Inline Quality Inspection of textile and industrial fabrics
Industrial fabrics need to have specific characteristics according to industrial standards. Inspection units examine kilometers of textile to detect any defects affecting the reliability and quality of the fabrics.
Textile is everywhere. It is one of the most versatile products used in almost every imaginable industry, from fashion and lifestyle to medical use or the automotive industry. Other examples are sunscreens, lashing straps, dog leashes or protective fabrics for outdoor sports. Every kind of textile has its own unique characteristics based on comfort, strength, absorbency, repellency, abrasion resistance, and breathability. In all of these cases the user has to be able to rely 100 % on the product’s quality and the absence of defects. In the end, safety depends on the tensile strength or elasticity of a belt, rope or material. A faulty product could trigger fatal consequences. To maintain the specific characteristics of the fabric’s quality, control and assessments in the production process are important elements for textile manufacturers. Yet, they are usually time-consuming and error-prone when carried out by the human eye.
For this purpose, Comvis, one of the leading Dutch companies in the textile industry, has developed the Texplorer software suite, a specialized vision software for the inline quality inspection of textile and industrial fabrics. The company´s vision inspection units that run the Texplorer software inspect both narrow fabrics (such as seat belt webbing, elastic belts, hoses, industrial belts for strapping/ lashing, etc.) and wide fabrics (such as such as screens, sieves, (medical) bandages, base layers, woven and non-woven fabrics) for spots, stains, broken filaments and agent servant defects.
The inspection units are equipped with Allied Vision's Mako cameras. Integrated into the software suite via the standard software for machine vision, HALCON, two Allied Vision Mako G-234 cameras capture high-quality images of the inspected fabrics. The 2.35 Megapixel GigE cameras incorporate the Sony IMX249 CMOS sensor. At full resolution, the cameras run at 41.2 frames per second.
With a smaller region of interest, higher frame rates are possible. The cameras deliver high-quality images of the fabrics, benefiting from the precisely aligned sensor. They can easily be integrated into inspection units such as Comvis´ system because of their small dimensions of 60.5 × 29.2 × 29.2 mm, including connectors. They also include Power over Ethernet (PoE), and thus can be operated via a single cable for power and data transfer. Stemmer Imaging B.V., Allied Vision's distribution partner in the Netherlands, has provided the cameras as well as the Halcon vision software for the fabric inspection system.
Detecting and Analyzing Defects
The Texplorer software analyzes the quality of the required specific characteristics in real-time. By analyzing the provided images through powerful image and data acquisition algorithms, the system captures the smallest defects that are the hardest to find. A graphical overview shows the running quality expressed across the last 1000 meters. Every type of defect is represented with a respective colored dot. If desired, all captured defects can be physically labeled and saved into a defect log file containing all the necessary data like time, position, production batch and defect image. The documentation of the detected defects guarantees full defect traceability and helps to improve the production process continuously. Kilometers of textile can be inspected in one go with a speed of up to 200 meters per minute.
100 % Inspection
By using automated vision inspection units instead of relying on human vision, textile manufacturers can speed up their production process and increase the quality of their products. The management applications show real-time defect images and allow the operator to edit a protocol and adjust settings without the need to stop or slow down the production process.
With the Texplorer inspection units, textile manufacturers can guarantee that their customers will be provided with A-class products, 100 % inspected according to industrial standards, which is especially important when they are used for safety-relevant applications. "The chance that the seat belts in your car were inspected by the Comvis solution with Allied Vision's Mako cameras is 50 %", said Harm Hanekamp, Sales Manager at Stemmer Imaging in Zutphen, the Netherlands, pointing out the success of the globally marketed vision solution.