Drill bits sorted using machine vision

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German machine builder, Schuster-Präzision has designed and developed a machine for one of its largest customers to accurately sort 180,000 drill pieces per day. Cognex vision systems were used as a key component of the sorting machines.

In the first step of the sorting process, the container of the machine, which is equipped with an In-Sight 5100 from Cognex, is filled with several thousand drill components. A sliding mechanism then moves the individual pieces down a ramp and onto a conveyor line.

The In-Sight and a special gripper ensure that the heads of the drill bits point in the correct direction. With its precise sensors, the system detects the positions of the parts and transfers this information to the container’s microprocessor. If a drill component is positioned correctly, it is simply transported further on towards the output area. If a drill piece is not positioned correctly however, the In-Sight informs the gripper which grabs it and positions it correctly so it can continue to the output area with the other pieces. This is a simple process but it requires reliable machine components because of the large numbers of parts being processed.

As in many other areas of the metal processing industry, machines must be robust in order to achieve the required precision, reliability and to operate round-the-clock. The vibrations caused by mechanical conveyors, jolts from pneumatic systems and the dust in the production areas present quite a challenge to precision machinery. Vision systems from Cognex are built to be particularly robust so that quality standards are always maintained, even under the most difficult conditions. Equipped with die cast housings, lens protectors and M12 connectors with seals, they can withstand even the roughest industrial environments.

The In-Sight 5000 family is indispensable for Schuster-Präzision because it guarantees high-quality production systems. General manager and company founder Helmut Schuster said: ‘With Cognex, complete reliability, innovative technologies and excellent service allow us to meet our quality standards 100 per cent of the time and allow us to plan our business effectively.’

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