Food manufacturers are held to strict agency regulations regarding product quality and consistency. Repeatable visual inspections are critical to ensure consumers receive a consistent and safe product. As regulations have increased, machine vision technology has become more intelligent to follow suit — a trend that some machine builders are using to their advantage.
The Budé Group — a family-owned company located in Maastricht, Netherlands — has supported customers such as food manufacturers for a quarter-century, designing and manufacturing equipment and full production lines for diverse applications. With in-house capabilities including controls design, PLC, and robot programming already employed, Budé is extending their company’s core technologies portfolio by developing machinery with integrated machine vision capabilities. While the company had produced equipment utilizing machine vision in the past, now they sought a vision solution that delivered a combination of technology, cost-efficiency, and simplicity of use.
Budé selected the PPT VISION IMPACT® M-Series Embedded Vision System for this new equipment offering, called the Multipacker®. This vision system can incorporate up to four of PPT VISION’s M-Series smart cameras — each capable of performing its own independent inspection task — utilizing a single M40 processor, reducing cost per inspection point. These inspections can be initiated independently at different times or simultaneously, increasing application flexibility, yet the shared processor allows communication among all cameras.
The Multipacker system is used to inspect a product’s quality, including how a product is shaped, oriented, and sized, before it is packaged for distribution. In one application of this technology, Budé employed the Multipacker system to inspect hamburger patties — which are fried, then frozen for preservation — to verify product quality and consistency in color. To complete this inspection, the vision system utilizes the IMPACT software suite, which allows users to develop custom graphical user interfaces and create complex inspections via simplified programming using drag-and-drop icons. The IMPACT M-Series platform also supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), reducing cabling.
“We have worked with other machine vision systems in the past, but we have never had a system that offers as much value and flexibility as the M-Series,” said Marcel Budé, Director of the Budé Group. “PPT VISION’s M40 system allows us to provide visual inspections for all types of food applications, including high-speed robot sorting or multi-camera inspections, while reducing production costs and ensuring the end customer receives only the highest quality product possible,” Budé added.