and
meet a variety of integration requirements, the TriSpector1000 product family
offers three different variants for different working ranges – 56 mm to
116 mm, 141 mm to 514 mm, and 321 mm to 1,121 mm. The
single-housing concept ensures a geometrically stable and precise measuring
scenario for any application. 3D image detection of moving objects using laser triangulation is not affected by
the properties object mentioned above,
background influences, or even factors related to illumination and ambient
light. As a result, both integrators and end users can set up virtually any
inspection process step-by-step and with little effort. The correct version of
the TriSpector1000 is selected and mounted according to the mounting situation
and the working distance. The configuration interface visualises the settings and alignment of the measuring window and
laser sensor. The movement speed of the conveyor is recorded by the encoder and
automatically taken into account in the TriSpector1000 when calculating the 3D

camera sensor with an “integrated toolkit.”

In the next stage, the four integrated image analysis tools
of the TriSpector1000 – the Shape Locator, the Area tool, the Find Plane tool,
and the Blob Finder – are set up in a flexible and user-friendly manner by the SOPAS configuration software from SICK. These
tools open up a variety of inspection possibilities. The Shape Locator, for
example, uses a reference image to ascertain the 3D shape of an object (e.g., a
box of cookies) to be detected in the
process by the TriSpector1000. The Area tool of the vision sensor ascertains
whether there is parts present and
performs measurements to determine whether they are in the correct quantity and
height. This tool uses the position and alignment detected by the Shape Locator
(e.g., of a box) to position the
measurement windows onto the correct area of the object. The Find Plane tool is
ideal for inspection tasks in which the angle of surfaces (e.g., a correctly applied
screw top) is to be reliably measured and assessed in a matter of milliseconds.
With the Blob Finder tool, the TriSpector1000 locates objects within a
user-defined size range, regardless of their shape. For example, this allows
the sensor to reliably check for the presence of various parts in the sorting
tray of folding boxes while ensuring the
integrity of the entire packaging unit. If parts of the specified contents are
missing or if there are too many parts in the box, this will be registered as NOK. This will allow you to detect errors in upstream input processes
and also prevent the causes of faults in downstream processes, e.g., sealing
the packaging.

the configuration improves cost-effectiveness and availability

Integrated image processing, the factory calibration of the
3D data output, and the uniform output of measured values in millimetres; allow you to duplicate stored data
and configurations according to a specific application. In this way, machine
manufacturers and integrators can quickly and easily duplicate identical
inspection tasks. In the event of a fault, end users can replace a device
without losing time thanks to the use of stored data and configurations –
thereby minimising downtime and optimising availability and performance in
their plant.

more than a vision

image processing has been developed into
what is one of the key automation technologies for industrial production and
quality control. Image-based code readers, vision sensors, and image-processing
systems, therefore, occupy a
corresponding amount of space in the SICK portfolio. With the data and measured
values generated by vision sensors such as the TriSpector1000, as well as their
integration into real-time Fieldbus
environments, they provide valuable information which can be used for autonomous process control in the
smart factory of today and tomorrow. So image processing within the context of
Industry 4.0 is more than just “vision” – it is an “enabling technology” used
for independently optimising the
application of cyber-physical production systems (CPPS), e.g., as intelligent
equipment, thereby enabling responsive and process-oriented production control
and quality assurance. The TriSpector1000 offers the capability required here
to detect, measure, assess, and communicate intelligently
– thereby enabling future-proof process and quality control within the context
of Industry 4.0.

Image material

Image: TriSpector1000_IM0061672.jpg

from SICK for capturing and evaluating 3D images directly


vision is well suited to the analysis of
shapes, volumes, or the 3D position of objects.

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