High-Speed Laser Line Profiling

Online Editor

Chris Hooper presents a case study showing how accurate and reliable dimensional measurement of packages in motion can be achieved.

Engineering Innovation, Inc. (Eii) offers automation solutions for letters and parcels across a wide variety of environments. With years of experience in site-specific process evaluations, the company helps clients to optimise throughput and destination accuracy. Larger parcel automation solutions, such as the Chameleon parcel processing solution, fully automate the parcel processing operations. This high-speed process includes the weighing, scanning, label application, sorting,
as well as dimensioning of a package– thousands of times per hour. The goal of this application is to accurately and reliably measure the dimensions of packages in motion.

The Challenge

More and more mail shippers are requiring not only weight measurements of packages, but also dimensional measurements as well. For this application, the customer required a method of capturing the height, width and length data of packages running on a moving conveyor belt. The accuracy of these dimensional measurements had to be within 0.25in. The package types being measured are as follows: cardboard boxes, padded envelopes and polybags.

In addition, this particular dimensioning solution had to work on a Chameleon machine that is capable of processing between 1,200-4,000 pieces per hour. Furthermore, for the dimensioning solution to be viable, any safety measures required for operation had to be easy to address.

The sizes of the packages in this application vary as follows: minimum size of 6inL x 4inW x 0.75inH; maximum size of 19inL x 14inW x 9inH.

The Solution

The LMI Gocator 2180 3D laser line profile sensor was installed and integrated in a larger package processing machine. As part of this machine, the Gocator sensor scans and measures all of the varying package types within the desired accuracy and repeatability requirements.

The Gocator 2180 is able to measure packages at an accuracy within +/-0.25in  tolerance for all dimensions (L, W, H) while processing between 1,200-4,000 pieces per hour. Eii was also able to safely mount and house the laser-based product in such a way as not to impact the performance of the machine, while still providing maintenance personnel easy access whenever needed. 

“After testing various devices in the past, we found that the Gocator meets our standards and provides accurate results to our customers. By using the smart 3D laser line profilers, we are able to accurately measure packages in motion. The device allows us to report dimensions with accuracy at +/- 0.25in,” says Michaela Kiritsis, electrical engineer at Eii.

The Results

On one machine during a busy production run of around 30 days (starting during “black Friday” and ending on Christmas Eve), the customer was able to process over one million packages using the dimensioning system, with the LMI Gocator 2180 laser profiler providing accurate dimensional measurements for each one.

As shippers continue to implement additional requirements for gathering dimensional data, more and more mail sorting machines are going to require a dimensioner to continue automating mail and parcel processing.

Chris Hooper is with LMI Technologies

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