Sensors Enhance Product Inspection
June 29, 2010
In industries ranging from pharmaceutical to food and beverage to automotive, properly functioning machinery is the key to ensuring manufactured products meet the highest quality standards. This is particularly crucial in pharmaceutical and medical component assembly. With increasing industry regulations, production machinery-and the sensors used on them for inspection purposes-have become essential for compliance.
in pharmaceutical and medical component assembly. With increasing industry regulations, production machinery-and the sensors used on them for inspection purposes-have become essential for compliance.
Dial-X Automated Equipment (Albion, IN) has designed and delivered custom machinery for pharmaceutical applications and many others since 1972. Developing accurate machinery that not only conveys parts, but also inspects product for quality assurance during the manufacturing process, the company supplies the machinery necessary to meet regulations and patient needs. During the past decade, Dial-X has utilized machine vision equipment from Banner Engineering (Minneapolis) in their automated machinery to offer customers accurate results and simple system usability.
Dial-X provides single source machine building and integration services. At their site in Albion, IN, Dial-X designs, assembles and tests all equipment before installing it in the customer’s plant. The company customizes the equipment for each client-ensuring that the inspections necessary for each product are performed effectively and efficiently. Examinations for correct size or shape and proper component alignment after assembly are common. Banner Engineering’s vision sensor technology is often used to check for deformities or faulty mold or assembly. Inspecting the product from start to finish, these sensors ensure quality manufacturing.
“We chose Banner originally because their equipment was low in cost and worked well for inspecting our customers’ products,” says Curt Bonar, president of Dial-X.
The company integrates Banner’s PresencePLUS Pro vision system and P4 self-contained cameras into their machinery. The P4 integrates the controller into the camera itself while the Pro demonstrates great flexibility due to its enhanced software toolset and relatively small size. Both cameras offer an advanced toolset and sophisticated communications abilities, as well as significant sales support.
Jeremy Nichols, C&E sales distributor, who has sold Banner vision solutions to Dial-X for machines used to assemble products such as connectors, says the vision products have proven instrumental in advancing the machinery’s automation capabilities. “Banner’s products deliver high performance for less money, and the support Banner provides is, in my opinion, a step above the competition-they’ll make every effort to make sure customers receive the products they need right away.”
Banner’s cameras have Ethernet connectivity, allowing inspection results to be communicated directly from the camera to a PLC. As the sensors can easily adjust to manufacturing line changes, production downtime also is minimized.
Nichols comments that the biggest advantage Banner’s PresencePLUS cameras offer is easy operation.
“The reason we’ve sold so many Banner cameras is because you don’t have to be a vision engineer to work on it,” says Nichols. “Maintenance workers can adjust the camera directly and set up an inspection.”
Dial-X uses Banner technology in other applications as well. Besides the cameras, Dial-X has incorporated Banner lighting accessories into their operations. These light accessories ensure customer parts are correctly illuminated to deliver the finest contrast for each application.
“Banner offers everything from spotlights to backlights and area lights,” says Bonar.
In a recent machine Dial-X has built for assembling connectors, the company used 11 Banner PresencePLUS cameras, two spotlights, a backlight and an on-axis light. Each lighting type was chosen for the machine depending on the connector part to be inspected.
The ease of use and reliability of Banner’s technologies ensures Dial-X the machinery they are developing is the highest quality-resulting in reliable and superior pharmaceutical products.