360° Continuous Surface Inspection
Surface Inspection with a Footprint of Just 1 m²
Orbiter 600 is a machine vision system for the 360° inspection of surfaces in a continuous process. It is designed to detect mechanical damages in the smooth surface of components produced in press cycles. The unit is typically used to inspect round casings produced in large volume on, for instance, a press line. Depending on the actual size of the part, the system is capable of inspecting up to 120 parts per minute. Orbiter 600 enables the accurate inspection of surfaces with a dull or shiny finish or with a mixture of both. The combination of diffuse incident light and glancing light guarantees defects are sorted out efficiently. In addition, Orbiter 600 has a compact design: the test cell easily fits into any production facility thanks to its footprint of just 1 m².
Omni Control offers complete solutions or modular designed optical inspection and measuring systems for advanced quality assurance activities within a volume production environment. Parts and components are usually inspected using image processing and laser techniques.
What is Orbiter 600?
Orbiter 600 is a machine vision system for the 360° inspection of surfaces in a continuous process. It is typically used for round casings produced in large volume and at a rate of one cycle per second on, e.g., a press line. Orbiter 600 is – in contrast to the majority of 360° optical surface inspection systems – designed for the accurate inspection of surfaces with a dull or shiny finish or with a mixture of both. Omni Control has successfully developed a compact and powerful machine vision system with a small footprint. The basic frame structure measures just one metre by one metre. The incorporation of six colour cameras arranged in a hexagonal configuration and an additional overhead camera with high-performance image processing software enables Orbiter 600 to fully inspect the outer surface of work pieces for damage. Typical surface defects include: inclusion marks, zinc flaking and scratches. A conveyor belt transports the parts through the unit. As such, it is not necessary to rotate or to clock the parts to capture images. The test result is available as soon as the part exits the test cell and any defects can be sorted out immediately.
How does it work?
A guardrail ensures the parts are positioned in the middle of the conveyor belt, irrespective of their orientation.
Once a part is located in the centre of the Orbiter test cell it is flashed and the cameras pick up any contrast changes. Parts are tracked in the unit by a measuring wheel encoder and light barriers at the inlet and outlet of the test cell.
The images from six cameras are stitched together to create a virtual geometric shape of the surface. All the cameras are calibrated with the same parameters to guarantee distortion-free, highly accurate images.
Lighting and cameras
The unit combines two illumination principles for the accurate detection of defects: diffuse all-round lighting (blue) and overhead glancing light from ring lighting units (red). The brightness of the lights can be adjusted utilising test software developed specifically for this purpose by Omni Control. It is additionally possible to control the glancing ring lighting units individually. Not surprisingly, lighting can therefore be tailored to specific parts and applications.
The cameras are incorporated inside the test cell and thus well protected. The specially employed lenses mean images can be captured without the need for focussing at all. A seventh camera positioned overhead checks whether components are actually positioned in the middle of the conveyor belt.
Application of cutting-edge, ultra-bright LEDs limits the exposure time of the cameras to just one millisecond. As a result, there is practically no image distortion caused by moving components. The LED rings for the overhead glancing light can be adjusted individually in terms of brightness and the respective component. Six colour cameras arranged in a hexagonal configuration deliver real-time inspection. The extensive depth of focus ranges from 30 to 110 mm thanks to the special objectives of the colour cameras. The unit housing is fully sealed against condensation, and the optical surfaces are easy to access and clean.
Due to its compact footprint of just 1 m², Orbiter 600 easily fits into any production facility. The inspection system is ideal for the 360° outer surface inspection of round components. Orbiter 600 can also be used to inspect flattened casings, irrespective of whether they are made of metal or plastic, with a dull or shiny surface, or a combination of both. The system detects mechanical damage in a smooth surface. Fractional inclusion marks can be detected by a specific chain error algorithm.
Omni Control Prüfsysteme was established in 1997 as part of GeneSys Elektronik GmbH. From the start, Omni Control has focussed its efforts on developing optical surface inspection systems. The company's expertise extends to the utilisation of multi-camera systems and the implementation of challenging projects using lines cameras and 3D applications.
Such have been the synergies created by the cooperation with GeneSys that Omni Control does not rely on standard software libraries but has the ability to exploit its own developments in the fields of optics, lighting and algorithms. Orbiter 600 is a prime example of this.