By identifying pallet defects accurately and reliably, SVI is expected to reduce scrap and raw materials, while improving the consistency of overall pallet quality for CHEP customers.
Ed Mabe, CHEP Senior Director, Global Process Engineering, said: “Universal Robotics’ novel approach provides CHEP with an innovative low-cost 3D pallet inspection system that will improve the consistency of product quality by eliminating human variability in the inspection process and expand automation in our supply chain.”
Traditionally, pallet inspection has been done visually with varying levels of manual handling or automated machinery, requiring the pallet to be lifted and flipped to see all surfaces. Stringent and frequent audits are required to reduce the variability of visual inspection.
Traditional 2D vision is not as reliable as 3D due to the limitations of the technology and the structure of a pallet. Replicating manual inspection requires a flexible, automated vision system that quickly identifies a wide range of defects, including raised nails, and wood damage – whether split, loose, or missing – at a productive line speed. This solution sees more of the pallet at a faster rate than current approaches, delivering consistent quality levels for CHEP’s partners and customers.
Universal Robotics is able to create very accurate 3D imaging with robust, state-of-the-art software and very inexpensive sensors, rather than using expensive lasers that are regulated in many jurisdictions. These inexpensive off-the-shelf sensors can be easily replaced if they get damaged or broken.
Although the price of the system was not revealed, CHEP claims that “the cost of new systems will be significantly less than prior implementations.”
David Peters, CEO of Universal Robotics, said: “Universal was selected because of our expertise in 3D sensor data for qualitative assessment…Universal provides the only 3D technology that incorporates a self-learning capability, Neocortex, that drives intelligence in the supply chain never seen before.”
Carmelo Alonso-Bernaola, Senior Vice President of Global Operations, said: “CHEP is pleased to partner with Universal Robotics to continue to enhance the service levels we provide to our customers while also improving internal productivity.”