Continuing STEMMER IMAGING’s commitment to support engineering education in the UK, a new, 6 month vision project has been started with a group of 5 students from Farnborough Sixth Form College. This is the third project to be carried out with the College, and will involve the design and construction of a vision system to carry out automated packaging inspections on breakfast cereal boxes. When completed, the system will be on permanent display at the prestigious Manufacturing Technology Centre, in Anstey, Coventry.
Dr. Jon Vickers, Technical Manager at STEMMER IMAGING UK and technical co-ordinator of the project said: “Our latest team of students are settling well into the project. Like their predecessors, they came up with their own ideas for their project, ranging from applications in the food, automotive, pharmaceutical, medical, PCB and scientific sectors. These were discussed in detail before finalising the food packaging inspection application. Each team member has been assigned specific responsibilities, with one student taking the role of project manager.”
“The project will feature a freestanding circular conveyor system in an approximately 1m square enclosure with three different cameras at three inspection stations. These will carry out print inspection, optical character recognition for ‘best before’ dates and batch codes, and 3D inspection of the box to check size, confirm box closure and to indicate damage,” he continued. “At a recent two-day workshop at the University of Surrey, the students completed an initial set-up for the cameras so that we could acquire some test images to let us start on the system software design. By the end of the second day we had the cameras fixed in position, the optics finalised and a good idea of how the lighting should be.”
Mark Williamson, Director – Corporate Market Development at STEMMER IMAGING, said: “The project forms part of the Engineering Education Scheme in England & Scotland, an EDT Programme which links teams of Year 12 or S5/S6 students and their teacher with local companies to work on real, scientific, engineering and technological problems. We started supporting this scheme in 2012 and the previous two projects with the College have proved to be highly successful both in terms of the recognition the students have achieved within the Scheme and the aptitude they have shown to addressing real-life engineering challenges.”
“This year’s team has the added incentive of knowing that their project will be on permanent display at the MTC, a UK-government funded organisation established in 2010 with the objective of bridging the gap between academia and industry,” he continued. “This, in turn, places further demands on them, since the system will normally be unattended, so it must be self-explanatory, safe and capable of be turned on and off by a non-expert. STEMMER IMAGING is a member of the MTC, which has more than 60 members, including many of the UK’s leading engineering companies.”