BitFlow has partnered with engineering firm One Box Vision in developing the PackFlow 100% print inspection bundle that improves the way the packaging industry inspects materials printed on high-speed web presses.
Comparable in performance with vision systems costing thousands of dollars more, the PackFlow bundle features all the key components needed for a print machine manufacturer or system integrator to profit from a state-of-the-art vision system: line-scan cameras, BitFlow Axion-CL 2xE frame grabbers, software and LED illuminator. PackFlow installation optimizes a press's return on investment by performing quality checks at the full speed of the production line.
PackFlow is the first complete bundle that enables a vision inspection system to be installed on a new or in-operation printing press using standard hardware. In the past, a system integrator would use proprietary hardware that required custom coding based on machine vision libraries that typically fail when running at the high data rates associated with 100% print inspection. PackFlow eliminates that costly barrier so that packaging customers can focus CapEx resources on innovation and achieving business objectives.
Contributing to PackFlow's success is the BitFlow Axion-CL 2xE frame grabber based on the Camera Link (CL) 2.0 specification. Even though the CL specification has been around a long time, it is still one of the simplest, most efficient, and least expensive ways to get high-volume camera data into a computer. CL also benefits from the hundreds of thousands of pieces of CL equipment sold worldwide. The BitFlow Axion-CL is the most powerful CL frame grabber BitFlow has ever manufactured, featuring a StreamSync Direct Memory Access (DMA) engine and buffer manager to prevent overloading of the CPU with image transfer operations, along with a PCIe Gen 2 expansion bus to deliver high-speed access to host memory. It supports Base, Medium, Full or 80-Bit mode Camera Link area and line scan, color and monochrome cameras with PoCL capabilities.
PackFlow in action
Printing is a material-intensive and relatively low-margin industry. Printers are under continuous pressure to boost productivity and improve output quality while at the same time reducing production costs. Even a small reduction in waste levels can have a significant impact on the printer's profitability.
This was the case for a major US packaging supplier that recently approached One Box Vision with a challenge. Its older Flexo and RotaGravure printing presses were equipped with vision components that suppliers would no longer support because they deemed them obsolete. Two key performance indicators -- inspection quality and production uptime -- had slipped to critical levels, requiring a new inspection solution.
Following an equipment survey, One Box Vision recommended its PackFlow 100% print inspection bundle for the older presses, powered in part by BitFlow frame grabbers. Operations immediately benefited from more accurate monitoring of stretched films, real-time job control, and higher resolution displays of register and ink lay down. Equally important, PackFlow was deployed at only 50% of the cost of purchasing replacement components from the previous suppliers, allowing the customer to invest savings on employee training to ensure the refurbished presses were utilized to their full potential.