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SURFACE MASTER – The new generation of Surface Inspection: Data quality defines a new performance level

Maximum benefits for aluminium producers: Relevant quality data for 100% correct quality decisions

Aachen/Germany – October 2012. ISRA PARSYTEC, the world's leading supplier of surface inspection systems for web products, is redefining inspection performance with its SURFACE MASTER product line, the latest generation in surface inspection equipment. In order to successfully deal with the continuously growing demands of customers, as well as growing competition in aluminium web production, it no longer suffices to simply provide increased production efficiency and end-product quality. Nowadays, automatic surface inspection is already the norm in many production stages. Yet SURFACE MASTER sets new performance standards for all the typical characteristics of inspection systems, as well as in a new quality category: data quality. Data quality represents a critical factor in defining the inspection performance and is the key to providing maximum benefits to users.

 

The best defect images alone will not allow processes to be optimized or correct quality decisions to be made. A system is required which can convert the masses of detected defect data into valuable information. In addition to the detection and classification of defects, the generation of flawless and relevant quality data represents one of the most important tasks of a surface inspection system of the next generation. SURFACE MASTER filters and groups information about defects and other sources, to meaningful quality data, in order to assist manufacturers in the areas of process optimization, material assessment and downstream optimization.

SURFACE MASTER is redefining inspection performance: In addition to high detection performance and enhanced classification, the quality level of the data is decisive. It provides the basis for making reliable quality decisions. The precise data required for these decisions needs to be extracted. Essential basic requirements are razor sharp images, reliable detection, precise classification and finally the intelligent and automatic filtering of the available information to provide the quality data that is relevant for business decisions. Up until now, no inspection system on the market was able to fulfill these requirements.

 

The "Base" - optimum working conditions for sensors

It all starts with an image: The wealth of experience of ISRA VISION PARSYTEC in all production line applications of aluminium production has been incorporated in the portfolio of SURFACE MASTER sensor configurations, which are adapted precisely to the individual production lines. The highest resolution is achieved even on rapid production lines through the use of the latest camera technology and switchable, ultra bright LED lighting.

An example: The DUAL SENSOR provides optimum recognition quality for very complex inspection tasks with a wide variety of material characteristics – from light to dark, shiny to dull, uncoated to painted. For this purpose, a sensor with diffuse lighting is combined with a sensor with direct lighting. This allows the reliable identification of defects even on structured surfaces. To this end, the inspection adapts automatically to the surface structure. This is possible due to the fact that not only the camera setting, but also the lighting intensity is adapted according to the reflection of the material surface. In order to detect color defects on structured surfaces, for example, the structures have to be diminished by the diffuse light. For matt surfaces, generally more intense lighting will be required than for shiny surfaces. The sensors thus always have their ideal working conditions. This process of lighting adaptation is unparalleled in the surface inspection system market.

 

Qualifying inspection data as valuable information

Once defects have been detected, these are classified in order to determine the type and severity and thus enable reliable quality decisions to be made. The hierarchically arranged classification tool uses class ‘’specialists” to provide significantly enhanced differentiation between very similar defect classes – an important prerequisite for achieving high data quality. The defect data can be filtered in accordance with its relevance in relation to various quality decisions. When looking to avoid web breaks in a cold mill, for example, only information about holes and edge cracks will be of interest, whereas quality problems in the casting sector will only require information about non-metallic inclusions.

 

Fast set-up and optimum availability

The redefined inspection performance is the key to reliable quality decisions and is defined primarily by the data quality which is unparalleled in all other conventional inspection systems. There are further characteristics that distinguish a modern inspection system capable of meeting future requirements.

Even the best inspection system will be restricted in its use if the set-up is not quick enough. SURFACE MASTER contains simple-to-use tools to ensure set-up within a short period of time. The combination of the "Instant Classifier" and various pre-settings mean that within one month, the user will already be reaping financial rewards from the inspection system. SURFACE MASTER can be set up much quicker than other comparable systems. The Instant Classifier will recognize 80% of typical defects immediately and without training. The pre-settings are based on the empirical values of ISRA VISION PARSYTEC from more than 400 installations in surface inspection systems. Quick start-up also enables semi-automatic detection optimization, which makes the quick introduction of new materials to be inspected possible.

SURFACE MASTER ensures optimum availability and guarantees a 100% inspection. The system uses standardized hardware that can be replaced very quickly if required. The cameras are pre-calibrated. If availability needs to be further increased, it is possible to make use of redundant configurations for this purpose.

 

Decision support in all areas

Today's customers rely on sophisticated quality management. With SURFACE MASTER, customers of the aluminium manufacturer gain trust because tools and reports for auditing are available. These range from comprehensive system diagnostics and sustained analysis of the system performance, to a system performance index for each coil that is produced. Dedicated decision support is provided by the Expert5i modules for process and production analysis.

One example is the Coil Release software module, with which coils can be approved for the next production stages or for delivery. The module reduces customer complaints and precautionary quality downgrades. It will also help to prevent investment in materials that cannot be delivered to customers.

Another example is the CoilReassignment Expert5i module, which provides suggestions for new uses of a coil, if it does not meet the originally defined quality requirements. The module compiles a list of orders in relation to all coil characteristics which match the product that was produced. The SlittingOptimization module ensures the maximum yield from the produced coil. This takes all coil characteristics, as well as the quality requirements of the customer, into consideration.

 

Conclusion

Surface defects make surface inspection indispensable for aluminium manufacturers. The appropriate inspection systems enable surface defects to be identified and provide assistance in repairing the coil or eliminating the causes of the defect. To gain the full benefits of the inspection results, the plethora of defect data must be filtered and compressed into high-quality information in order to generate valuable knowledge for increasing yield. Only then can surface inspection become an integral part of quality management in aluminium production and guarantee the highest quality of surface inspection to be able to fully meet customer requirements in the future.

 

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info@isra-parsytec.com