High precision industrial colour recognition sensors

| Information and Communication Technology

colorSENSOR colour recognition sensor
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Compact colour recognition sensors with high accuracy are available for colour sorting, inspection and other industrial applications.

Micro-Epsilon has launched a new range of colour recognition sensors designed for high precision true colour measurement in industrial applications. The sensors stand out due to their high colour accuracy, good reproducibility, high measuring rate and modern communications interfaces for easier network integration and Industry 4.0 capability.

The new colorSENSOR CFO100 and CFO200 true colour sensor is suitable for a wide range of industrial applications including colour sorting tasks in food and beverage processing (eg crown caps and labels), colour inspection of interior parts in the automotive industry, recognition of colour marks in the printing industry, quality control in packaging, cosmetics, medicine and plastic products.

Using a modulated high power white light LED, the CFO100 and CFO200 colour sensors project a white light spot via optical fibre onto the target surface to be inspected. Part of this light is back-scattered and directed onto a perceptive True Colour detector via the same optical fibre. This light is then refracted into long-, medium- and short-wavelength light components (X=long, Y=medium, Z=short) and transformed into L*a*b* colour values.

High colour accuracy (colour difference CFO100 ΔE ≥ 1 / CFO200 ΔE ≥ 0.6), good reproducibility (ΔE ≥ 0.5/ / CFO200 ΔE ≥ 0.3), high light power (>220 lm) and a fast measuring rate (up to 20kHz) enable the sensor to reliably detect the finest of colour graduations, even in high speed measurement tasks and on low reflecting surfaces. Equipped with optical fibres and focus lenses, the sensor can also be used in tasks where space is restricted, as the sensor head requires minimal space.

Gray-scale detection and high colour accuracy are combined with modern communications interfaces (Ethernet and RS232), as well as user-friendly operation and configuration via pushbuttons and a display. A multi-teach function enables up to 256 colours in 6 colour groups (CFO100) and 320 colours in 254 colour groups (CFO200) to be saved, as well as the teaching of reference colours and tolerances. Illumination, averaging and signal amplification are automatically adapted to the current measurement task.

With a robust aluminium housing, the CFO100 and CFO200 operate in temperatures from -10°C to +55°C and is protected to IP65.

Chris Jones, Managing Director at Micro-Epsilon UK comments: “The accuracy of most inline colour sensors in the marketplace are typically defined with a ΔE of 1-1.5, which represents similar performance to the human eye. CFO200 sensors offer a ΔE of 0.6 at a very competitive price level. This will enable more applications to be solved in-process, measuring 100% of produced parts that previously would have to be measured offline by a high performance measurement system, resulting in only a low batch sample being measured.”

“Integrated into production processes, the CFO100 / CFO200 can continuously monitor 100% of products produced. This can lead to dramatic improvements in automated inspection, quality control, production efficiencies and product quality, whilst also reducing operational costs and waste,” adds Jones.

For even higher performance

Micro-Epsilon is now able to offer customers in the UK one of the widest ranges of colour recognition sensors, LED analysers and inline colour measurement systems in the world – available from a single source. This range includes the colorCONTROL MFA series of benchtop multi-point measurement systems that enable faster, easier inspection of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

For extremely high performance in terms of colour difference and reproducibility (ΔE ≤ 0.5), Micro-Epsilon’s colorCONTROL ACS7000 is suitable. This inline high speed colour measurement system measures the actual colour of the target by identifying their coordinates in the colour space. The system can be set up to continually monitor a production process and output the colour measurement via Ethernet, EtherCAT or RS422. The system can also be taught ‘pass fail/limits’ and then output out-of-tolerance alarms using digital I/O. Existing applications include automotive paint inspection, colour measurement of car interiors, coloured glass, transparent film and sheet production, printing, packaging, medical technology, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and in the processing of plastics, food, wood, paper, veneer and textiles.

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