Jul 23, 2020

 SICK is continuing the roll-out of its customisable SensorApps for ‘easy’ machine vision, with the launch of its Colour Inspection and Sorting App, a cost-saving and simple solution for common inline quality control tasks in automated production and packaging applications.

The SICK Colour Inspection and Sorting SensorApp is a ready-made, yet flexible, packaged solution based on the ultra-compact SICK Pico- or midiCam 2D streaming cameras.  It is the first to be integrated with a choice of SICK Sensor Integration Machines as well as providing LED illumination and a photoelectric sensor to complete the set-up.

The Colour and Sorting SensorApp can be used to check that goods, assemblies or packs on a conveyor are the right size or colour. It can count objects with different sizes and colours as well as validate the correct colour or colour gradations, for example of baked goods or automotive components in an assembly.  Objects with anomalies, such as the wrong colour or size, can be identified for rejection and the integrity and completeness of secondary packaging can be confirmed. 

“The Colour and Sorting SensorApp is the latest ready-made solution to be developed by SICK in our AppSpace software framework and reflects a trend for SICK to provide more packaged hardware and software kits that solve common machine vision tasks,” says Neil Sandhu, SICK’s UK Product Manager for Imaging, Measurement and Ranging. 

“The App comes with all the instructions you need for a really simple set-up. It can be customised to meet individual needs and to extend the application with additional sensor and actuators, as required.  The field of view can be adjusted by choosing from a range of camera resolutions and lenses and the ambient conditions of your production environment can simply be matched to the correct level of illumination.

“The easy-to-use solution includes everything you need for the camera set-up, together with step-by-step instructions to teach-in the inspection. In the graphical user interface, the object colour can be matched by using the colour scale or by simply inputting the colour pigment.  Object sizes are easily defined by minimum and maximum pixel values. A demo mode is included with example images to show the principle of operation in simple terms.”

The SICK Colour Inspection and Sorting SensorApp allows different inspections to be saved as jobs.  In total, 12 different objects can be determined in one job and up to 10 different jobs can be saved at any time.   The SensorApp is designed to work with the SICK SIM4000, SIM1012 or SIM1004 Sensor Integration Machines, as appropriate for the application.

Triggered by the photoelectric sensor supplied, the 2D vision camera sends an image to the Sensor Integration Machine, which then processes the image according to the object specifications, before outputting a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ decision.  Results are provided by the intuitive graphical user interface and can be configured with digital output and TCP/IP.

The SICK picoCam and midiCam streaming cameras are ultra-compact industrial digital cameras with GigE interface, easily integrated using industry-grade M12 plug connectors for the voltage supply and trigger signals. As an alternative, it is also possible to operate them with just one cable measuring up to 100m in length using Power over Ethernet (PoE). 

The SICK Colour and Sorting App is a simple and elegant solution for low-cost, easy-set-up common inspection tasks that can operate in decentralised, ‘edge’ configurations using Sensor Integration Machines to power localised applications and take the processing load off higher-level controls such as PLCs, as part of Industry 4.0-compatible production environments.