Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM in Germany have developed an optical inspection system called WIRE-AOI that can detect defects in strip products such as pipes, rails, and wires in real time. The system detects micro-defects that zoom past it at 10 meters per second, and are no thicker than a human hair. Workers then see the processed defects depicted graphically on a monitor, and can remove the corresponding pieces.

Four cameras collectively deliver 40,000 analyzed images per second. (© Fraunhofer IPM)

The system marks the location of the defect, and stores the associated camera image in a database. This way, the makers of strip products can identify, classify, and document defects during production. Four high-speed cameras deliver the images of the defects. Each one is capable of shooting 10,000 images per second, and processing them in real time.

Things can get rough when producing strip products. The inspection system, with its sensitive electronic and optical components, is in the middle of the production line so the workpieces literally go directly through it.