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Laser profile sensors give inline inspection of chocolate

For the enjoyment of chocolate, taste is not the only crucial factor. It should also be a feast for the eyes. Perfect appearance conveys a sense of sophistication and full chocolate flavour. Modern 2D/3D laser profile sensors (laser scanners) from Micro-Epsilon are directly integrated in chocolate processing lines, enabling inline, real time inspection of complete product ranges, based on non-contact, efficient high speed measurements.

Whilst chocolate production has become a fully automated process, there are often still time-consuming quality controls. If quality control at the end of the production process is a manual one, either based on tactile measurements or using laser point sensors, this can be time-consuming and costly to the business. Visual inspection by employees is also time-consuming and does not provide consistent quality results, as this manual process depends on, for example, the daily mood of the employees.

Significant savings

In contrast, laser scanners from Micro-Epsilon offer a solution that involves significant time savings compared to previous inspection procedures and, at the same time, high precision quality control of the entire production range instead of relying on random checks. The scanCONTROL 2960-100 laser profile scanner inspects the whole production range in real time.

With a throughput rate of more than 60m/min, these high speed laser scanners detect each profile of the finished chocolate bars on a non-contact basis and transfer this information to the software. The scanCONTROL Configuration Tools software enables sensor set up and configuration. Measured values are calibrated to pre-defined parameters, which typically include profile, width, height, depth, edge, groove, flatness and deformation. Once the laser scanner has determined the measurement values, either an ‘OK’ or a ‘NOK’ signal is directly transmitted to the control system of the production line and any associated steps in the production process can be carried out. It is therefore possible to immediately intervene in the production process if required, thereby minimising rejects and waste. The scanCONTROL laser scanners operate on a non-contact basis and can be placed at some distance from the measurement object. These systems provide reliable results even in applications where the conveyor belt has different surface properties or where multiple colours (from light to dark chocolate) are present.

In terms of their size, accuracy and measuring rate, the scanCONTROL series of laser scanners are among the highest performing laser profile sensors in the world. Even the smallest of parts can be measured to the highest precision, enabling a new dimension of quality control. The scanCONTROL range of laser profile sensors are divided into three classes: COMPACT, HIGHSPEED and SMART. The first two versions respectively transmit the raw profile to a point cloud for use in the customer’s own evaluation software, whereas the SMART scanner series carries out the evaluation directly in the sensor head.


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