Manufacturing News

SICK leads the way with gapless package detection

SICK Sensor Intelligence has defeated a number of packaging issues with a single sensor unit, the DeltaPac multitask photoelectric sensor.

The beauty of this new sensor is it enables detection of individual objects in a gapless, continuous stream, all within a compact device.

The DeltaPac measures a mere 42mm by 42mm by 45mm, however the impact this device can have on packaging productivity is huge.

Because the DeltaPac can detect individual objects in an unbroken stream with no gaps in between, this eliminates a number of packaging throughput issues such as packages that fall over and the resulting collisions, incorrectly positioned labels or straws, incorrect placement when grouping packages, and loss of quality due to crashes.

The key to gapless detection lies in the use intelligent Delta-S technology, which comprises four PinPoint 2.0 LEDs and two high-resolution energy scales, each with two receiver elements.

The system also has the innovative SICK ASIC SIRIC technology and an integrated distance measurement system that enables background suppression.

In practice, the DeltaPac detects the edge contours of packages and folding boxes.

Light beams from the four LEDs pass over the front of the object, and in that state the energy scales receive the same amount of light, and that is the balance point for the system.

When the leading edge of the object moves into the light beam that balance is interrupted, which shifts the system balance and serves as a switching signal.

That switching signal is unaffected by factors such as the object’s colour, size, surface texture, background, dazzle, unevenness or contrast changes.

This method of detection can reliably detect the object contours, or the leading edge, with radii between 1mm and 20mm at switching distances of 30-40mm.

The Deltapac is capable of reliable, error-free identification of up to 200,000 packages per hour, with package speeds of up to 3m/s, whether from above or from the side.

Factory conversion to a DeltaPac sensor system can be commissioned quickly without any setting adjustment by using pre-configured sensors that are specifically for round or prismatic packages, or packages with rounded edges, or folding boxes with sharp, rectangular edges.

DeltaPac can also provide individually optimised device configurations through a DeltaPac variant which uses IO-Link software.

The SICK-specific software enables value inputs for packaging radius, width and conveyor speed to configure the DeltaPac parameters individually.

The customisable software features are well-suited to flexibility requirements of machine controllers that handle frequent switching between products or packaging variants.

Applications for the DeltaPac include counting and package control, triggering of downstream processes such as code or label printing, barcode reading or camera control, and quality insurance for packaging.

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