Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Machine Vision Helps Fight Traffic Pollution

This is an image captured on a CatPro 4000 that shows plugged channels in a catalyst.
A DPF, captured on a CatPro 6000. The plug alignment is ensured by comparing a top and bottom image of a substrate.
A large divot is in the face and an open channel of the DPF.
Captured on a CatPro 6000 plug module, this detail shows open channels in a DPF.
Captured on the CatPro 6000 plug module, this image shows plugged channels in a catalyst.
Captured on the CatPro Side Inspection Module, this image shows the full circumference of a DPF skin with major defects.
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Imaging Labs International (ILI, Bozeman, MT) is a developer of catalytic converter inspection systems that are used to examine for defects during the manufacturing process. In an automobile's exhaust system, a catalytic converter provides an environment for a chemical reaction where toxic car gases are turned into gases that will not harm the environment. For example, deadly carbon monoxide produced by an automobile engine is converted to carbon dioxide, a harmless gas. Tighter environmental standards and a heightened consumer awareness of cleaner vehicles are driving increased worldwide demand for catalytic converter substrates.

The CatPro 4000D and 6000D from ILI provide high-resolution part inspection for ceramic and metal catalytic converter substrates as well as the coating process that follows for defects. The system is designed to inspect for a number of defects including plugged cells (channels), printing defects, part contour, part perpendicularity, cell wall deformities, face cracks, foil damage, side cracks and edge chipping.

The system consists of three imaging workstations each with an X-64CL imaging processor from DALSA Coreco (St-Laurent, QC, Canada) for high-speed image capture and processing. The X64-CL is a high-performance Camera Link digital frame grabber designed for the 64-bit PCI bus. Two of the image processors are connected to DALSA P2-8K cameras and one is connected to a P2-4K camera. A fourth workstation in the system is used in a supervisory and user interface role.

After the part has been placed in the inspection system, cameras and lights are used to view the part from different perspectives. Images are captured and processed by the X-64CL and are then analyzed by specialized software for part conformance.

"We require high speed, high reliability capture and processing," says Eric Pierson at Image Labs International. "Our customers must be assured that every part that passes through the system is correctly inspected. We believe it is okay for our system to fail a good part once in a while but it must never pass a bad part. DALSA Coreco's X-64CL image processor was selected for its high performance characteristics, its simple, flexible configurations tools and the ability to easily customize the system."

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