Keyence helps BIC reduce its reject rates

Keyence's XG Series vision system provides the solution to quality issues that have long plagued the complex process of razor quality inspection. BIC has been present in 160 countries on all continents for more than 60 years. The brand is one of the most recognised in the world - the BIC Cristal is the world's top-selling ballpoint pen, and the company is the leading manufacturer of stationery products in Europe, Latin America and Africa, as well as a world leader in brand-name pocket lighters. In 1975, BIC revolutionised the shaving world with its first disposable single-blade razor. Sales of its triple-blade and quadruple-blade razors are growing strongly and the company is the world's second-largest maker of disposable razors. In 2012, BIC reported net sales of 2482 million USD, of which 20 per cent was from razors.

Every BIC razor is manufactured at the company's three plants in northern France (Verberie), Greece (Athens) and Brazil (Manaus). The Verberie plant has installed Keyence's XG Series vision system on its BIC Comfort Twin razor assembly lines.

Jean-Philippe Pollet, Assembly Project Manager for BIC Comfort Twin/Classic razors says: "We perform several quality control checks. We look for missing or defective blades: we inspect the covers, which are little plastic parts that hold the blades in place, we check for defective or mispositioned lubricating strips, and, last of all, we check the front bars, which are the parts that glide over the skin.

"The razors have shiny, lubricated blades with grooved front bars that make detection difficult. The previous system we used would reject good razors, so we had to resort to sorting by hand. What we needed was a vision system that could overcome these issues, carry out numerous checks and inspections and keep up with our high production rates."

After installing a Keyence vision system, the plant saw an increase in its detection reliability for three reasons. First, the system's miniature cameras freed up space for Keyence's larger, higher-performance lighting. Second, the resolution is finer despite the high production rates. Keyence's 2 megapixel miniature colour camera is described as the world's smallest, and transfers all 2 million pixels in 59ms. Third, detection is stabilised by the integrated image optimisation algorithms (image filters).

The system features a number of real-time filters, including a shade correction filter that eliminates shadows as well as glare on target surfaces. Unlike common vision systems, which apply the same correction to every image, the shade correction filter adapts to variations in real time.

Pollet explains: "The algorithms and software toolsets really influenced our decision to choose Keyence, as did the compact design of the cameras because there's not much space to place things on our assembly machines. Last of all, the system's intuitiveness and easy programming are advantages. The settings are easy to change, and that's very important. We were able to quickly develop intuitive user interfaces that allow our operators to change the detection thresholds and other settings by themselves."

Keyence's XG Series vision systems offer an optional PC-based programming environment, called VisionEditor, that is intuitive, simple and fully customisable. Programming is done in the form of a flow chart in which users simply drag and drop processing "˜blocks' and features a wide range of algorithms and filters.

Pollet concludes: "Keyence's vision system combines detection quality and stability. It has enabled us to achieve a sixfold reduction in our razor reject rate and do away with manual sorting. As you can imagine, the financial gains are considerable. Furthermore, even though the cameras are miniaturised, they capture colour images. As a result, we can check the shade of the lubricating strip, something that wasn't possible before. Last of all, although knowing a few basics of vision technology is necessary, the system is quite easy to learn how to use."

For more information about the XG Series vision system please visit www.keyence.co.uk/PRXG7.

Keyence (UK) Ltd

Altius House
1 North Fourth Street
MILTON KEYNES
MK9 1DG
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0) 1908 696900

ukinfo@keyence.co.uk

www.keyence.co.uk

More applications
8 hours ago
PPMA appointments James Causebrook as new chairman
James Causebrook, managing director at Grunwald UK, has been appointed as the new chairman of the PPMA. With over 15 years of valuable experience in business, James is sure to hit the ground running, knowing what it takes to lead a team and exceed its targets.
11 hours ago
BFPA appoints Chris Butcher as managing director
BFPA has announced the appointment of Chris Butcher as managing director. He joins BFPA from Woodway Engineering, where he was managing director for the Coventry based company, and brings over 25 years of experience in the fluid power industry.
15 hours ago
Robot marketplace makes individual low-cost automation even easier
Igus says its RBTX online marketplace, which helps users looking for cost-effective automation solutions, brings over 100 cost-effective automation solutions to your fingertips, and includes new functions and automation feasibility demonstrations.
2 days ago
TMI Group turns to Kawasaki for milling machine automation
Dutch integrator RFA Rijlaarsdam Factory Automation has installed a Kawasaki Robotics EMEA RS020N robot with an Okuma Benelux Genos M460V-5AX milling machine at TMI Group Nederland in Hengelo.
2 days ago
100 million seals made from 45% recycled plastics
Essentra Components is expanding the ranges of security seals that it will manufacture using a minimum of 45% recycled material, after a successful 100 million piece initial phase.
5 days ago
Vision systems help IMA Group raise industry standards
IMA Active, a division of IMA Group dedicated to the production of automated systems and machinery for the pharmaceutical industry, has upgraded its continuous tablet-coating solution with the installation of Omron’s vision system equipped with a high-speed colour camera and dome light.
5 days ago
New robotics sales engineer for the North East
With demand for RARUK Automation’s automation solutions continuing to grow, the company has expanded its team of robotics and systems sales engineers. The most recent appointment is Tony Bailes, the new robotics sales engineer for the North East of England.
1 week ago
Kistler Group presents global climate strategy
The Kistler Group has presented its global climate strategy with facts and figures on its commitment to greater sustainability in its first sustainability report.
1 week ago
Euchner looks to drive growth strategy with new appointment
Euchner has further demonstrated its commitment to its growth strategy with the appointment of Hollie Dixon in a new business development role.
1 week ago
Energy efficiency is the best way for industry to cut costs
In a new report, ABB is quoted on recommendations for improving industrial energy efficiency, which is seen as being the best way for businesses to cut costs and reduce emissions right now.

Login / Sign up