Industrial camera speeds packaging surgical instruments

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A software developer has designed a vision system for processing sterile surgical instruments in hospitals, simplifying the packaging process. The system uses an integrated XS mini USB camera from IDS to simplify the packing process for disinfected instruments.

The software, EuroSDS from IBD Datentechnik (Information Technology), provides legally compliant documentation of all process steps in packaging sterile instruments. The XS camera is mounted at the packing station where the disinfected sterile goods are either repacked individually, or in sets.

Images of individual sterile goods, or entire sets, are captured and archived directly at the packing station. Integrated in the master data for the instruments, these images allow the operator to combine and pack the sets. Video sequences can be integrated in the packing list as a link.

Before the IDS XS camera was available, images were captured using a conventional digital camera and eventually read into a computer to be reviewed and edited as necessary, and then linked manually to the respective data records. This was a laborious and time-consuming process that was prone to user-error. Now, image acquisition and camera control functions are fully integrated into the quality management system.

The XS camera's high resolution and auto focus deliver sharp images from distances down to 10cm, which was particularly important for this application.

Unlike many industrial environments, the conditions for capturing images at the packing station are usually not ideal. Parameters such as exposure time, white balance, and gain are automatically adjusted to adapt for varying lighting conditions. Using various default settings for lighting types and fields of view, these functions can be fine-tuned as necessary.

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