Inline thermal imaging system from Micro-Epsilon ensures 100% quality control of injection moulded parts

Written by: Micro Epsilon UK Ltd | Published:

Precision sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon has developed an inline thermal imaging system for the early detection of defects and quality fluctuations in injection moulded parts. The system is particularly well suited to large, complex, multi-layered or transparent moulded parts and can be easily retrofitted to existing injection moulding machines. Materials include all plastics, polymers, elastomers, rubber and even glass.

Currently injection moulding processes rely on vision cameras or other shape detection systems to inspect the geometrical shape of moulded parts, but these are relatively expensive compared to moldCONTROL and can not inform you about the quality of the mould only if the geometry is correct.

This system incorporates a compact industrial thermal imaging camera, a miniature industrial PC and is supported by custom evaluation software. The system operates independently of the existing injection moulding machine control program and only requires a simple ‘trigger in’ start signal and outputs simple pass/fail trigger signals. This means retrofit to existing installed machines is very simple.

In order to evaluate moulded parts, the handling system or robot presents the newly injected part to the moldCONTROL thermal imaging camera (from one or multiple sides) as high resolution infrared images are taken. 360 degree inspection is possible, with up to six views of a moulded component. The moldCONTROL software compares the infrared images recorded from the component to pre-stored master references. Based on the identified temperature differences (between references and current inspected components) a pass/fail decision is made. This decision is reported back to the handling system, which sorts or removes any defective parts.

Optionally, the IR image of the defective part can be stored onto the hard disk of the miniature industrial PC supplied as part of the moldCONTROL equipment.

The evaluation software supplied with moldCONTROL operates independently of the injection moulding machine. A trigger is set up to inform the thermal imager when to take a snapshot profile of the moulded part. Using the software provided, operators can configure and adapt moldCONTROL to suit new moulded parts with little training required. It’s a fully automated 100% inspection system that can be installed and commissioned with support from Micro-Epsilon engineers.

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