Advanced machine vision solutions for logistics automation

One of the presentations that went under the radar at IntraLogisteX on day one was delivered right at the end of the day by Carl Wilson, Account Manager, UK, at VistaLink, a CVX Global company.

The presentation focused on traceability and quality inspection of reusable transit packaging with advanced machine vision technology, and Carl spent five minutes with Logistics Manager afterwards to explain that machine vision – which provides imaging-based automatic inspection and analysis for various applications – has endless possibilities in the field of intralogistics, some of which are as yet untapped.

“All too often, it is assumed that AI technology is only used in the medical sector, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Carl tells Logistics Manager magazine. “Over recent years, this technology has also been used intensively by VistaLink for industrial automation projects in the automotive and logistics industry.”

For example, the need to increase customer satisfaction and cost reduction has supported a switch from one-time pallets and boxes to re-usable packaging, crates/pallets/totes/trays or so-called ‘returnable transit packaging’ (RTP). Over the course of the past five years, the usage of RTP has been growing exponentially, linked to ERP systems that follow the location of each individual RTP during the complete logistics cycle.

“Traceability became a priority for these logistics operations not only to increase supply chain efficiency but also the high value (rental deposit) of these RTPs makes them a target for theft and counterfeiting within the logistics chains,” continues Carl. “Due to high investment related to RTPs, it is crucial to have maximum utilisation with minimal rate of loss. Hence the need for quality inspection installations, to ensure long life and safe-keeping, structural integrity and cleanliness of the RTP during its lifetime.”

VistaLink is a leading expert in the field of crate identification through machine vision technology and at IntraLogisteX this week is expanding its range of standard solutions for the distribution market to six specific and modular solutions. There are three track-and-trace solutions (CrateID inbound; CrateID outbound; and CrateCheck) and three quality inspection solutions for crates, pallets and containers respectively.

Just for context, Carl illustrates an application in the F&B sector. “Plastic pool crates used for the distribution of fruit and vegetables are tracked out and back into the facility, through high-speed wash process and subsequently inspected for damage and cleanliness,” he says. “Our solutions combine 3D and Deep Learning image processing of the unique features required for traceability, confirmation they are defect and label-free while also able to differentiate true contamination from normal wear.”

VistaLink is exhibiting at IntraLogisteX on Stand 1101

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