Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 10:01 AM CDT

Flexible, Scalable and Automated

Vision system ensures 100 percent inspection in variety of low-volume production products
Compar's Autonomous Inspection System
© Cognex
Compar's Autonomous Inspection System (AIS), which scans all positions, identifies, measures and verifies parts, then creates an inspection report at the end of each lot.
titanium system
© Cognex
The system scans the titanium alloy screws that are used to stabilize the spine during fusion surgery.

By Barry Hochfelder

AIS consists of a two-axis desktop robot (the Z and U axes are optional) and a PC-based vision system using the Cognex Vision Library as a platform. The camera is mounted on the desktop robot's y-axis, while the blister packs are moved along under the camera in the x-direction. Several inspections can be conducted for each nest. To simplify the entry of data per batch the system is equipped with a barcode scanner. The inspected data are compared against the set values and permissible tolerances. If a faulty product is detected, an alarm is triggered and quality assurance personnel remove the product for manual inspection. An added advantage of the system is that it ensures full 21 CFR part 11 compliance by tracking the results for each batch and integrating them for future reference. With the automation of the inspection process using vision, DePuy can be sure that the results being stored for each batch are reliable.

The standard PC has a 16bit 24V DC opto-coupled parallel interface, 2 RS-232 serial lines, Ethernet, and a printer port. Profibus interfaces, OPC Connectivity, ASI-Bus and additional specialized interfaces are optional.

The Cognex VisionPro software works in industries ranging from semiconductor and electronics to automotive to consumer products, pharmaceuticals and health care.


  • Integration of vision in a mechanical environment allowing inspection of the whole batch in one;
  • allows complete inspection that all is conforming coming out of production;
  • 100 percent inspection and quality control of medical implants before shipping;
  • full traceability, ensuring compliance;
  • manual process made more efficient;
  • camera need not be exactly positioned and the results are still reliable.

Future plans for expansion of the application may include surface inspection, print layout inspection, soldering point inspection, or code reading. The solution proposed here is easily adaptable for many other types of inspection and identification applications.

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