An Automated Inspection Method for the Detection of Protruding Fibers

Introduction

Multi-layered pouches are used in different industries for packaging of wide variety of materials. So, the quality of pouch becomes the major concern for the manufacturer. The production of these pouches should be efficient, which means there should not be any aberration on the surface of the pouches. These pouches are used in a number of delicate applications which have strict requirement, that protruding fibers should not be present. Protruding Fibers are the loose fibers which are left out in the process of heat welding. There are two types of protruding fibers; belly fibers and edge fibers. Belly Fibers are the ones which lay flat on the surface of the pouch and come from the innermost layer. On the other hand Edge Fibers are the ones which are found on the edges of the sealed pouches.

The textile industry is equipped with several techniques of removing these fibers but there is no technique for detecting them. The current method of detecting the fibers relies on manual inspection with 10x magnification by a trained inspector which becomes very tedious and time consuming for the industry. Hence there should be an automated technique which can detect the presence of protruding fibers. Our solution aims at giving a reliable method which would help in the detection of this process in an impeccable way. It is automated, accurate and takes less time in detecting the fibers.

Technology

Fibers are used worldwide for making wide range of textiles and apparel. Its structure and appearance have significant impact on the properties and performance of the fibers. Hence the detection of any anomaly in the fibers or the pouch becomes the most important task for the manufacturer.

Traditionally the unevenness of the protruding fibers was evaluated by manual methods which weren’t efficient enough, but with the rapid development of computer technology, efficient and low cost mechanisms are possible to address the above concern of the manufacturers.

In this section, we will present the state of the art digital technologies for protruding fibers detection or the hairiness of the fibers on the pouch. Below is the schematic diagram for the detection of the protruding fibers on the belly as well as on the edges.

detection of the protruding fibers

Analysis of Pouch Hairiness

The hairiness in the pouch is defined as the fibers protruding from the main body and edge of the pouch. The amount of fibers protruding from the surface is important for both the manufacturers of the pouches and the companies using them in applications. Commercial instruments, like Shirley hairiness tester have been widely used in this industry for the detection of protruding fibers.

Apart from the traditional methods, digital analysis of high quality images of these pouches can also help in characterization of protruding fibers. In this method a high resolution image with an appropriate magnification is used to ensure the clear presence of hairs on the surface.

Digital Technology for Pouch Structure and Protruding Fibers Detection

Digital Technology for pouch structure

More recently, a digital processing method has been researched upon, for the automatic measurement of protruding fibers hairiness. In this method the pouches images will be captured by a camera under a microscope. These images will then be analysed under transmitted light, the fibers present on the pouches will become dark areas. After the acquisition several pre- processing algorithms will be applied to convert it into grey scale image and then a binary image. In order to segment the pouch’s in the image, row by row scanning algorithms will be used to detect the protruding fibers. If the image is scanned row wise, then only those rows whose pixel values are greater than certain threshold can be constituted as main body or not protruding fibers. The determination of the threshold is very crucial as it will help us in separating protruding fibers from the rest of the fibers on the pouch. After the identification of the protruding fibers on the belly of the pouch, the protruding fibers on the edge can be assessed by using a high pass spatial filter .This high pass spatial filter will remove all the spatial frequencies below a predetermined value, permitting only the high spatial frequencies in the image to propagate the detector. This results in the contours of the edges of the pouch and the associated protruding fibers being highlighted in the image for further evaluation.

Price Estimates

  • HeNe laser: $1000-$2000
  • Diaphragm: $50-$100
  • Concave and convex lens: $20-$30
  • Digital signal processor: $100-$500
  • High and low pass Spatial filters: $75-$120

According to our estimate the whole setup would cost the manufacturer around, $5000-$10000 for setup of one process. So, the total cost depends on the manufacturer’s assembly line.

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