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Automatic machine vision foil print inspection on container lids

Innovative, easy to train, foil print inspection on circular and square, clear and opaque cosmetic container lids

The customer

The end customer develops and manufactures a diverse range of high quality packs for a wide variety of customers, including many household names, across a large number of market sectors.

Their innovative packaging solutions meet many different requirements – from creating effective on-shelf presence to providing the right levels of convenience, functionality and protection – all of which help to establish and reflect a product’s image and market positioning, adding value to their customers’ brand propositions and giving end consumers confidence and reassurance in their purchasing decisions.

This site specializes in custom injection moulding from initial concept sketch through to the shelf.
Full design facility with ability to sketch concepts, 2D, 3D drawings and arrange concept models/prototypes. Injection moulded standard and customised containers for branded retail and presentational use.


Fisher Smith worked with PCE Automation on these projects.

Formed in 1961 PCE Automation Ltd has established itself as an automation solutions provider for a wide range of product handling, assembling and testing systems with a worldwide reputation for innovation and quality.

The continuing need for increases in productivity and profitability has demanded that any introduction of automation must give the highest levels of efficiency and reliability to ensure a quick payback on investment.

From their modern industrial production facility PCE Automation Ltd has the total capability to design, manufacture and integrate equipment into your new or existing production lines to give a turnkey solution.

The Requirement

The customer produces a range of clear and opaque cosmetic caps onto which they tamper print with a variety of foils, mostly silver coloured but also gold and other colours. The end customer has a stringent requirement for print integrity and contamination, hence prior to packing every lid needs to be inspected. Previously this was a manual operation, but this was expensive, time consuming and fallible. With the need to auto-pack for speed the requirement for automatic inspection became paramount.

A requirement for vision inspection at the output of two moulding processes, prior to packing, was requested, with automation and packing provided by PCE Automation.

Overview of the solution

The illumination of these products, particularly with clear and highly reflective plastics, and mirror finish over-print, was a huge challenge. The application needed cloudy day illumination with 100% homogeneity. Fisher Smith chose the cloudy day illumination from MicroScan with a two channel light controller from Gardasoft.

Fisher Smith chose to use its unique PrintCheck product for this project. PrintCheck is a PC based vision inspection application specifically written for challenging over-print inspection applications.

A single two megapixel GigE camera from Basler was mounted above the cloudy day illumination, with a camera digital output used to strobe the light for maximum power.

Parts are inspected whilst moving and are transported through the inspection area by a twin belt conveyor system, ensuring that the majority of the clear part can be viewed over a white plastic background

Vision technologies used

PrintCheck uses advanced shape recognition and image rotation algorithms to locate the print and rotate to a nominal position before applying its PrintCheck tool which takes a series of good images and produces an acceptable variation model into which all inspected images must pass. This system is very easy to teach and has the added bonus that additional samples can be added in-line.

A saved product can be modified in the background whilst the machine is still running without affecting the running component, once the setup has been adjusted it can be re-loading into the runtime element of the software without stopping the machine.

Company Info

Fisher Smith design and supply machine vision systems for automatic inspection and identification of manufactured parts on industrial production lines and supply high quality vision components to other machine vision suppliers, integrators and OEMs.


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