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Sweet pleasure, fabulous

Sweet pleasure, fabulous taste and excellent optics Aromatic, creamy and intensive - not only the taste but also the look are important criteria when it comes to the quality of chocolate. With modern laser scanners from Micro-Epsilon integrated to the processing line, different chocolate products undergo real-time inspection based on non-contact, efficient, high speed measurements whilst their geometrical characteristics are monitored – to ensure perfection in both taste and looks. In 1765, Prince Wilhelm von der Lippe founded the first German chocolate factory. In those days, chocolate was handmade. Famous personalities like Goethe, Schiller and Frederick the Great loved chocolate. However, it’s not just a matter of how good the chocolate tastes – its appearance also contributes to the buying decision. In contrast to earlier times, chocolate production has become a highly automated production process. Importance of quality control of the chocolate bars AUTOMATION In order to subject chocolate to a quality inspection during the production process, different methods can be applied. When the final quality check is a visual inspection, the results depend on the daily mood of the employees and will not have a constant characteristic throughout the entire production process. Contact measurements are very time consuming, as tactile systems are slower than optical systems. In addition, many points of the surface must be sampled. Furthermore, we should not forget that contact measurements also affect the sensor and the product, while wear is increased. Although laser point sensors enable non-contact measurements, they only produce a point-shaped laser beam. To generate the required values for a chocolate profile, many individual measurement values must be acquired. This can be time-consuming and costly to the business. All these procedures would limit the highly automated production process. In contrast, laser scanners offer some advantages here. Also, when faced with changing surface properties of the conveyor belt or multiple colors from light to dark chocolate, the scanControl system provides reliable results. In order to comply with the strict hygienic standards prevailing in the food industry, the customer can house the scanner in a special protection housing which fulfills the requirements of the food industry. It withstands high-pressure cleaning, disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide and other alkaline or chlorine-based cleaning agents. Advantages of laser scanners Laser scanners from Micro-Epsilon offer a solution that involves significant time savings compared to conventional inspection procedures and, at the same time, providing extremely fast high Author: Dipl.-Ing. Christian Kämmerer, MBA, Sales Manager 2D/3D Optical measurement technology, Micro-Epsilon, Ortenburg, Germany

“Laser profile scanner ensures 100 % monitoring of all chocolate bars in the processing line.” precision quality control of the chocolate bars, while complying with stringent hygienic safety standards. As well as random samples, laser profile scanners also master the inspection of the entire production. Therefore, the scanner is mounted in a fixed location above the conveyor belt. The standard measuring range in this application is 100 mm but can be expanded to approx. 143 mm. An encoder on the conveyor belt ensures equidistant profile detection even with varying belt speeds, which in turn results in high repeatability. Due to the high profile frequency, the scanner easily copes with short cycle times in the production process. With a throughput rate of more than 30 m/min, high speed laser scanners detect each profile of the finished chocolate bars without touching them and evaluate this data in the sensor head. The scanControl Configuration Tools software enables sensor set up and configuration. To summarize, the scanControl 2960-100 laser profile scanner ensures 100 % monitoring of all chocolate bars in the processing line. 01 As modern laser scanners are integrated in the processing line, different chocolate products undergo real-time inspection based on non-contact measurements whilst their geometrical characteristics are also monitored Detection of the overall profile with only one scan This sensor series enables much more efficient quality control compared to other optical sensors. The scanner detects the overall profile with only one scan. Furthermore, defects on the surface are recognized. Typical measured quantities such as the number of recesses, profile, width, height, depth, edge, groove, flatness and deformation are defined and determined by the scanner. Depending on the requirements, the measurement values can be calculated directly in the sensor head in real time and then compared to predefined parameters and are output as OK or NOK signals. Consequently, any bars that do not comply with the predefined specifications are rejected. Another possibility is that the scanner can be set up to communicate directly with a PLC and transmit the calculated values. In this case, the PLC proceeds with further steps and evaluates the measurement results. This enables immediate intervention in control of the line e.g. by readjusting the process. Real-time quality control based on laser scanners enables rapid response and intervention in the process, while reducing waste and cost. Solution for countless applications In terms of their size, accuracy and measuring rate, the scanControl series of laser scanners are among the highest performing laser profile sensors in the world. Even the smallest of parts can be measured to micrometer accuracy, enabling new dimensions in quality control. In the quality control of chocolate, a red laser diode scanner is used due to its higher intensity and robustness. The red laser is also used in numerous measurement tasks e.g. in the automotive area. Uniform airbag stitching, gaps between vehicle parts and applied adhesive beadings are just a few examples. However, in some measurement tasks where a red laser is operating at its limits, laser scanners with a blue laser can be used instead. In some cases, blue laser scanners provide more precise measurements since the blue light does not penetrate as deeply into the target material, e.g. with semi-transparent surfaces and 02 Typical measured quantities such as the number of recesses, profile, width, height, depth, edge, groove, flatness and deformation are defined and determined by the scanner organic materials. Furthermore, the blue laser is ideal for red-hot glowing object surfaces where the sensor would not recognize the red laser light since it has a similar wavelength. When measuring the blade angles of razors, for example, the blue laser provides extremely accurate results on highly polished surfaces. The requirements of the respective application are decisive for the correct choice of the most suitable laser type. Micro-Epsilon has registered a worldwide patent for the application on red-hot glowing and semi-transparent measurement objects. Photographs: lead bixabay, 01+02 Micro-Epsilon WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 2018 21