Archive for January, 2013

Green Leaf Paper- Jorge Andrade, Printing Department Lead

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Tell me a little about the application you’re using the RX200 on.
Well, we have an RG Engineering 4 colorFlexo press. We’re using synchronized cameras. They’re used daily to inspect the front and the back on the wide web- the thermal side, and the back of the thermal. Most of the time, we are running wide web. 53.5” web. Once a week it’s 43”.

What were the issues you were facing that prompted you to look into getting an inspection solution on your press.
We bought a used press in 2007. It only had one camera. About 70% of the product that we run are front and back. We had to manually strobe the back of the web, because we only had one camera.

We got quotes for getting another system. We got a quote from the company the supplied the original camera, but I had issues with their customer service.

If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of issues did you have with their customer service?
We sent the unit into them for a tune-up. The product was shipped back damaged. It took them a long time to get to it.  I wasn’t happy with their response time.

Has PC Industries done what you expected of them?
Customer service is good. I’ve called and sometimes I get voicemail, but the response time is usually between 30 and an hour.

Were there any system-based reasons you went with the RX200 over another BST? Any features we offered other than customer service?
The features are very similar. You have 120 IPM (images per minute), as does the original camera supplier. We could upgrade to 300, but it costs more. Your system was more affordable.
And Teamviewer. That’s a really big plus. If my operators are having problems, I can help them from home.

So you do support for your operators from home.
Yes.                                                                          

What kind of improvements have you seen in the press runs since you implemented the system?
We don’t have to fight with single camera units any more. With the original camera, because we had to switch and manually strobe each side, we were running about 550 FPM. Once we got the system installed, for 3 color jobs, we’re running 1000 FPM plus. We would normally start at about 6am with a job, and we would run through the whole day, into the next day, and sometimes into the afternoon. It could take 2 days. With the cameras, we start at 6am, usually run 16 hour shifts, and we’re done by 9:30. Big improvement; the operator is really happy.

And you said you’ve had the system for about a year, right?
Yeah. About a year, we didn’t install it right away. We got it just around Christmas time. It was a good Christmas present.

We did the installation here, in house, me and two engineers, it was fairly easy. The instructions were easy to understand, and system came packaged nicely.  We installed it in one day, and were using it the next. We had some small problems, some questions while we were installing, but those were taken care of.

Did you get support for that really quick when you called?
Yes.

So you’ve been running this on a daily basis with all your jobs, right?
Yes. We run 16 hour shifts, and it’s cut back the time we need for each job.  We’re getting the same amount of work done in less hours.

Have you contact PC Industries about any software problems? Maybe about changing up the features, or making suggestions on the functionality of the system?
We did have a request from our operator that we called about. He wanted to be able to shut off the unit when there was no print on the back, because it would keep strobing. He was more concerned about the life of the strobe light. We called. They said that they could add a switch to turn it off.

So, the suggestion hasn’t been implemented yet, but you’re looking at having it done?
Yes.

And when you talked to the guys here, were the helpful and open to the suggestion, or did you have any issues?
I didn’t have any issues at all. They thought it was a great idea.

Are there any issues you’ve had to contact support about?
Yes. We had to call them because the cameras weren’t synched. They helped us figured out that it was a problem on our end. They said that the tracks were probably dirty. We have a very dusty facility here. So, we cleaned the track and lubed the bearings. We do that regularly now, and it’s been more than a month since we had any problems.

So they were able to track that down pretty quick, then?
Yes.

Have you received any feedback from customers about the orders being done quick, or quality, or anything like that?
Not really from the customers, no. But from the slitter department. They can get their job done faster, and they don’t have to bring stuff back to us. They don’t have to deal with us as much. We’re catching a lot of the problems so it doesn’t slow them down to have to look for them. It’s really improved their whole department- we have 6 slitters, and there’s no down time.

It’s always nice to hear that you’re making the press improvements, but it stretches beyond that to other departments, and even customers. Do you have any other comments or anecdote that you’d like to add?
We feel that you do an excellent job supporting your product, and hope that you continue to in the future.



Inspection System Specifications Explained

Evaluating inspection systems can be a difficult task whether you’re purchasing your first or fifth. This month we’ll break down some of the key specifications of inspection systems so you will know what to look for based on your needs. Before going over some of the basic specifications you’ll usually see when shopping for an inspection system, here’s a quick run-down on how most inspection systems work.

Inspection Systems typically consist of a camera and lighting assembly, timing circutry, and a computer with user interface. To control lighting, the inspection camera and lighting are contained within a single case that is installed on the press, rewinder or other machine. The light provides bright, true color light that allows the camera to capture the most accurate image possible from the web or substrate. Once that image is captured, it is sent to the inspection software for processing. From here, many things can happen depending on the inspection systems capabilities and the specific needs of the job. For the most common type of inspection, the image is compared to the master. If there are defects, they can be marked, the defective image can be stored, and the operator can be alerted. This can be combined with other capabilities such as bar code verification, sequential data verification, dimensional gauging, braille inspection, and more.

Here, we will define some of the most common technical specifications and features of inspection systems.

Strobes and Types of Lighting

LED:LED lighting is more expensive than Xenon bulbs, but they last longer (8 to 10 years). LED lights provide consistent lighting over the entire life of the bulb.

Xenon:Xenon bulbs have a lower start-up cost than LED bulbs, but also have a shorter life (6 months – 1 year). Light quality can degrade over time, unlike LED lighting, and can require re-calibration.

PC Industries offers the best quality lighting based on each application’s requirements.

Camera and Capture Style

Area Scan:Area scan cameras capture rectangular images, similar to how the common point-and-shoot cameras work.

  • Larger footprint (camera box size)
  • Used for smaller fields of view
  • Lower resolution
  • Slower speeds
  • Can be positioned to focus only on areas of interest

Line Scan:Line scan work similar to a flat-bed scanner. The cameras take continuous, one pixel captures of the entire web width under consistent lighting.

  • Smaller footprint (camera box size)
  • Larger fields of view
  • Long repeat lengths
  • High resolution
  • Higher Speed

PC Industries offers a wide variety of camera configurations that can be configured to the ideal settings for each installation. Camera specification and performance is detailed in each quote provided by PC Industries.

Cameras and Image Quality

Resolution:How many pixels wide by how many pixels tall the captured image is. A higher resolution camera can capture an image in more detail to detect smaller defects.

Field of View:Field of View: The Field of View is the physical dimensions that a camera can capture. It is usually indicated as width x height, and is given in inches or millimeters. The field of view needed for an inspection application can be based off the area of interest or the width of the substrate being inspected.

Minimum Defect Size:The minimum defect size that an inspection system can detect is determined by the field of view and the resolution. A larger resolution or smaller field of view means that a smaller defect can be detected.

PC Industries offers a wide variety of camera configurations that can be configured to the ideal settings for each installation. Camera specification and performance is detailed in each quote provided by PC Industries.

Processing

Variable Data Inspection:For applications with sequential numbers, such as serial numbers and bar codes, variable data inspection allows the system to read and verify the values of these numbers. This capability includes:
OCR: Optical data recognition- ecognizes random characters
OCV: Optical character verification- Verifies characters against expected data.

PC Industries offers variable data inspection and verification. It can verify sequential, as well as variable, which compares the sample to a list of acceptable values. The operator is alerted if the system finds missing or incorrect characters, or if they are below a given quality threshold.

Dimensional Gauging: This feature is used to track the relationship between features on the printed sample.

PC Industries offers dimensional gauging that can be set to track any print or die feature on a run.

Bar Code Inspection: There are several different levels of bar code inspection available. First, bar code image is compared to the master image to check for defects. Second is bar code decoding, where the system verifies that the bar code can be read as well as make sure that it matches the master. Finally, bar code grading scores the quality of the bar code to ANSI/ISO standards.

PC Industries offers system configurations that can inspect to any of these levels.

Alerts: Inspection systems are capable of informing the operator when there is a defect, or when a job begins to run out of spec. There are several interfaces for these alerts. The inspection system can sound a horn, activate a light, or even stop a rewinder or machine when a defect is detected.

PC Industries offers programmable outputs so these alerts can be adjusted to your needs.

Post-Comparison and Defect Logging: Another important aspect to consider is what the system does with a defective image once a defect has been detected. One option is to stop the press or rewinder so the defect can be corrected or removed. Another option is to store the location of a defect for later recall on an audit rewinder, allowing the press to run continuously.

PC Industries systems can start inspecting from zero speed, and offer many options for handling defects. 

Defect Roll Mapping records the position and image for all defects found during inspection. This data of defect images and locations can then be accessed by a secondary interface on a rewinder to automatically queue up these defects for correction.

Audit Trail: For pharmaceutical applications and others that have stricter security requirements, an audit trail is required to help reduce company liability. The audit trail comes in many forms, but is typically in FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliance, which requires a secure login.

PC Industries’ systems can produce a secure report for each run, which includes defect images, project settings, and a log of operator action. Secure accounts can also be set up with operator and administrator level access.

Defect Flagging: This option marks the web or substrate to highlight the location of a defect.

PC Industries offers a number of automatic flagging or labeling methods, including the FlagRM.



January Monthly Focus: Inspection System Specifications Explained

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To start of the new year, we’ll be running a 4 part series dedicated to helping you understand the most important aspects of inspection systems.

  • Part 1: Inspection System Specifications Explained
  • Part 2: Ease of Use, Customer Service and Support
  • Part 3: Product and Specification Guarantees
  • Part 4: The Forward Looking Impact of your System Purchase
Inspection System Specifications Explained

Evaluating inspection systems can be a difficult task whether you’re purchasing your first or fifth. This month we’ll break down some of the key specifications of inspection systems so you will know what to look for based on your needs.

 

Be sure to look for next month’s article, "Ease of Use, Customer Service, and Support." We will go over guidelines to think about when considering inspection system providers, including what to look for from the software each provider supplies.

January’s InfoBYTE

Each month we present a new bit of trivia that we call an InfoByte. You can check out previous InfoBytes in our newsletter archive.

This month, here are a few facts about the history of optics.

Roger Bacon (1214-1294) was credited with the invention of lenses, but there is a long history of lenses being used before him, including:

  • Numrud Lens: a 3000 year old piece of rock crystal used by the Assyrians. It was possibly used as a magnifying glass or burning-glass.
  • Euclid, the father of geometry, studied optics 2300 years ago.
  • The Roman emperor Nero is said to have watched gladiators through emerald lenses.
  • Al-Hassan ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (956-1039) has been called the "Father of Modern Optics" because of his work with light and optics, improving lens deisgn, and his book “Book of Optics.”

January 2013
  • Inspection System Specifications Explained
  • January’s InfoByte
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PC Industries has been serving the printing and converting industry since 1975, providing the widest and most complete line of print inspection systems and equipment. All of our products are proudly made in the USA. Our history of quality and innovation makes us the clear choice for on-line and off-line print verification.

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