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Vision systems for inspection - .22” bullets

Multi-axis, multi-camera inspection system to check .22” bullets prior to assembly of the completed ammunition round.

The customer

This long standing British company was established in 1828 , and has a long and proud tradition in the high standard of manufacture of rimfire ammunition. Specializing in .22 calibre cartridges, and is widely regarded as the world leader with its flagship product sold in more than 130 countries


Fisher Smith worked with Birmingham based MKL Automation and the customers own engineering team to produce 3 systems, using multiple cameras and multi-axis motion all controlled from Fisher Smith’s own RoboVis software.

The solution

The customer needed to accurately sort bullets for the top range product. The bullets needed to be inspected for heel damage as this directly affects the shooting accuracy when the shot leaves the case

Bullets are placed in a tray of 900 ready for insertion into the loading machines which insert each bullet into a primed cartridge case. Prior to this process the bullet heels must be inspected for damage.
The systems use a three axis motion system using a Baldor NextMove motion controller with Baldor micro-stepping stepper motors with integrated drives. One axis controls the position of the tray, one axis the position of the cameras across the tray and a third axis controls a vacuum reject head which removes faulty products from the tray. The whole system is controlled by FS Systems’ own RoboVis software using a bespoke script language to integrate inspection and motion tasks into one program. Each camera inspects four bullet heels in each image. The tray indexes into the machine once the cameras have inspected a complete row. Illumination is provided by Vision & Control RK1220-R ringlights to reflect light off the heel area. Complex region extraction algorithms are used to extract the heel ‘donut’ area to allow threshold/blob inspection to check for damage in the heel area. The third axis moves across the tray to remove any reject bullets. A final inspection of the tray is carried out to check that all faulty bullets have been removed.

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