Olmec wins ‘Most Innovative Machine Vision Project 2012’

03 October 2012

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Olmec has won an award for the Most Innovative Machine Vision Project 2012. The award, which is part of the Processing & Packaging Machinery Association Group Awards recognised Olmec’s development of a vision system for the final inspection of ear drop dispensers prior to packaging at Thornton & Ross.

Thornton & Ross Ltd is the largest independent OTC manufacturer in the UK and develops, manufactures and supplies a growing portfolio of healthcare products. In 2011, the company commissioned a new packaging line for a range of ear drop products. At a late stage in development the original inspection system built into the line system was found to not be capable of inspecting the droppers to ensure that they were intact before packaging. Olmec was asked to provide a means of solving the application without impacting the existing footprint or layout of the process.

Olmec’s Technical Director, Robert Pounder says: “We are thrilled that our expertise in our field has been recognised through this award. As vision systems integrators, many customers come to us with difficult engineering challenges. However, this project was particularly satisfying as we were constrained by the position in the process that the images could be acquired and we had to link our twin linescan camera solution into an existing reject mechanism. The project involved a combination of skills including vision technology, mechanical engineering, software and control system interfacing.”

Andrew Felstead, Project Engineering Manager at Thornton & Ross Ltd, says: “Thornton & Ross made a significant investment in step change technology which relies upon guaranteed product quality. The importance of vision in this process was recognised at an early stage, but when the OEM vision system failed to meet our original scope, we were faced with a potential disaster. The complete system was so far advanced we had to retain its overall design and that placed severe demands on Olmec. It required a highly innovative approach to devise a vision system that could make all of the required measurements at the required speed within the physical restrictions of the existing system.”

The Judging Panel commented: “Olmec’s solution stood out as a prime example of a vision system designed for a specific purpose, successfully achieving its goals. The system was all the more impressive as Olmec were appointed late in the process.”

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