Stemmer Imaging and Olmec claim PPMA awards

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Two awards have been presented to vision companies at the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA) show, which took place from 25-27 September. Stemmer Imaging won the Partnership Award, while Olmec, a vision systems integrator, won an award for the Most Innovative Machine Vision Project.

Stemmer Imaging won the Partnership Award for the provision of vision technology for use in food slicing machines manufactured by Marel. Vision specialists from Stemmer Imaging have worked closely with experts from Marel to develop a system that would enable a wider range of larger products to be processed with greater accuracy.

Mark Williamson, director of corporate development at Stemmer Imaging, commented: ‘Receiving this accolade rewards the really close levels of co-operation we have had with Marel who are one of our strategic OEM partners. We have worked to help them develop a flexible, patented solution that has been adopted on a range of commercially available high speed, high volume, continuous feed slicer products. The system measures the area, lean/fat ratio and the lean/fat structure and takes into account their different densities before adjusting the thickness of the next slice and providing grading information to labelling technology down the line. By delivering the vision subsystem pre-configured and tested, we are also removing Marel’s need for post design engineering inherent when using fast changing PC based technology.’

Stemmer Imaging also achieved ‘highly commended’ status in the Customer Service Award category – another of the PPMA Group Industry Awards.

Olmec was recognised with the Most Innovative Machine Vision Project award for developing a vision system for the final inspection of ear drop dispensers at Thornton and Ross, an independent OTC manufacturer in the UK.

In 2011, Thornton and Ross commissioned a new packaging line for a range of ear drop products. At a late stage in development the original inspection system built into the line system was found to not be capable of inspecting the droppers to ensure that they were intact before packaging. Olmec was asked to provide a means of solving the application without impacting the existing footprint or layout of the process.

Olmec’s technical director, Robert Pounder, said: ‘We are thrilled that our expertise in our field has been recognised through this award. As vision systems integrators, many customers come to us with difficult engineering challenges. However, this project was particularly satisfying as we were constrained by the position in the process that the images could be acquired and we had to link our twin line scan camera solution into an existing reject mechanism. The project involved a combination of skills including vision technology, mechanical engineering, software and control system interfacing.’

Andrew Felstead, project engineering manager at Thornton and Ross, said: ‘The importance of vision in this process was recognised at an early stage, but when the OEM vision system failed to meet our original scope, we were faced with a potential disaster. The complete system was so far advanced we had to retain its overall design and that placed severe demands on Olmec. It required a highly innovative approach to devise a vision system that could make all of the required measurements at the required speed within the physical restrictions of the existing system.’

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