Machine Vision Use Grows On Napa Valley’s Vines
California is the world’s fourth largest wine-producing region, behind France, Italy, and Spain. Given that the Californian wine industry plays such a significant role in the state’s economy, there is a lot of pressure: not only pressure to produce quality products, but to operate efficient production facilities. In many cases this quest for efficiency translates into opportunities for machine vision technologies The Kendall-Jackson winery (Fulton, CA) is one site that depends on machine vision to increase efficiency in areas such as bottle inspection. Recently, the winery realized the need to inspect the labels on bottles after they pass through the labeling machine. Here’s the catch: the bottles emerge in a random position and orientation. The solution is the 360 Full View by CI Vision (Aurora, Illinois, USA). The 360 Full View is a wine bottle inspection system that checks the labels after they have been placed on the bottle.
Like all of CI Vision’s product offerings, the 360 Full View has an aluminum enclosure around a conveyor that features a touch-screen operator interface on a side panel. As a bottle passes through the enclosure, it simultaneously triggers four Basler GigE scout cameras to capture images of the bottle’s entire surface. Each camera has a 120° field-of-view. The analysis software, based on the Matrox Imaging Library (MIL), performs the routines that calculate the bottle’s coordinates, and determine whether the bottle’s label is the correct one and has been affixed properly.
CI‘s Marketing Director Scott Stone sees a number of food-industry applications where the 360 Full View will fit in. Baby food jars, distillery products, and pharmaceuticals are all potential candidates. He also foresees the day when automated systems inspect bottles from the empty glass bottle phase to the shipping-in-crates phase. And while the first 360 Full View systems were installed at the KendallJackson and Hacienda (Sonoma, CA) wineries, Stone says “half of Napa Valley saw them. There’s definitely a great interest in this technology out there .” CI‘s software engineer Rick Koval adds, “The Napa Valley winemakers are all very friendly with each other. They believe their competitors are the other wine-production countries, not their neighbor down the road!”