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Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, September/October 2015

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pmpnews.com • Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News September/October 2015 28 Vision Inspection vision systems that are controlled by internal microprocessors so they can operate independently of a PC. Vision systems are less expensive to implement because they can typi- cally be developed without writing a line of code by utilizing a few pre- written functions called vision tools. Operators can adjust the focus or lighting on the vision system either by plugging in a laptop or by operat- ing the vision system in teach mode. This approach makes it easy for the end-users to fi nd "like for like" cam- era replacements for many years after initial installation and to maintain consistent vision performance across multiple inspection points. The smart camera–based solution provides medi- cal device manufacturers with a lower cost of ownership by reducing the need for revalidation because the vision sys- tem is inherently much more stable over time and is not subject to yearly computer obsolescence issues. Reading UDI 1-D and 2-D codes and text can be challenging in real- world applications because of varia- tions in the size, shape, position, and orientation of the code; the potential for degradation in printing and mark- ing of the codes; the wide range of surfaces on which the codes may be marked; the potential for degradation in the equipment used to print or mark the codes; and variations in ambient lighting. Proper, high-quality mark- ing is essential for full supply-chain readability, but as the initiative moves forward to direct-part marking of individual devices, the challenges are amplifi ed. Fortunately, vision system suppliers have developed solutions for these problems. A key advancement in 1-D code reading is an algorithm that uses tex- ture to locate bar codes at any orienta- tion and then extracts high-resolution signals for decoding. The fi nder ana- lyzes a raw source image and produces a list of regions where it is likely that a code exists along with the orienta- tion and other properties of the code. The algorithm then extracts 1-D signal using as a mathematical foundation a model of the pixel grid itself that reduces blur while maintaining perfect accuracy and noise reduction. Also, 2-D code reading improve- ments include new texture-based loca- tion algorithms that take a unique, inside-out approach to reading 2-D matrix and DPM codes. While con- ventional feature-based algorithms start by locating the finder pattern, the new algorithm looks for a pattern of alternating light and dark modules within the code. This technology dra- matically increases read rates in 2-D bar code reading applications where a part's geometry, poor lighting, occlu- sion, or print-registration errors make it diffi cult to capture an image of the entire code. Unlike previous solutions, new technology can locate and read codes even when they exhibit signif- icant damage to or complete elimi- nation of the fi nder pattern, clocking pattern, or quiet zone. ReADING HUMAN-ReADABle teXt Similar improvements have been achieved in the even more challeng- ing task of reading the human read- able text that is required to meet UDI regulations. The new optical charac- ter recognition (OCR) technology is based on a powerful image processing algorithms wrapped in an easy-to-use point-and-click interface. The segmen- tation process fi rst breaks down each line, using regions around each string, and automatically locates them. Next, segmentation parameters are adjusted in order to get boxes around each char- acter. Each character is broken down further into small fragments and the Main screen of Cognex's In-Sight Track & Trace identif cation and data verif cation solution. No pro- gramming is required. Users can deploy the systems by following menus to set up job parameters. The smart-camera-based solution provides a lower cost of ownership by reducing the need for revalidation because the vision system is inherently more stable over time and is not subject to yearly computer obsolescence issues.

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