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Computer Vision to Detect Foreign Objects
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org
Citation: Paper number 056015, 2005 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.19544) @2005
Authors: John Stewart
Keywords: Machine vision, foreign material, food safety
The detection of foreign objects and contaminants in food is a critical safety task.
With the level of automation at every level of food production and the rates at which food is
being produced, it is becoming increasingly more important to have systems that can
automatically detect foreign matter along the way.
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Plastic is common in the food processing industry and is used in liners, containers, disposable
gloves, food testing instruments, hearing protection, identity badges, conveyor parts, and guides
along conveyors. Plastic conveyor parts are a particular risk because they are hard and small
pieces can be created if a conveyor becomes jammed or if parts are improperly inspected.
Regular inspection of conveyor and accounting for production parts is common practice, but
pieces worn plastic parts may not be discovered until after the product has left a facility.
This paper describes a color vision system designed to find non-metallic, foreign objects larger
than 1.5mm in a processed meat stream. Many processing operations have already standardized on blue color for non-metallic objects that are present in production areas to make
those objects easier for human inspectors to see. The same blue color scheme could make an
computer vision system very practical for foreign object detection and removal. The system to
screen for blue plastic parts can be integrated into the kick-off devices used with preinstalled
metal detectors, so the system could be inexpensive to implement.