Optical inspection of product insertion into the injection moulding machine

We have implemented optical quality control of needle injection into an injection moulding machine at Smiths Medical, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of medical products. The system consists of two cameras – one positioned above and the other at an angle, allowing close monitoring and control of correct needle seating during the manufacturing process. The entire system is implemented in a cleanroom, which is essential for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

How does the entire process work?

The camera system automatically monitors and controls the correct seating of the needles. If it detects a problem, it informs the operator with higher authority, who then checks and decides whether to allow or stop the process.

We did not interfere with the machine during implementation, we only made adjustments to the sequence and added one IO card to the injection molding machine to ensure proper communication between the vision system, cameras, switchboard and injection molding machine. The system also automatically detects the different production moulds using QR codes, allowing easy customisation of the production process.

Prior to the introduction of vision inspection, the manufacturer relied on manual inspection by an employee. Incorrect needle seating led to downtime for cleaning the injection molding machine and could also damage the mold.

Benefits of implementation

The main advantage of the implementation is the reduction of the amount of downtime caused by defective pieces, which also allows the defect to be caught in time. Precise control of needle seating has prevented damage to moulds, reducing maintenance costs and increasing production efficiency.

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