Bottles Patents (Class 250/223B)
  • Patent number: 6121605
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method of operating an optoelectronic sensor, in particular a light barrier, in which a light signal is sent by means of a light transmitter into a monitored region, and a light receiver designed to receive transmitted and reflected light signals delivers a reception signal, the amplitude of which is investigated for the presence of an object in the monitored region, with an article detection signal being transmitted if a recognition threshold is exceeded or fallen short of, characterized in that a plurality of switching threshold values are preset, with a switching signal being triggered when the received signal exceeds or falls short of these switching threshold values, in that the number of the switching signals which arise with respect to each switching threshold is found; and in that the recognition threshold value and the switching threshold values are set or adjusted in dependence on the numbers found.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: Sick AG
    Inventors: Thomas Blumcke, Daniel Kietz, Kai Waslowski
  • Patent number: 6122048
    Abstract: A video inspection system is provided wherein light from a light source is directed through a field lens. The field lens directs the incident light first in the direction of an object under inspection and then, after reflecting from said object, redirecting the reflected light toward the aperture of an imaging lens/camera assembly. This redirection technique results in magnification of selected regions of the object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: Pressco Technology Inc.
    Inventors: Don W. Cochran, Steve Cech, Terry L. Graves, Howard Fein
  • Patent number: 6100518
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for determining the size of an object. The method includes the steps of reflecting light from the object, measuring a plurality of adjacent light intensities reflected off an axis of the object, comparing adjacent light intensities, identifying a position where the light intensity markedly changes along the axis by a predetermined amount, and determining the size of the object from the identified position. The method is used to determine the amount of liquid necessary to fill a cup of the height determined. The apparatus for determining the size of an object includes means for reflecting light from the object, means for measuring a plurality of adjacent light intensities reflected off an axis of the object, means for comparing adjacent light intensities, means for identifying a position where the light intensity markedly changes along the axis by a predetermined amount, and means for determining the size of the object from the identified position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 8, 2000
    Inventor: Benjamin D. Miller
  • Patent number: 6089108
    Abstract: A bottle inspection apparatus and method are disclosed in which an improved housing contains an imaging device which is focused at a target area through an unobstructed window opening formed in a wall of the housing. The housing includes a sleeve member which may be attached to the housing in the vicinity of the unobstructed window opening and which may be positioned in close proximity to the imaging device, thus creating a restricted air path between the sleeve member and the imaging device which restricts the flow of cooling air exiting the housing. The imaging device may be mounted on a slide mount system such that it is adjustably moveable toward and away from the sleeve in order to adjustably control the amount of air restriction imposed and, thus, adjustably control the rate at which cooling air exits the housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 20, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2000
    Assignee: Coors Brewing Company
    Inventor: Philip J. Lucas
  • Patent number: 6064056
    Abstract: This invention presents a method of clearing a sensor field of debris, including liquids, through the use of an air curtain. An embodiment of this invention addresses the problem of impurity buildup in the sensing field of an optical sorter. An air curtain is created which prevents film buildup between the light sensor and the light source by blowing material and impurities, which form the film as they fall off articles being sorted, out of the sensing field.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 16, 2000
    Assignee: Magnetic Separation System, Inc.
    Inventor: Arthur G. Doak
  • Patent number: 6055876
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a non-contact type inspection system for inspection of test samples being conveyed, using a non-contact type inspection device, to judge the quality of the test samples automatically. The non-contact type inspection system comprises an annular rotary table which is rotated to convey test samples, an inspection device mounting table disposed inside and outside the rotary table, and having a CCD camera and the like as a non-contact type inspection device for inspection of the test samples being mounted on the inspection device mounting table, a rotary head which is supported above the rotary table and rotatably about the rotation center of the rotary table to hold the upper portions of the test samples being conveyed by the rotary table, and an interlocking mechanism for rotating the rotary head in synchronism with the rotary table.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 2, 2000
    Assignees: Sankyo Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Eisai Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Heizaburo Kato
  • Patent number: 6049379
    Abstract: A method is disclosed for detecting flaws in translucent objects. An image generating device is used to form an image of the object. A target area and a control area of the image are then compared to determine the relative brightness of each. If the relative brightness is not within an acceptable range, then this indicates that a defect exists in the target area and the object may be rejected. The acceptable range may be determined by performing the above method on an object known to be non-defective, thus producing a relative brightness between the target and control areas which is indicative of a non-defective condition. Also disclosed is a method for detecting flaws in translucent objects in which two images of the object are obtained from differing perspectives. The two images are then compared pixel by pixel to determine if any variation in image brightness exists between the two images.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2000
    Assignee: Coors Brewing Company
    Inventor: Philip J. Lucas
  • Patent number: 6046462
    Abstract: An improved lighting system which illuminates the parts with both generally collimated and diffused light simultaneously useful with machine vision systems. This lighting system allows determination of part identification, part location, part orientation about a vertical axis thereof as well as side-up orientation of the part. The parts are transported on a conveyor surface which is made of a translucent medium. However, such translucent medium does permit the viewing of the shadows cast by objects thereon. The light source is positioned directly over the parts being inspected. A camera is positioned below the conveyor surface. Residing between the collimated light source and the parts supported on the conveyor surface is a light-diffusing member. The light-diffusing member has a structure such that it permits a portion of the generally collimated light to pass therethrough without obstruction while simultaneously diffusing a second portion of light produced by the source of collimated light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2000
    Assignee: Eastman Kodak Company
    Inventors: Joseph E. Yokajty, Thomas W. Palone
  • Patent number: 6046447
    Abstract: A method and apparatus is provided to detect the position of an object, such as a container, in a target window using the concept of triangulation of energy radiation. A transmitter emits a pulse of energy in response to a periodic clock pulse which is at least partially reflected off the container positioned in the target window and into a receiver, forming an optical triangle. The signal produced by the receiver is checked to ensure that the energy indicative signal is synchronous with the periodic clock pulse to eliminate errant energy sources. The presence of a synchronous signal indicates the presence of an object in the target window wherein subsequent action may be taken, such as dispensing beverage and/or ice into a container within the target window. The invention is incorporated into a dispensing valve and may have the transmitter and receiver mounted vertically or horizontally.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2000
    Assignee: Electro-Pro, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel G. Skell, Eric D. Skell
  • Patent number: 6046463
    Abstract: An apparatus and method measures and controls crosslinking treatments on a glass surface from the measurement of reflection of polarized radiation from the surface of the glass.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 20, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2000
    Assignee: Fuesca, S.L.
    Inventor: Fernando Javier De La Fuente
  • Patent number: 6037591
    Abstract: A method of measuring the intensity of radiation transmitted through a body of given shape and material, the method including the steps of directing an incident beam of electromagnetic radiation crosswise onto the body to obtain an output beam coaxial with the incident beam; and measuring the energy of the output beam by correcting the energy transmitted by each of the rays of at least one of the two beams as a function of the length (d) of an optical path through the body and aligned with the ray.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2000
    Assignee: G.D Societa' Per Azioni
    Inventors: Armando Neri, Alberto Bonechi, Luca Cerati
  • Patent number: 6031221
    Abstract: A machine is disclosed for inspecting the profile and wall of a bottle which is delivered by a conveyor sequentially to two inspection stations. A pair of light sources, when fully illuminated, define two images of the bottle on a CCD camera image, so that the wall can be inspected. Portions of the light sources are darkened so that two different images of the bottle will be imaged on the CCD camera image so that the profile can be inspected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 19, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 29, 2000
    Assignee: Emhart Glass S.A.
    Inventor: William J. Furnas
  • Patent number: 6028302
    Abstract: An optoelectronic system for reading reliefs, such as a mould number, on a transparent container. The optoelectronic system associates a light source and a reception system, the light source illuminating the entire periphery of part of the body of the container and the reception system being capable of reproducing a complete image of the periphery of that part of the body of the container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 22, 2000
    Assignee: Saint-Gobain Cinematique et Controle
    Inventors: Jean-Charles Wiejak, Gilles Petitpas
  • Patent number: 6018159
    Abstract: A photoelectric sensing unit, especially useful for determining the passage of clear bottles or other low contrast targets on a conveyor, contains two sensors and a signal processing unit to determine the signal differential. The signal differential is compared to a selected value and sensor output is enabled or disabled. High noise immunity, resistance to target reflection, and output reliability result. The unit may correct the selected value to account for environmental change and/or unit component performance. The unit can also figure the speed of passage of the bottles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 25, 2000
    Assignee: Honeywell Inc.
    Inventors: Richard A. Alderman, David A. Klein, Bo Su Chen
  • Patent number: 6012344
    Abstract: In an inspection machine for containers comprising a feed conveyor, a discharge conveyor, and an intermediate conveyor which is arranged thereinbetween and transfers the containers without any self-rotation, and a rotary conveyor which imparts a rotational movement to the containers and is provided at the feed conveyor, a first side inspection device is arranged at the feed conveyor in front of the rotary conveyor, a second side inspection device is arranged at the discharge conveyor after the intermediate conveyor, and a bottom inspection device is arranged in the area of the gap existing between the feed conveyor and the discharge conveyor. A very efficient container transport and a high inspection accuracy are achieved with such an assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 17, 1998
    Date of Patent: January 11, 2000
    Assignee: Krones AG Hermann Kronseder Maschinenfabrik
    Inventor: Hansjoerg Halbo
  • Patent number: 5955740
    Abstract: A method and apparatus which can reliably inspect three dimensional objects resting on a surface such that part type, part location, side-up orientation, and orientation about a vertical axis can be determined with a single camera. The object to be inspected is supported on a support member which may be a conveyor. The support member possesses two specific optical characteristics. First, the support member must permit direct viewing therethrough of the object supported thereon without any significant loss of clarity. The support member must also be capable of diffuse reflection of a portion of the light incident thereon. A camera is positioned below the support member and a light source is positioned above the support member to back-light the object for the camera. That portion of the light diffusely reflected off the support member serves to illuminate any downward-facing surfaces of the object which are not in contact with the support member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 21, 1999
    Assignee: Eastman Kodak Company
    Inventors: Joseph E. Yokajty, Thomas W. Palone
  • Patent number: 5926556
    Abstract: Systems and methods of operation thereof for identifying containers handled by a container handling apparatus. Each container has a portion that includes one of a plurality of identifying patterns. A camera generates an image of at least the portion of the container including the identifying pattern wherein the image includes a pattern image corresponding to the identifying pattern. An image processor detects an optical characteristic of the image within a defined region of the image and detects the pattern image as a function of the detected characteristic. The defined region of the image includes the pattern image corresponding to the identifying pattern. The image processor determines the container's identifying pattern as a function of the pattern image detected by the image processor thereby to identify the container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 3, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 20, 1999
    Assignee: Inex, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert J. Douglas, Bozidar Kosta, Coleman W. Gormley, Edward R. Krajcik, Philippe Spiteri
  • Patent number: 5912776
    Abstract: An interior image receiving apparatus which includes an image receiver positioned facing an opening of a hollow object. Also included is a reflecting mirror positioned between the image receiver and the opening, in which the image receiver receives an image of the inner surface of the object reflected by the mirror.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 15, 1999
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel Co.
    Inventor: Yoshitaka Yaginuma
  • Patent number: 5900945
    Abstract: A check detector is provided for the neck and finished portions of a bottle which comprises a rotating means which is capable of rotating an inspection bottle; a plurality of emitters and a plurality of receivers arranged on an approximately hemispherical fixture arranged around the neck and finished portions of an inspected bottle as a center; means for obtaining N.times.M data per single scan against the inspected bottle, wherein N is a number of emitters, and M is a number of receivers; means for assorting the data obtained; and means for differentiating the data. Setting of job change depending on bottle types can be conducted automatically, and detecting checks in the neck and finished portions of a bottle can be conducted overall with no relation to the portion and type of defects. Detecting of a bubble, a contaminant, a chipped and unfilled thread and deformation which are known defects in the neck and finished portions of a bottle can be achieved.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 4, 1999
    Assignees: Precision Co., Ltd., Nippon Glass Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Kunio Hinata, Yuich Kawakita, Hitoshi Suzuki
  • Patent number: 5898169
    Abstract: A device for generating, detecting and recognizing a contour image of a liquid container, such as at least partly transparent, colored or non-colored bottles comprising a light source, light detector means, means for directing light rays received from said light source as parallel rays transversely of a path travelled by said container, and for conveying to said light detector means light rays which are not refracted or hidden by said container, processing means connected to said light detector means for processing signals from said detector means which are indicative of such detected light rays, and means for comparing such processed signals with predetermined container feature data to recognize said contour image of the container. The means for directing light rays suitably comprises a Fresnel lens which is located at a longitudinal side of said path, and a planar mirror located at an opposite longitudinal side of said path, said light source e.g.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1999
    Assignee: Tomra Systems A/S
    Inventor: Andreas Nordbryhn
  • Patent number: 5894939
    Abstract: A method to sort plastic articles, such as bottles, for recycling utilizes a first sensing area where the bottle is irradiated with circularly polarized light. The circularly polarized light changes polarization on passing through the bottle. The changed circularly polarized light is then detected by personnel wearing glasses having filters oriented to block circularly polarized light of a first handedness and produce light characteristic of the composition of the bottle. The bottle is then sorted for recycling by the personnel based upon the composition of the bottle. The method of the invention may be used as described above or in conjunction with a UV light source to identify bottles made from polyethelene napthalene.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 20, 1999
    Assignee: Frankel Industries, Inc.
    Inventor: Henry Frankel
  • Patent number: 5895911
    Abstract: A glass container body check detector is disclosed which comprises a conveyor for conveying glass containers in a predetermined direction to an inspection station, a rotator for rotating a glass container at the inspection station about the axis of the glass container, and an inspection assembly for detecting a check in the body of the rotating glass container. The inspection assembly includes a diffuse light source for directing diffused light at the sidewall of the rotating glass container in a direction perpendicular to the predetermined direction of conveyance of the glass container, a pair of angularly related directed light sources located above the rotating container for focusing light through the container into coincident vertical lines of light on the sidewall of the container, from the top of the bottle to the bottom of the container, and a linear array camera located above the rotating glass container and focused on the coincident lines of directed light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 20, 1999
    Assignee: Emhart Glass S.A.
    Inventors: Stephen M. Giometti, William J. Furnas
  • Patent number: 5896195
    Abstract: Apparatus for inspecting the sealing surface area of a container finish that includes a structured light source positioned to direct a collimated line-shaped light beam onto the sealing surface area of a container as the container is moved relative to the light source. The line-shaped light beam at the container sealing surface area has a long dimension orthogonal to the container axis that extends chordally across the sealing surface area, and a narrow dimension tangential to the container axis. A light sensor is disposed to receive portions of the line-shaped light beam reflected from the sealing surface area, and provides an electrical output signal that varies with height or level of the sealing surface with respect to the light source and sensor. The sensor is coupled to associated electronics for providing information indicative of sealing surface height.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 20, 1999
    Assignee: Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc.
    Inventors: John W. Juvinall, James A. Ringlien, William T. Shepherd
  • Patent number: 5864395
    Abstract: A method and an apparatus for identifying foreign bodies in packaged beverages are employed where the package and the beverage are translucent and the foreign bodies have a density greater than that of the beverage. A novel aspect of the method is that the package is oriented in a first position in which the foreign bodies are collected on an internal, upwardly directed face in the package, and the package is then turned to at least one subsequent inclined position having an inclination sufficient for the foreign bodies to perform a downward movement along said face. During this movement, at least one of the foreign bodies is identified by comparing at least two successive position-determining detections. This provides a method and an apparatus for certain identification of foreign bodies in dark as well as light beverages, and in disposable as well as recyclable packages.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 26, 1999
    Assignee: Kjaergaard Industri Automatic A/S
    Inventor: Claus Kirkegaard Laurberg
  • Patent number: 5828056
    Abstract: A photodetector is provided with two light sources and a light sensitive component. The use of two light sources significantly reduces the opportunity of a surface feature, or abnormality, from focusing light back toward the light sensitive component in a manner that could possible cause the photodetector to misinterpret the intensified light as being indicative of the absence of an object in the detection zone. The light sources and light sensitive component can be arranged along an axis which is either parallel to the path of the objects to be detected or perpendicular to their path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 27, 1998
    Assignee: Honeywell Inc.
    Inventors: Richard A. Alderman, Kenneth F. Barnes, Bo Su Chen
  • Patent number: 5822056
    Abstract: An inspection apparatus for measuring the flange of a can prior to forming the flange into a radially outward directed flange includes a light generating element for generating generally parallel light rays of a light beam along an axis and a refractor for receiving the parallel light rays and separating the light rays into a first light beam and a second light beam. The first light beam propagates generally along the axis into the can and is reflected within the can to produce a lighted image of the inside edge of the flange. The second light beam propagates at an angle relative to the axis to illuminate and produce a lighted image of the outside edge of the flange. A video camera generates image data from the lighted images, and a data processor interprets the image data. The refractor includes an outer cylindrical member and an inner cylindrical member disposed in a cavity extending through the outer cylindrical member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 27, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 13, 1998
    Assignee: Reynolds Metals Company
    Inventors: William T. Waters, Grover C. Edmonds
  • Patent number: 5814829
    Abstract: An inspection system and an inspection method, the method including detecting flaws on a surface, determining the size, count, and position of flaws on the surface, providing a representation of the detected flaws by size, count, and position on a display, setting a display threshold value which is a function of a number of particles of a particular size to be displayed on the display, determining when the display threshold is breached and in response adjusting the display to cease displaying those flaws, storing at least one inspection threshold value, and determining when the inspection threshold value is breached and in response outputting an inspection interrupt signal to stop the inspection after the inspection threshold value is breached.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 29, 1998
    Assignee: QC Optics, Inc.
    Inventors: Sergey V. Broude, Nicholas Allen, Abdu Boudour, Eric Chase, Carl Johnson, Pascal Miller, Jay Ormsby
  • Patent number: 5770865
    Abstract: An apparatus and method is disclosed for sensing a full level condition for a large basket. A signal generator produces an oscillating signal which is applied to energy emitters that are capable of transmitting electrical energy along defined paths and across the width of the large basket. The transmitted electrical energy is received by a plurality of receivers which output an electrical signal which is representative of the signal applied to the energy emitters when material which is being loaded into said basket does not interfere with the energy being transmitted along the defined paths. A logic circuit analyzes the signals output from the receivers and produces a status signal indicating whether material which is being loaded into the large basket has interfered with the energy being transmitted along the defined paths.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 23, 1998
    Assignee: Dickey-john Corporation
    Inventors: Ronald W. Steffen, John S. Galman
  • Patent number: 5753905
    Abstract: Apparatus for inspecting external dimensional parameters of a container finish that includes a light source for directing light energy onto the finish of the container and a matrix array sensor disposed to receive an image of the container finish illuminated by the light source. A telecentric lens is positioned to focus onto the matrix array sensor an image of the container finish profile formed by light energy traveling parallel to the telecentric lens axis, such that the finish profile appears as a dark image against a light background at the sensor. The matrix array sensor is scanned at increments of container rotation to determine one or more dimensional parameters of the container finish.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 19, 1998
    Assignee: Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc.
    Inventor: James A. Ringlien
  • Patent number: 5744793
    Abstract: A method and apparatus is provided to detect the position of an object, such as a container, in a target window using the concept of triangulation of energy radiation. A transmitter emits a pulse of energy in response to a periodic clock pulse which is at least partially reflected off the container positioned in the target window and into a receiver, forming an optical triangle. The signal produced by the receiver is checked to ensure that the energy indicative signal is synchronous with the periodic clock pulse to eliminate errant energy sources. The presence of a synchronous signal indicates the presence of an object in the target window wherein subsequent action may be taken, such as dispensing beverage and/or ice into a container within the target window. The invention is incorporated into a dispensing valve and may have the transmitter and receiver mounted vertically or horizontally.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 28, 1998
    Assignee: Electro-Pro, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel G. Skell, Eric D. Skell
  • Patent number: 5734467
    Abstract: A bottle inspection method is provided which is capable of compensating for random variations in the orientation and position of objects being inspected, such as glass bottles on a conveyor. The inspection device creates an image of the object and then analyzes the image to determine the amount of variation in orientation and position. The desired measurements are made from the image and then adjusted relative to the variation previously determined. Also provided is an improved housing for the imaging devices which eliminates the need for clear panels which are prone to dirtying.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 31, 1998
    Assignee: Coors Brewing Company
    Inventor: Philip John Lucas
  • Patent number: 5730298
    Abstract: To determine whether stress cracks are present in the bottom area of a plastic bottle which make it unfit for further use, the bottle bottom is scanned in the potential crack region by the measuring beam of a laser distance-measuring instrument. From its output signal, the prevalence and depth of the cracks can be identified sufficiently to enable a decision to be made on the removal of the bottle from circulation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 3, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 24, 1998
    Assignee: Elpatronic AG
    Inventors: Pierre Gernet, Daniel Jungo
  • Patent number: 5729340
    Abstract: An inspection machine for transilluminatable bottles inspects the sidewalls of bottles by transmitting a diffused beam of light through the sidewall and using a plurality of mirrors appropriately arranged for detecting or recording the images emergent from the bottle in different directions in the same image recording camera. The arrangement requires at least two separate beam paths and mirrors in each path directing the bottle emergent beams to the camera while the bottles are being conveyed through a position in which they are illuminated. In an improved arrangement, there is a separate cooperating series of beam deflecting mirrors which generate at least three independent beam paths that impinge from different directions on the sidewall of the bottle being inspected. The recording device is preferably a camera having a charge coupled device image plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 17, 1998
    Assignee: Krones AG Hermann Kronseder Maschinenfabrik
    Inventors: Karl Griesbeck, Franz Haring, Wolfgang Ruppelt, Hermann Kronseder
  • Patent number: 5719679
    Abstract: A method is for inspecting a vial in the course of conveying the vial by a rotary table, comprising the steps of inspecting the vial's lower half at a station of the vial's lower portion while the vial is rotated from above with its head being chucked, inspecting the vial's upper half at a station of the vial's upper portion while the vial is supported and rotated from below by a rotary belt adapted to be brought into contact with the vial, and combining these inspections of lower and upper halves to inspect the whole vial from its head to its bottom.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 17, 1998
    Assignee: Eisai Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Koji Shimizu, Kazumi Maruoka
  • Patent number: 5717486
    Abstract: To detect damage in the bottom region of a plastic bottle a picture of the bottom region is taken by means of a camera. The resulting image is then tested for brightness pixel by pixel in a predetermined inspection area. Large deviations of the test curve from the average value are indicative of a damaged bottle. The process is meaningful, and it can be carried out on existing bottle inspection machines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 16, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 10, 1998
    Assignee: Elpatronic AG
    Inventors: Karl-Georg Burri, Petr Pavlik
  • Patent number: 5699152
    Abstract: A system and method for inspecting opaque objects, such as metal beverage containers, is presented including a light source for illuminating the interior surface of the container, an ellipsoidal first mirror for forming a first image of an upper interior portion of the container, a first camera for capturing the first image of the upper interior portion of the container, a planar image-splitting second mirror for forming a second image of the flange of the container, a second camera for capturing the second image of the flange, an image combiner for electro-optically combining the first and second images, whereby a resultant composite image corresponding to substantially the entire upper interior surface of the container can be generated and analyzed for defects, a third camera located at a separate location for viewing directly the lower interior portion of the container and capturing a corresponding third image, and a computer means for analyzing the resulting images for defects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 3, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 16, 1997
    Assignee: Alltrista Corporation
    Inventors: Richard L. Fedor, Thomas H. Palombo
  • Patent number: 5699162
    Abstract: To test a bottle for contamination, the bottom of the bottle is laterally illuminated with a measuring light beam from a source. This measuring light beam is deflected, as if in a waveguide, in the ring of residual liquids at the bottom of the bottle. Light reemerging from the residual liquid is imaged on a detector by an imaging lens. The detector measures the spectral composition of the deflected light and compares this with theoretical values which should be yielded by the liquid with which the bottle was last filled. If deviations from the theoretical values are excessive, the bottle is rejected. The process described provides a simple way of determining whether a multi-trip bottle has contained an extraneous liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 16, 1997
    Assignee: Elpatronic AG
    Inventors: Peter Pirani, Martin Rosatzin, Daniel Wildmann
  • Patent number: 5695039
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for determining a characteristic of a material, such as composition and/or color, has an electromagnetic radiation source having a first amount of circular polarization. The electromagnetic radiation from the source has the capability of passing through the material. A processor determines the characteristic of the material based on changes in the electromagnetic radiation caused by passing through the material. Changes in electromagnetic radiation include changes in rotation. Additionally, the processor may determine what, if any, electromagnetic radiation was blocked by the material and the amplitude of the electromagnetic radiation passing through the material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 9, 1997
    Assignee: Environmental Products Corporation
    Inventors: Rusty Driscoll, Ken R. Powell
  • Patent number: 5694221
    Abstract: A method, and device for automated non-destructive deterministic inspection of solutions in transparent containers for particle contamination, comprising the steps of pre-positioning particles in a zone distant from the vertical spin axis, specifically by tilting of the container; rapidly rotating the solution container; suddenly stopping the container, wherein particles within the solution, continue in motion; illuminating the container, while the particles are in motion, whereby particles within the container detectably reflect or block light. The container is tilted, prior to the spinning, by an acute angle ranging from 5.degree. to 85.degree.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1996
    Date of Patent: December 2, 1997
    Inventor: Julius Z. Knapp
  • Patent number: 5675416
    Abstract: A sorting system (10) propels a stream of randomly arranged PET and PVC articles (12, 14) through an inspection zone (20) including a first light polarizer/analyzer combination (24, 26), an article-detecting gap (G), and a second light polarizer/analyzer combination (28, 30). The first and second polarizer/analyzer combinations are oriented to extinguish normally incident light in the absence of articles in the inspection zone and are offset 45 degrees relative to each other such that at least one polarizer/analyzer combination detects a principal axis of birefringence of PET articles. The gap is employed to detect the presence of an article in the inspection zone. A video camera (22) includes first, second, and third CCD arrays (58, 60, 62) positioned to receive respective light rays (48, 64, 50) from the first light polarizer/analyzer combination, the gap, and the second light polarizer/analyzer combination and to generate first, second, and third video signals representative of the light each receives.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 7, 1997
    Assignee: SRC Vision, Inc.
    Inventors: Duncan B. Campbell, Carl D. Christy, H. Parks Squyres, Steven D. Lancaster
  • Patent number: 5672863
    Abstract: Apparatus for detecting containers of predetermined diameter that includes a pair of optical proximity sensors positioned adjacent to a container conveyor such that light energy from the sensors is incident sequentially on the containers as the containers pass on the conveyor adjacent to the sensors. The sensors are adjustably positionable with respect to each other such that the sensors are spaced from each other in the direction of container motion on the conveyor. An electronic circuit is coupled to the sensors for detecting passage of containers on the conveyor while ignoring dithering of the containers. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the sensors are mounted on a common support having a scale for measuring separation between the sensors. Printed indicia in units of container diameter, preferably in both English and metric units, is affixed to the support adjacent to the scale.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 30, 1997
    Assignee: Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy J. Nicks, John L. Waugaman, Alan D. Ahl
  • Patent number: 5661294
    Abstract: To photograph the mouth region of a bottle, a light-emitting surface is arranged below the mouth region to be photographed. The light-emitting surface is illuminated by means of an illuminating device and the image of the illuminated mouth region is directed to a camera by a mirror arrangement (5,6,11). The light-emitting surface makes it possible to image the mouth region in transmitted light, facilitating detection of defects and soiling in the mouth region from the interpretation of the image recorded by the camera.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 26, 1997
    Assignee: Elpatronic AG
    Inventors: Christa Buchmann, Karl-Georg Burri
  • Patent number: 5661819
    Abstract: A corner area between the bottom and the side of a cylindrical container is set as a test area. An objective lens of a TV camera is mounted to form a predetermined angle with the central axis of the cylindrical container. An image is generated on the screen of an image processing device based on the image captured by the TV camera. One-dimensional position detection slits Ws1 through Ws3 normally cross the arc of the ring-shaped highlighted portion corresponding to the corner area at three points. The coordinates of the intersections P1 through P3 of the position detection slits and the highlighted portions are obtained. They are substituted in the circular equation to calculate the coordinate (.alpha., .beta.) of the center of the circle 0 having the intersections P1 through P3 on its circumference.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 26, 1997
    Assignee: Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Kouichi Toyama
  • Patent number: 5637864
    Abstract: Apparatus for detecting checks in the sidewall of a translucent container that includes a light source for illuminating an elongated strip of the container sidewall parallel to the central axis of the container in such a way that illumination rays are incident at any point of the strip from multiple differing angles. A camera is positioned externally of the container for receiving light reflected by checks in the illuminated strip, and electronic circuitry is coupled to the camera for detecting checks in the container as a function of such reflected light. Since the light rays at any point in the elongated illuminated strip on the container sidewall are incident from multiple differing angles, planar checks in the container sidewall that are not precisely vertical in orientation will have a greater chance of reflecting light energy from the source onto the detector.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 10, 1997
    Assignee: Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy J. Nicks, James A. Ringlien
  • Patent number: 5627638
    Abstract: There is provided a method and an apparatus for testing an optical component for cosmetic defects, the component having optical surfaces, a peripheral surface and a bulk defined by the optical and peripheral surfaces, a range of inspection of the component including at least one optical surface and the bulk of the component at least in the vicinity of the one optical surface. The method includes producing at least one beam of inspection radiation and directing rays of the at least one beam onto the peripheral surface at such angles as to enable the rays to travel in the bulk of the component by multiple total internal reflections from the at least one optical surface, providing illumination of each point in the inspection range by set of rays at different angles, and to emerge from the component through the peripheral surface, and monitoring a radiation scattered by the defects and emerging from the component through the at least one optical surface, thereby identifying the defects.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 6, 1997
    Assignee: Prolaser Ltd.
    Inventor: Peter A. Vokhmin
  • Patent number: 5617204
    Abstract: An inspection method for determining the presence and type of defects in the lip of a bottle. A CCD sensor and a light source are arranged at one side of the bottle above the lip, and additional light sources are arranged at the other side of the bottle above the lip. The presence and type of defects are determined by observing the profile of the image signal output by the CCD when light is reflected from the lip of the bottle. Defective bottles produce a wider than normal signal profile, two or more peaks, an interrupted profile or a weak arc image signal. The form of the image signal is indicative of the type of defect in the lip of the bottle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 19, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 1, 1997
    Inventor: Kunio Hinata
  • Patent number: 5612525
    Abstract: An apparatus is disclosed for marking refillable containers, more especially plastic bottles, with code symbols for later ascertaining whether a container has to be refilled or separated. The part of the container in which is situated a manufacturer's code present from the outset is photographed at a detection station by a camera. Using code symbols applied previously as a reference marking, the place is determined at which a new code symbol of a round trip code is applied at a marking station with a laser. The number of such code symbols gives the number of fillings of the containers, and the data content of each code symbol contains a statement concerning the filling inserted in the container, the bottler etc., in each case. With the aid of this, a certain filling sequence can be adhered to, for example, prevent a plastic bottle which previously contained a cola drink being filled with mineral water, whereas the reverse sequence would be permissible.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 18, 1997
    Assignee: Elpatronic AG
    Inventors: Robert Apter, Julian Weinstock
  • Patent number: 5610391
    Abstract: Apparatus for inspecting external dimensional parameters of a container finish that includes a light source for directing light energy onto the finish of the container and a matrix array sensor disposed to receive an image of the container finish illuminated by the light source. A telecentric lens is positioned to focus onto the matrix array sensor an image of the container finish profile formed by light energy traveling parallel to the telecentric lens axis, such that the finish profile appears as a dark image against a light background at the sensor. The matrix array sensor is scanned at increments of container rotation to determine one or more dimensional parameters of the container finish.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 11, 1997
    Assignee: Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc.
    Inventor: James A. Ringlien
  • Patent number: 5608815
    Abstract: An image testing device captures an image of a test object using a TV camera and raster-scans the image to search the test object for a scratch or spot. The device protects its test precision from being deteriorated by lowered brightness of an illuminator and properly maintains the illuminator by outputting an alarm on detecting a lowering of the illuminator. To realize the capabilities of the image testing device, it comprises a brightness measure circuit, a general determination circuit, etc. The brightness measure circuit receives a multivalued gray image signal or image data from the frame memory through a switching unit, obtains an average value of picture elements in a brightness measure area in a test object image, and outputs it as a measured brightness signal. The general determination circuit corrects, in proportion to a measured brightness a binarization threshold for use in detecting a picture element indicating a defect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 15, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 4, 1997
    Assignee: Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Koichi Toyama, Tatsuo Yamamura
  • Patent number: 5608516
    Abstract: A machine for inspecting a glass bottle comprising a bottle supporting track, a car for conveying a bottle along the track to a bottle inspection station. The car includes rollers for rotatably engaging one side of the bottle and a wall mechanism forcefully engages the other side of the bottle as it is conveyed to the bottle inspection station. The wall mechanism includes a pivotally displaceable support, which is biased towards a fully advanced position. Linear bumpers secured to the support extend into the path of a conveyed bottle when the support is at the fully advanced position so that a bottle will engage the linear bumpers and forcefully pivotally displace the support to a retracted position as the bottle is conveyed to the inspection station. The length of the linear bumpers is selected so that when a bottle is conveyed to the inspection station, the bottle will be conveyed past the linear bumpers whereby the support will be displaced back to the fully advanced position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 4, 1997
    Assignee: Emhart Glass Machinery Investments Inc.
    Inventor: Monti D. Emery