Using vision for food depositors

Sometimes you need some help to produce the best products you can. This is particularly the case with food products. They are often not very uniformly shaped. Or it is hard to control the position they take on the conveyor during the production process.

Valuable new functionalities

Fortunately,  some solutions can make your life a lot easier. One of those solutions is the use of vision systems. FoodJet has integrated this technology as a helping hand. Various previously impossible, yet valuable functionalities can be added to your depositing process.

Reasons for using vision

We use vision technology for several reasons:

  • Position detection
  • Shape detection
  • Quality control
  • Rotation detection
  • Statistics

Detecting the position of products

If you simplify things, there are two main solutions for detecting the position of products:

  • Using photoelectric detection  sensors - this works very well if products are well aligned across the conveyor. It is simple to program and does not require a lot of knowledge to modify if necessary. In most cases, you do need a sensor for each lane of product. The sensor fails if products are misaligned. The material will be applied off-center, resulting in rejected products and dirty conveyors.
  • Vision systems - in case products are misaligned, or you want to collect valuable information on the products you are producing, a camera scanner is the right option
Randomly positioned gingerbread men decorated with milk chocolate by FoodJet chocolate depositor
Chocolate decorated gingerbread men

Shape detection

Often products do not have a uniform shape or size. They can be too long or too short, too big or too small , or perhaps deformed somewhere along the process. FoodJet can recognize these rejects and refrain from depositing material on them. This makes it easier for operators to find and remove these products.

One other feature can be: when you are running more than one type of product on your line ( for example, a rotary with  four different cookie shapes ), the vision system can distinguish between the different shapes and individually select the deposit pattern, based on the identified shape.

Quality control

You can make the FoodJet depositor part of your quality control. You can set parameters for your products. If products are out of specification, alarms can be set to warn the nearest operator. This makes it easier to remove products before they hurt your downstream operations like packaging.

Rotation detection

Some products cannot be aligned because of their shape. Maybe you still want to apply material to increase value or to simply create an entirely new product. The FoodJet vision system finds products on the conveyor, even if they are not aligned. Next, we can determine the rotation of the products. This makes it possible to apply all kinds of patterns or designs on the products even if they are not facing the same direction.

Heart-shaped biscuits with white chocolate hearts deposited in the center by FoodJet chocolate depositor
Chocolate decorated heart shaped biscuits

Statistics

You can collect all kind of information that will make your production more efficiently:

  • Number of products produced
  • Number of products within specification
  • Quantity of material applied
  • And much more...

All data can be represented on screen and saved for later retrieval.

Unique depositing technology

It is the flexibility the FoodJet depositing technology offers that makes it possible to use the power of vision systems that optimally. The array of nozzles in each depositing head can follow products regardless of their position on a conveyor. No other food depositor makes for such a good match.

Screenshot of FoodJet Designer Studio software
Screenshot of FoodJet Designer Studio software

Typical applications that use vision technology

For more information

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