Automated Product Analysis Helps Build Stronger Brands

In an extremely competitive industry, where quality, consistency and appearance have a strong influence on consumer decisions, food producers need tools to help them keep their edge. Vision systems are one way manufacturers are ensuring quality and improving consistency, while also enhancing efficiency and throughput. 

In-Line & Over-Line Vision Inspection Technologies help operators assess critical 2D and 3D product features before packaging.

In-Line & Over-Line Vision Inspection Technologies help operators assess critical 2D and 3D product features before packaging. Image Credit: KPM Analytics

Vision inspection systems use a series of high-speed cameras and imaging software to detect and measure objects as they move along a conveyor belt. Custom software and sophisticated measurement algorithms allow manufacturers to quantify physical characteristics of their products for quality control. Optional rejection systems can be added and have the ability to automatically remove individual defective objects from the production line.

In order to filter out the out-of-spec products, the majority of companies are still using manual inspection processes in spite of the technological advancements across the different phases of the baking industry today. Thus, there are a few risks and challenges to overcome, such as:

  • Operator-Dependent Assessment: Manual observation is fundamentally a subjective measurement process, which can have an impact on product consistency. These risks are compounded when running full-line speeds.
  • Rising Business Expenses: Food commodity prices are increasing, and rising global transportation/logistics costs have negatively impacted many companies, which can then have a serious knock-on effect on an operation’s bottom line.
  • Training/Work-Force Related Challenges: Hiring the right staff is always a challenge, but even more so today, given the difficulties today’s labor force must overcome. Even with the right person, the training involved can be expensive and time-consuming for the company.

Optimizing Product Flow is Key to Driving Profit

Recently, a number of baking companies have initiated the installation of in-line and over-line vision inspection technologies – such as those supplied by EyePro System and Sightline Process Control - two brands in the KPM Analytics family of quality assurance solutions.

 

Image Credit: KPM Analytics

These turn-key systems are well-equipped to detect and measure food products with great precision at full-line speeds.

Each device can be programmed to analyze distinctive features that are crucial to a product brand, such as the shape, size, color, distribution of ingredients or unique features (toppings, ridges, holes/indentations and others), as well as almost any other visual characteristics that may be difficult or sometimes impossible to inspect using manual methods.

100% Product Inspection While Addressing the Quality Assurance Gaps Prompted by Labor Challenges

Manual observation of products can be redundant because there is a greater subjective variation from one operator to the next than the specification limit range. There is also a lack of significant data to make well-informed decisions around process quality.

As a methodology, automated vision inspection involves capturing several images of every single product, analyzing those images and extracting as many measurements as mathematically possible.

This means the operator acquires quantifiable, repeatable and accurate data on specific 2D and 3D product attributes. These systems can be set up and programmed to evaluate features thought to be impossible to analyze, such as seed coverage, slight coating/texture variations, slope height, etc.

 

2D Analysis: Split Distribution on a Bread Loaf. Image Credit: KPM Analytics

3D Height Analysis of a Muffin. Image Credit: KPM Analytics

 

Integrated Automatic Rejection System. Image Credit: KPM Analytics

In a number of operations, the reward comes in the form of reliable data on every single product. These systems can be supplied with extensive product libraries pre-installed that have been developed from thousands of sample scans. In time, the operator can create their own specific measurement libraries for each particular product.

All data can be stored for future reference, allowing manufacturers to further build out their measurement library.

In effect, this streamlines a company’s processes, reduces reliance on manual labor, and empowers the operator to make real-time data-driven decisions that will help them reduce product waste.

Vision Inspection at the Forefront of a Modernized Baking Operation

Artisan bakery, La Brea Bakery of Van Nuys, CA – a brand within the ARYZTA North America conglomerate of baking operations – installed vision inspection recently as part of a major effort to automate their processes where and when appropriate.

The company has equipped three different production lines with in-line vision inspections in conjunction with automatic rejection applications to filter out-of-spec bread products, including baguettes prior to them moving on to the packaging processing.

Example Real-Time Product Monitoring Application, Like the One Used at the La Brea Bakery.

Example Real-Time Product Monitoring Application, Like the One Used at the La Brea Bakery. Image Credit: KPM Analytics

Monitors in the makeup and packaging departments transmit visual guides to the operators so that they can view and see if the product is within specifications.

Our employees love it. It’s a communication tool to tell where we’re at with waste in real time.

Mr. Marcus Garcia, Bakery Director, La Brea Bakery’s Van Nuys Facility.

This innovative operation was recently described in a recent Baking & Snack article.

Continued Advancements in Vision Technology

Rapidly advancing vision inspection software is the core focus of the KPM Analytics vision inspection systems. KPM is presently committed to developing extensive measurement libraries and sophisticated AI features that will facilitate the improvement of existing measurements and deliver solutions for the future needs of businesses.

One advancement recently demonstrated is the capability to carry out porosity analysis or crumb analysis. This analysis offers a greater understanding of products as it can offer information relative to texture expectation (airy, dense), as well as pore size and distribution.

This data is critical for quality assurance and R&D teams that conduct intensive analyses of baked products or test or validate recipes, as well as enabling accurate, repeatable data for well-managed process control.

One of KPM’s newest hardware technologies is the multi-eye system, which incorporates Hyperspectral Imaging Technology for state-of-the-art foreign body detection and classification.

This technology utilizes a combination of imaging technology and spectroscopy to capture images of different wavelengths and elaborate on the standard product information to identify foreign bodies on the outer surface and categorize them.

This will be extremely useful for baked products with toppings, where color inspection is not of much help (including cookies, muffins, pizza, to name a few).

Dependable Solutions to Help Maintain Baked Product Quality and Build a Stronger Brand

As persistent consumer demand drives product development and helps innovate new recipe formulations (including whole-grain, gluten-free or high-protein varieties), companies can be confident that there is a solution that ensures their baked products will meet visual brand standards batch-after-batch with the assistance of automated vision inspection solutions.

For additional information regarding automated vision inspection technologies, visit www.kpmanalytics.com.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by KPM Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit KPM Analytics.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    KPM Analytics. (2022, April 21). Automated Product Analysis Helps Build Stronger Brands. AZoM. Retrieved on July 07, 2022 from https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21566.

  • MLA

    KPM Analytics. "Automated Product Analysis Helps Build Stronger Brands". AZoM. 07 July 2022. <https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21566>.

  • Chicago

    KPM Analytics. "Automated Product Analysis Helps Build Stronger Brands". AZoM. https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21566. (accessed July 07, 2022).

  • Harvard

    KPM Analytics. 2022. Automated Product Analysis Helps Build Stronger Brands. AZoM, viewed 07 July 2022, https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=21566.

Ask A Question

Do you have a question you'd like to ask regarding this article?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit