The vision system Surface Inspector from Kistler – here directly integrated into the automated test system KVC 821.

Surface inspection that meets the highest standards

Manufacturers are confronted with huge challenges when they need quality assurance for high-grade functional parts and components – especially when safety is at stake and major assembly effort or high costs are involved. The Surface Inspector vision system from Kistler is the key to efficiently automate such tests – with no need for special know-how, and no extra programming effort.

Compliance with manufacturing tolerances and dimensional stability are critical requirements for many manufactured parts – but the quality of sensitive, function-related surfaces can be an equally important factor. The challenge here is to distinguish actual surface damage from color shades, contamination and similar imperfections that often differ from one batch to the next.

Continuously resetting the test program parameters for each batch to be inspected is a time-consuming and labor-intensive approach, and the results are far from certain. On top of this, there is the constant trade-off between the part quality that should be achieved and the resultant quota of incorrectly rejected parts (or "pseudo-scrap").

Reliable detection of defects – even with high throughput rates

The Surface Inspector and Surface Inspector Pro vision systems from Kistler can easily be integrated into punched part test cells and sorting systems to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency in surface inspection:

  • Reliable differentiation between surface defects and impurities, etc.
  • Fully integrated system with autonomous sequence and illumination control
  • Simple setup: few parameters, no specialist knowledge required
  • Efficient position tracking for high clock rates and sorting capacities
  • Compensation for rotations to ensure maximum precision, even with automated rotary plate feed

By combining special illumination technology and processing of inspection images (advanced shape from shading based on computational imaging), Surface Inspector offers minimal pseudoscrap rates as well as dependable test algorithms – so the smallest occurrences of surface and structural damage can be identified. The result: surface defects are reliably detected and differentiated from insignificant anomalies.

The vision system from Kistler comprises a fully integrated sensor head with autonomous sequence and illumination control, together with the hardware and software required for activation and control; no parameterization is needed. In addition to the hardware trigger input, the system is connected to the image processing system via the GigE bus, in the same way as a conventional matrix camera. Surface inspection is fully integrated into the KiVision image processing software. Only a few configuration steps are required for activation and setup, with no need for external software or other tools.

Easy integration of vision system – high accuracy rates

For the surface under inspection, this technology makes use of a hemispherical diffuser illuminated by structured light from multiple sources. From an automatically generated sequence of four input images illuminated from different directions, the system calculates several result images that provide information about the topography of the workpiece under inspection.

Customers need reliable statements as to which of their quality problems can best be solved with which technology; they also need to submit binding quotations. To meet these requirements, Kistler's image processing laboratory carries out feasibility studies. The image processing laboratory is equipped with all the optical and mechanical components needed to issue reliable statements about the feasibility of meeting the specified requirements.

Inspection image from conventional reflected light illumination: incorrect detection of streaks and grease stains.

Inspection image from advanced shape from shading: correct detection of cracks and incisions.

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