Full speed ahead
In order to protect the operator, machines in many areas of industry are fitted with a housing due to the fact that their running speeds are increasing. These areas include the paper processing industry, which is home to the technology leader for folding machines, MBO GmbH & Co KG. For the latest generation of folding machines, known as "Le Mans", MBO was looking for an industrial camera that allowed the operator to view the inside of the machine directly once again. With MATRIX VISION, MBO not only found the right camera supplier, but also a company with a great deal of knowledge and experience that was able to integrate the cameras successfully, quickly and therefore cost-effectively, providing the appropriate information, tips and input at the right time.
Mention of Le Mans is enough to make the hearts of many car racing fans beat faster. High speeds, quick changes, different classes, 24 hours long - these are the ingredients for a successful brand that is known worldwide. The choice of name for the new development of MBO's new Le Mans high-speed folding system could therefore scarcely be more fitting. As far as the specifications of the folding system were concerned, the focus was accordingly on speed and ergonomics. With a folding volume of approximately 70 million printed sheets and upwards per year, or a maximum of 23,000 sheets per hour (as 16 page booklets folded to A4), the system reaches speeds at which it is necessary to enclose it to the extent that any danger to the operator can be ruled out. However, this makes it more difficult for the operator to configure the machine and check the products. Nonetheless, it did not take long to find a solution: a camera installation for the folding system enables the operator to look directly into the system once again.
In terms of software, the live images from multiple cameras are displayed simultaneously as thumbnails at a reduced refresh rate, in a user interface. If the operator selects a thumbnail, then the image are shown enlarged at the correct refresh rate. Furthermore, it is possible for the operator to view the last seconds of production in slow motion. Because of the cable length of up to 100 meters, the suitable resolution, the appropriate refresh rate and the impressive image quality the gray version of the Dual-GigE Vision camera mvBlueCOUGAR-XD104d is used. The Pregius CMOS sensor IMX174 from Sony with which the camera is fitted wins further points for its reduced dark noise and dynamic range of over 71 dB. As different lighting scenarios will arise in the folding machine, a high dynamic range is fundamentally important.
In order to enable successful storage of the image data via Dual-GigE, MATRIX VISION recommended the use of three separate Dual-GigE network cards and three SSD hard disks. MATRIX VISION was also able to propose a solution to simplify matters here, in the form of a custom-made cable that rendered the three control cables superfluous. It goes without saying that the cables have screw connections and therefore contribute to the robustness of the camera system. When it came to the lens and lighting, MATRIX VISION again provided the appropriate help. The distance between the camera and subject was approximately 140 mm, while the image size was to be 75 x 60 mm. A suitable 6-millimetre lens made it possible to meet these requirements. For the lighting, a white LED ring light that could be screwed onto the lens constituted the appropriate solution. MBO was extremely satisfied with the overall outcome, the selection of the individual components and the time that was saved by consulting the external experts.
Irrespective of whether due to a lack of time or cost pressure, attempts to integrate into a new specialist area frequently fail. In particular, industrial image processing and/or image capture is one of the fields where the devil is often in the detail. All the better then when a partner is found who helps to avoid the pitfalls from the outset. In this way, MBO GmbH & Co. KG was able to focus on its key competence thanks to the external support. What is more, the feedback shows that the company made the right decision. At the world's largest trade fair for print media, Drupa 2016, held in Düsseldorf, visitors greeted the new folding machine with enthusiasm. The constant production monitoring by the three cameras, and the fact that the images from the cameras are additionally saved continuously, allowing the operator to "look into the past", also met with a positive response.