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1. WO1996041299 - INSPECTION SYSTEM FOR EXTERIOR ARTICLE SURFACES

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

Having thus described our invention, we now claim:

1. An article exterior inspection system comprising:
a plurality of cameras, at least one of the cameras being sensitive to a plurality of color spectra, secured about a perimeter of an inspection area such that a lens of each camera is directed generally to a center of the inspection area;
a strobe light adapted to direct a light pulse to the inspection area;
a strobe controller adapted to selectively enable the strobe light;
means for communicating, to a data processor, image data, the image data including data indicative of hue, saturation and intensity of a plurality of images of an associated specimen disposed in the inspection area, each of the images being acquired by each of the cameras;
the data processor including,
means for detecting transition
information in the image data, the
transition information being
representative of an edge of the associated specimen represented
therein,
means for completing an Nth order
polynomial transformation on the image
data, wherein N is defined as a
positive integer,
means for isolating fiducials
within transformed image data,
comparison means for comparing
isolated fiducials against data
representative of acceptable specimen
characteristics, and
means for generating an
acceptability signal representative of
acceptability of the associated
specimen in accordance with an output
of the comparison means.

2. The container exterior inspection system of claim 1 further comprising:
sampling means for sampling selected pixels of the image data;
means for comparing values of neighboring, selected pixels against one another so as to obtain delta information; and means for adjusting an image capture parameter of at least one of the cameras in accordance with the delta information.

3. The container exterior inspection system of claim 2 further comprising:
a conveyor for communicating a series of specimens to the inspection area;
tracking means for tracking progress of each specimen of the series of specimens after progress through the inspection area; and
means for selectively removing specimens from the conveyor in accordance with an acceptability signal.

4. The container exterior inspection system of claim 3 wherein the specimens are comprised of cans.

5. An article exterior inspection system comprising:
at least one black-and-white camera disposed about a perimeter of an inspection area such that a lens of each camera is directed to the inspection area;
at least one color camera disposed such that its lens is directed to the inspection area;

a light adapted to illuminate the inspection area;
a controller adapted to selectively capture image data from the one of the cameras;
image data communication means for communicating captured image data representative of at least one black-and-white image of each specimen of a series thereof disposed in the inspection area to a data processor, which image data is obtained from the at least one camera as a result of illumination resultant from the strobe; and
color data communication means for communicating color data representative of a color image of each specimen of the series thereof disposed in the inspection area to the data processor, which color data is obtained from the at least one color camera as a result of illumination resultant from the strobe, ; and wherein
the data processor includes,
an image analyzer for analyzing
the image data to determine a presence
of image defects,
a color analyzer for analyzing
the color data to determine a presence
of color defects, and
means for generating an
acceptability signal representative of an output of at least one of the image
analyzer and the color analyzer.

6. The article exterior inspection system of claim 5 wherein:
the at least one camera includes a plurality thereof;
the image data communication means includes means for communicating the image data, comprised of a black-and-white image from each of the plurality of black-and-white cameras, to the data processor; and
the data processor further comprises means for conjoining each black-and-white image to form the image data as data representative of a generally contiguous image of each specimen of the series thereof disposed in the inspection area.

7. The article exterior inspection system of claim 6 further comprising:
a conveyor for communicating a stream of generally similar specimens to the inspection area;
a sensor disposed to the conveyor and upstream from the inspection area, the sensor including means for initiating a signal to the strobe controller so as to cause the strobe controller to enable the strobe light as each specimen progresses thereto; and means for removing selected specimens from the conveyor in accordance with the acceptability signal.

8. The article exterior inspection system of claim 6 wherein:
the color data emanating from the color camera is comprised of primary color data;
the system further comprises a conversion means for converting the primary color data such that the color data is comprised of data representative of hue, saturation and intensity before it is analyzed by the color analyzer.

9. The article exterior inspection system of claim 8 wherein:
the color analyzer includes means for comparing the color data to template data representative of specimen acceptability to determine the presence of color defects; and
wherein the template data is comprised of data obtained from analysis of a set of acceptable specimens.

10. The article exterior inspection system of claim 9 wherein the image analyzer includes: means for detecting transition
information in the image data, the
transition information being
representative of an edge of the
associated specimen represented
therein,
means for completing an Nth order
polynomial transformation on the image
data, wherein N is defined as a
positive integer,
means for isolating fiducials
within transformed image data,
comparison means for comparing
isolated fiducials against template
data representative of acceptable
specimen characteristics, and
means for generating the
acceptability signal representative of
acceptability of the associated
specimen in accordance with an output
of the comparison means.

11. An article exterior inspection method comprising the steps of:
sensing each of a series of specimens communicated along a conveyor;

enabling a light so as to illuminate each specimen of the series thereof as it is disposed in an inspection area proximate to the conveyor;
generating, from at least one black-and-white camera disposed about a perimeter of the inspection area such that a lens of each camera is directed to the inspection area, image data obtained from the at least one black-and-white camera as a result of illumination resultant of each specimen of the series thereof disposed in the inspection area;
communicating the image data representative of at least one black-and-white image to a data processor; and
generating, from at least one color camera disposed such that its lens is directed to the inspection area, color data obtained from the at least one color camera as a result of illumination of each specimen of the series thereof disposed in the inspection area;
communicating the color data to the data processor;
analyzing the image data to determine a presence of image defects;
analyzing the color data to determine a presence of color defects; and generating an acceptability signal representative of an output of at least one of the image analyzer and the color analyzer.

12. The article exterior inspection method of claim 11 wherein the at least one black-and-white camera includes a plurality thereof, and wherein the method further includes the steps of:
communicating the image data, comprised of a black-and-white image from each of the plurality of black-and-white cameras, to the data processor; and
conjoining each black-and-white image to form a the image data as data representative of a generally contiguous image of each specimen of the series thereof disposed in the inspection area.

13. The article exterior inspection method of claim 12 further comprising the steps of:
communicating a stream of generally similar specimens to the inspection area;
initiating a signal to the controller so as to illuminate each specimen; and
removing selected specimens from the conveyor in accordance with the acceptability signal.

-30- 14. The article exterior inspection method of claim 12 wherein color data emanating from the color camera is comprised of primary color data, and wherein the system further comprises the step of converting the primary color data such that the color data is comprised of data representative of hue, saturation and intensity before it is analyzed by the color analyzer.

15. The article exterior inspection method of claim 12 further comprising the step of:
comparing the color data to template date representative of specimen acceptability to determine the presence of color defects; and
wherein the template data is comprised of data obtained from analysis of a set of acceptable specimens.

16. The article exterior inspection method of claim 13 further comprising the steps of:
detecting transition information in the image data, the transition information being representative of an edge of the associated specimen represented therein;
completing an Nth order polynomial transformation on the image data, wherein N is defined as a positive integer;

isolating fiducials within transformed image data;
comparing isolated fiducials against template data representative of acceptable specimen characteristics; and
generating the acceptability signal representative of acceptability of the associated specimen in accordance with an output of the comparison means.