We're involved in quite a few innovative projects, many of which we are bound to secrecy over. However, good fortune would have it that our end customer, Long Clawson Dairy, was sufficiently happy with our solution that they gave permission for us to publish and enter the award for the Innovative Machine Vision Solution at the PPMA Awards 2019.
The 3D Robot Vision system that we provided in conjunction with Stelram Engineering solves a very big problem they had at the Clawson's factory that makes Stilton cheese. Quite simply, the odd shaped cheese portions are difficult to label automatically. Using a mechanical labelling system, labels were applied to cheese wedges of all shapes and sizes. The fact that no two pieces of cheese are the same size is a major headache for a fixed mechanical system. So we designed a vision system that created a mathematical 3D model of each piece of cheese as it travelled under our cameras, along a conveyor belt.
We used this model to identify the longest side where the label was destined to be placed, straight and level. Once this is done (in a few hundred milliseconds), the coordinates are sent along with the slant angle and other relevant information.
The business benefit to Clawson's has been enormous as they were having to re-work as much as 80% of their cheeses, obviously at great cost.