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Preventing Coal Train Derailments.

2001, installation at Leigh Creek Mine in South Australia.
The purpose - to eliminate derailments due to premature coal release in transit.
The method - measure the critical distance between two reference positions on each coal truck on a three kilometre train as they pass by the cameras at up to 25 Kph. An alarm signal was output if these measurements were greater than 10 mm .... If greater than 15 mm, potential increased for the premature opening of the coal release mechanisms and consequent derailment while in transit to Port Augusta.

In the last ten years apart from maintaining cleanliness, these cameras have required only two services - one for a physical contact and the other for a subtle vision program improvement - and in the last ten years no derailments have occured.

We at VSE are proud of this applications' operation and although we are now using far more sophisticated systems we are also confident that our more recent applications will also stand the test of time.
This application won the US Advanced Imaging Magazine's Application of the year award.

Anchor Measurements.

This example shows a solution to a measurement problem - the part has numerous areas which must each be within certain linear tolerances. Staff were spending around a minute measuring various areas of each part with a caliper, which was slowing production throughput. Subjective judgement of the parts by looking at them was not an option due to safety implications.

The images show the tools being applied by the vision system, being built up for clarity. The blue rectangles show where a caliper tool has been applied, and the green lines and numbers show where edges were found.

Tolerances were applied to each set of edges, such that a small defect would cause the part to be rejected. The system was programmed to cope with parts of any orientation and position within the image.

Fascia panel.

This system takes an image, and inspects around 35 features (graphic, type and integrity) at once, to ensure that the variant of the fascia that has been assembled matches the model required. The system can accept hundreds of variants, and saves information for QA purposes.


Structural Wedge.

VSE developed this stand-alone inspection system, which consists of a bowl feeder, chute, camera, lighting and rejection device. Wedges of different kinds are inspected for notch presence and dimensions, length, diameter and thread lead-in and presence. Statistics and images are viewable from office computers.

product inspection

Packing Inspection

This system sits above a carton packer, and checks each one for completeness and presentation. Many different products are inspected using a recipe based program, which uses brightness, colour, and pattern matching tools to verify that the correct number of products are present and not squashed into the carton. Both well aligned and jumbled products are accepted, in quantities from six up to 54.


Lolly Pops.

These pops are inspected at a rate of 10 per second for a variety of defects. The dimensions of each pop are measured at many angles, to reject mal-formed or broken pops, whilst accepting normal variations. Internal cracks are also searched for, along with voids.