Bead Electronics has several vision inspection cameras throughout the factory that we use to inspect our solid wire and tubular contact pins as they are produced. But occasionally, certain parts can get bent or deformed during the plating process, which is outsourced to a reputable plating company post-production. How can we be sure they've maintained their quality and reliability after they've been plated, when it's our job to ensure customer satisfaction? Since we couldn’t find anything on the market, we built one ourselves.
Bead's Universal Vision Sorting Machine was custom built by our engineering department to inspect loose contact pins. It's universal in the sense that it's capable of sorting various size contact pins, ranging from .25 inch long to 1.5 inches long with a diameter as small as .018 and as large as .90.
The process begins by a vibrated bowl, which is fully adjustable to handle the range of parts described. Parts are put in anywhere between 8,000 to 15,000 at a time. Contact pins are cingulated, leaving the bowl, falling individually, separated by some random spacing down a gravity fed track. At this point in the process, the part is triggered. The trigger initiates the dual camera system to take an image of that component. The two images begin processing at that point.
The part continues on in a free fall, through a funneling and containment tube. During the time it takes the pin to fall the distance between the trigger to the flipping gate, the components are processed, and the decision of good or bad is made. The decision triggers the gate to divert the contact pin to either a pass or a fail bin. The additional safety here is that we do a full balanced accountability. Every part that comes in at the trigger gate is accounted for at the exit. In essence, every part is accounted for with no chance of a lost component or a mixed component.
On our user interface screen, we log the pass components and rejected components, and we keep an approximate part per minute rate. The system can operate upwards of 250 parts per minute. Smaller contact pins are more likely to reach those speeds. Larger contact pins are slower - sometimes under 100 parts per minute. It gives you a running percentage yield of good parts to bad. It shows two images - one from each camera. There are a number of different tools incorporated to measure various features.
For example, we can look at length, straightness, and diameter. However, other tools can be incorporated. We can preset a quantity and the unit will stop at a preset number. You can incorporate information for process control, data logging, and lot tracking. The Vision Sorting Machine is also network interfaced so we can download to our secure network and save all the data.
Bead's Universal Vision Sorting Machine solves the quality problems that may arise with post-production plating or tumbling, and we strive for accuracy and reliability on every single contact pin we produce. Check out the video below to view the Vision Sorter firsthand.