Keyence vision system inspects data matrix codes

  • March 22, 2016
  • Keyence Corporation of America
  • Case Study

March 22, 2016 - H2M Technologies, a French company that builds packaging machines for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, has integrated Keyence's XG-7000 vision system for on-line inspection of statutory markings and data matrix codes.

H2M Technologies offers comprehensive solutions in the field of machine engineering, design, manufacturing and retrofitting, and participates in equipment automation and retrofitting projects. It is also active in the cosmetics industry, where the requirements are very similar to those in pharmaceutical. Based in France, the company operates two offices in Brittany and Centre region.

"We developed market-specific solutions for the printing and on-line inspection of statutory markings and data matrix codes," says Alain Herraux, manager of the Centre region office. "The latter are particularly important, as they have been mandatory since January 1st  2011. Our industry-compliant machines feature conveyors with guide rails and perform inkjet printing and data matrix grade inspection operations at rates of up to 250 boxes a minute."

"Due to the vision system's importance in this application, we felt it was necessary to have greater freedom of control; that's when we contacted Keyence. Our requirement was that the vision system had to be integrated in a single control interface that would be used to operate our machines and printers and perform inspections."

"Although we don't consider ourselves to be vision experts, it didn't take us long to understand how to use the XG-7000," Herraux adds. "The flowchart programming and editing settings are very easy. I also find it more 'industrial' in the sense that it delivers reliable results and makes detecting errors easy. The fact that we can display flowcharts is also a major plus. In the end, we were able to integrate the vision system in our custom configuration without any problems and received support from Keyence whenever it was necessary,"

Since installing three XG-7000 vision systems, H2M Technologies has seen their advantages first-hand: "Keyence's solution offers real benefits. Also, it is stable because calculations are made directly on the controller. We control the programming and the camera much faster. Before, we sometimes encountered response speed issues, but now we can perform data matrix inspection and six OCR scans in 180 ms. Our system has enough time to remove any defective parts it detects".

What makes Keyence's XG-7000 vision system so outstanding is that it is a very comprehensive solution. As well as offering the highest performance in terms of speed (1 million pixels in just 20.5 ms), resolution, stability and the range of its software toolset, the XG-7000 Series can also be programmed in a PC environment. Its powerful processing platform is housed in a dedicated image-processing controller, not a PC, to avoid overloading and maintenance issues. The XG VisionEditor software toolset is intuitive, fast, flexible and fully customizable. Stored images output by the controller during operation can be used in particular to simulate detection results and determine optimal settings. The program is in the form of a flowchart in which users can simply drag and drop processing units (tools), and also select from a wide range of algorithms and filters. The system's flexibility also stems from the fact that the C-language source code can be integrated by the user in order to run algorithms, apply custom filters, and port existing applications. Debugging tools and a trace log (a log that traces the program's I/Os, sequencing, commands, and I/Os in the PLC) allow the vision program and the interface with the PLC to be tested to reduce integration time. 

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