What is a Vision Recognition System?
Phil Holland: The Sinclair Vision Recognition System (VRS) intelligently identifies the pattern of a tray, locating the fruit or vegetable to optimise labeling efficiency and accuracy. Standard Sinclair labeller technology is proven to be reliable and efficient, but with VRS technology it provides more advanced labelling options and increases the labelling accuracy, particularly on randomly positioned fruit and awkward shapes such as on-the-vine tomatoes and pears.
Sinclair VRS has been available since 1999 and has evolved with available technologies as well as advances in automation in packhouses. Initially VRS required a large footprint so was available on the high-end Sinclair labellers. As technology has advanced so has the VRS to become more compact. The current version of the VRS was launched earlier in 2020 and is available on the Sinclair PL4 high-throughput labeller.
How does the VRS work?
PH: Using the latest imaging technology the Sinclair Vision Recognition system uses 3D imaging to create a depth map of the tray passing under its camera. The depth map is used to detect the produce contained in the tray which, in comparison to its 2D imaging predecessor, is not affected by colour.
This results in a system that can work with any color of produce, inner (including clear) or box and at any height up to 300mm.
What are the main benefits of the system?
PH: The system allows for different tray and pattern types to be combined onto a single packing line, automating the labelling and removing the need for operator intervention. A tray-masking feature allows the user to be selective over which fruit within a tray are labelled, and product settings enable the system to be set up for awkward fruit shapes. Both masks and product settings can be selected by the operator via a simple pull-down menu.
VRS also removes the need for manual pattern programming, reducing machine downtime due to programming, and provides automatic adjustment for different tray patterns and fresh produce on the same packing line, therefore requiring less operator intervention.
Why is the launch of the CPL +VRS important?
PH: The VRS has previously only been available with the Sinclair PL4 tray labelling solution, which is a high-throughput, large labelling machine not suitable for all packhouses. The latest version of the Sinclair VRS coupled with the CPL (Compact Pattern Labeller) uses the latest technology to enable a much more compact system. The CPL +VRS delivers the advanced tray labelling options and benefits of the PL4 +VRS integration, but allows installation and integration in smaller packhouses.
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