ECLIPSIM COAT is the new solution by SACMI for inspecting coated metal sheets. The high speed of coating lines and the numerous kinds of coating – which could be in a variety of shades and types of colour, from white to metallic grey, with different degrees of reflecting and diffusing light – are what led to this remarkable technological challenge, which SACMI met successfully with this system, which is completely new, both in terms of hardware and software and thanks to its particular image acquisition system (illuminator and video camera).
The system works like an ordinary scanner, equipped on one side, with a line scan colour camera and on the other with a particular illuminator, the latest addition to the Chrometriq range patented by SACMI, called Chrometriq-Linear. With ECLIPSIM COAT, the video camera acquires up to 64 million pixels per sheet at an inspection speed of 6 thousand sheets/hour, guaranteeing a precision as high as 0.15 mm/pixel for sheets with dimensions of 1200x1200 mm.
The principal faults that can be detected include ordinary oxidisation of the metal, as well as small drops of water (so-called “fish-eyes”) and a lack of paint to varying extents. In addition, the system is capable of identifying any potential contamination that may occur during the coating process, which requires a furnace for drying and polymerisation of the coat. In particular, the presence of any soot on the surface, caused by the residue of any uncombusted gases inside the thermal chamber can be identified. Even the process of loading and unloading the sheets from the furnace – which is usually done with the help of grids to keep the sheets vertical – can cause small dents, scratches or other damage which can be identified by the system.
The ECLIPSIM COAT system is extremely versatile in terms of the different types of coating and the size of the sheets to be inspected. Moreover, it has been designed to work with scroll sheets and sheets with reserve (i.e. sheets with non-coated strips to allow welding during the manufacture of metallic containers). With these, the system checks for the absence of coat, in order to avoid defects occurring when the can is welded, with a degree of precision of around half a millimetre.
The enormous potential for calculation that the system requires to function –in practice 64 Mpixels per sheet, at a speed of 100 sheets per minute – is the main technological challenge which SACMI faced. The system, which has already been tested successfully by a leading Spanish client, was developed by SACMI by completely redesigning the hardware, equipped with a graphic accelerator redimensioned to process the images in just a few milliseconds. Also the CVS3000 software has been redeveloped to meet the new requirements and can now exploit the potential of the parallel calculations, and succeed in inspecting the images in real time.
The CVS3000 platform is shared by the other inspection systems developed by SACMI, guaranteeing perfect interfunctionality between the different systems and allowing for interfacing with the plant supervisors or the company ERP. Thanks to a large 34” monitor, the operator can have an overview of the sheet and zoom in on each individual problem area, in order to get a better idea of its type and origin and proceed to carry out the necessary corrective intervention.
As well as being installed on the coating line, ECLIPSIM COAT can function off-line, for the inspection in other locations of batches of potentially damaged painted sheets. A strategic added value of the SACMI proposal is the ability to provide, together with the inspection system, all the necessary functions for handling sheet metal, both on and off the line, with personalised solutions based on the manufacturing configuration and requirements of each individual client.