piszczu
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Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:10 am

Hi All.

I am sorry in advance if this topic is in the wrong place.

I'm working currently for a biscuit manufacture and I have an idea how I can help my company, but my leadership team doesn't want to listen about something that is not tested. I've put a plan with my manager to create a prototype of system, but I need your advise.

Here is how the whole system should work:

We have a set on conveyors connected to eachother. Those conveyors are transporting biscuits from one side of factory to the other side. If one of conveyors is stopped, no one will know till someone will realise the is no product coming.
My idea is to put sensors above each conveyor to check if biscuits are coming. I one of the sensors won't see bisuits after a set amount of time (let's say 30 sec) it will put an alarm. If it won't see biscuits after 45 sec it will mark conveyor as not working and send an alert to manager/engineer.
It will use google cloud.

I would like to make a small prototype just to showcase that it can work in real time. And I am pretty sure they won't allow full system to be based on Raspberry Pi.

My question is: what type of sensors should we use? I mean: what type of sensors will detect if there are biscuits on constatly moving conveyor?
Or it would be easier to put a sensors on rollers to check if they are working?

Thank you,
Bart

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bensimmo
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:22 am

If you have the height, then a laser break across the conveyor will break on a biscuit, if it hasn't broken for a while then there are no biscuits.

(See supermarket tills with belts. They use them to detect an object and stop the belt).

You could use a camera if there is enough contrast to see them against the conveyor. More complicated in the programming.

Many options, a Pi is probably overkill for the laser break. An ESP83266/ESP32 based module or similar are probably cheaper and easier and can ping (MQTT for example) a server which could be a Pi to give details.

piszczu
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:31 am

Thank you for reply.

Would sensor like this work? https://www.amazon.co.uk/ELEGOO-Ultraso ... 513&sr=8-8

I was thinking that raspberry would be an overkill for this project, but I already have it at home and it will be used only in presentation.

I was talking with manager and they would provide a list of equipment that I would be allowed to use (PLC, MQTT, Google Cloud, gateway, router etc.)

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bensimmo
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:37 am

piszczu wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:31 am
Thank you for reply.

Would sensor like this work? https://www.amazon.co.uk/ELEGOO-Ultraso ... 513&sr=8-8

I was thinking that raspberry would be an overkill for this project, but I already have it at home and it will be used only in presentation.

I was talking with manager and they would provide a list of equipment that I would be allowed to use (PLC, MQTT, Google Cloud, gateway, router etc.)
That will give a distance from it.
I don't know how well they would work in your setup but biscuits are not very tall.
The only way is to test them.

Ask i've not used them a lot so don't know how they respond in general.
I would have thought it was not what you are looking for.

Heater
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:47 pm

Sounds like an ideal job for image recognition. Provided you have, or can arrange, good constant lighting at some point on the conveyor and provided there is a reasonably good contrast between biscuits and the conveyor belt.

All it would take is a Pi 4, a Pi camera and the opencv software.

As this is a "skunk works" project I would not worry about using a Raspberry Pi. Who would know? Be sure to provide a decent enclosure to protect it from life in a factory. Plenty of Pi are used in such situations, including inside the factory that makes the Pi!

You will need to a do a bit of programming to get this working. Nothing very complicated as it turns out and in the Python language which is dead easy to get started with.

This simple image recognition does not even need complex Artificial Intelligence it can be done with the basic features provided by OpenCV.

If you want to see how simple it can be check out this series by the excellent teacher Paul McWhorter : AI on the Jetson Nano https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... ERFFPkOuP4_

Despite it's title in the first 27 parts of the series there is nothing we would call Artificial Inteligence presented yet. He has done a lot to show what you can do easily with opencv. You can ignore all the Jetson Nano specific parts and just take away what you need for OpenCV which will run the same on the Pi all be it slower. The Jetson Nano uses the Pi camera so the video capture stuff will work.

Of course, with that job done and under your belt you might find a ton of other applications for image analysis in your factory, Perhaps even graduating to the AI stuff that one can do on devices like the Jetson Nano.

I would not say a Pi 4 was over kill for this. Not when you consider you will want a display to check the biscuit detection is working properly, networking to get the alarm out and so on.

Sounds like a fun project to me.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

piszczu
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 1:11 pm

Biscuits are not tall, but they are coming in "piles".
Here is a picture of how it look like https://imgur.com/ASQZc2s

As you can see there might be a problem with constant light. Plus the conveyors are around 400m long. They are devided into smaller section and each of this section need to be checked.

My manager sugested using raspberry pi as the core for this project, but engineers said they cannot provide power source suitable for it. (Smell like BS. They probably have no idea about Pi and they don't want to have anything to do with it).

Overall idea is: sensors need to check if biscuits are on the conveyor, check the time for them to go from 1 conveyor to the next one. Display all data in real time, send alerts to mobile phones when any of them stop and sound an alarm if any conveyor stopped / slowed down.


PS. I finished IT school (8 years ago), but we bearly had any programming lessons as we lost one year because of my drunk teacher. I learn some basic programming (Pascal etc.) and now I am trying to learn C# to make games. I agreed to do this project because I know it will help me to learn a lot faster.

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bensimmo
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 3:19 pm

If you are learning, have a play trying the sensors out. They don't' cost a lot.
If you stick to Python3 for testing, you can have most the code done in next to no time as they are in the education/Project section.

Beam Break style
https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/pro ... r-tripwire

Ultrasonic device
https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/pro ... c-theremin

piszczu
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:01 pm

Thanks a lot!

I will try to start with theremin as it seems a lot like something I could quicky adapt to my project :)

LTolledo
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:42 pm

For the sensors to integrate with your project.... may I recommend a pair of industrial grade diffused photo reflective sensors

sensor1 will check if there is something on the conveyor
start a timer (in the program)

sensor2 (located a few distance from sensor1) will check the presence or absence in the conveyor again
in the program, calculate the speed using the distance and the time sersor1 and sensor2 senses something...

you may have to use some interface to adapt the singal to 3.3v level, as those industrial sensors are usually 24v
or you may select some sensors that use "dry contact" as output (there are available and I have used them)

hope this helps...
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JohnsUPS
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:13 pm

Here is another idea -
Because the biscuits are on a V grooved conveyor belt (going by the pic that was posted), doing a make-break beam type of sensor would appear to be difficult to implement, as going straight across the conveyor does not appear to be an option.

If I were to attempt this, I would experiment with an ultrasonic measuring device above the conveyor. Other types of distance sensors could be used here as well. You may need to experiment to find one that would be suitable for your environment.

The idea would be to constantly measure the distance between the ultrasonic and the biscuits. If the conveyor is moving, then you would receive constantly varying distance values as the mounds of biscuits pass by. If the distance values stop varying, then you know that the conveyor has either stopped or there is a break in the biscuit flow. Software could be tweaked to compensate for "blank spots" on the conveyor (if that ever happens). The distance sensor would also be able to tell you if the conveyor has simply stopped (reading a distance that would include biscuit height) or if there is a break in the flow (a constant reading equal to the distance to the bottom of the conveyor).

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mikronauts
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Sun Mar 08, 2020 11:52 pm

kiss principle:

sense the rotation of rollers driving the conveyor instead, either optically or hall effect sensor + magnet.


piszczu wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:10 am
Hi All.

I am sorry in advance if this topic is in the wrong place.

I'm working currently for a biscuit manufacture and I have an idea how I can help my company, but my leadership team doesn't want to listen about something that is not tested. I've put a plan with my manager to create a prototype of system, but I need your advise.

Here is how the whole system should work:

We have a set on conveyors connected to eachother. Those conveyors are transporting biscuits from one side of factory to the other side. If one of conveyors is stopped, no one will know till someone will realise the is no product coming.
My idea is to put sensors above each conveyor to check if biscuits are coming. I one of the sensors won't see bisuits after a set amount of time (let's say 30 sec) it will put an alarm. If it won't see biscuits after 45 sec it will mark conveyor as not working and send an alert to manager/engineer.
It will use google cloud.

I would like to make a small prototype just to showcase that it can work in real time. And I am pretty sure they won't allow full system to be based on Raspberry Pi.

My question is: what type of sensors should we use? I mean: what type of sensors will detect if there are biscuits on constatly moving conveyor?
Or it would be easier to put a sensors on rollers to check if they are working?

Thank you,
Bart
http://Mikronauts.com - home of EZasPi, RoboPi, Pi Rtc Dio and Pi Jumper @Mikronauts on Twitter
Advanced Robotics, I/O expansion and prototyping boards for the Raspberry Pi

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bensimmo
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:20 am

I thought of that, but then how would it know if there are biscuits on the conveyor or not?
It could still be moving, but not have biscuits on it. It would be fine for just conveyor movement.

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mikronauts
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:15 pm

in your original post you wanted to know if the conveyor stopped
bensimmo wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 8:20 am
I thought of that, but then how would it know if there are biscuits on the conveyor or not?
It could still be moving, but not have biscuits on it. It would be fine for just conveyor movement.
http://Mikronauts.com - home of EZasPi, RoboPi, Pi Rtc Dio and Pi Jumper @Mikronauts on Twitter
Advanced Robotics, I/O expansion and prototyping boards for the Raspberry Pi

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bensimmo
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:11 am

No me, but if that's what is meant then yes much easier.
I read it as meaning part of the process stopped (not just the belt system). So a jam somewhere with no biscuits coming.

Go for it :-)
Could just measure current to the motor or belt system, that should change on load/no load.

turbz
Posts: 14
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:14 pm

Hi there

If you have a PLC you can use this
https://www.robotshop.com/en/terabee-in ... -125m.html
out of the box to count/detect biscuits and get an alarm when there is no movement. The sensor is smart meaning it has a microcontroller inside and embedded software/operating modes


If you want to use Raspberry Pi, all other products of the same producer( Evo sensors) are compatible: Evo 3m, Evo 64px or Evo 60m can be a good fit and cheaper too. link to producer website
https://www.terabee.com/shop/3d-tof-cam ... -evo-64px/
(you should spare some money)


one final advice, you should get USB variants for plug and play super quick tests.

piszczu
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Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Sensors for system at work

Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:04 pm

Many thanks to all of you.

I also proposed sensor on the roller, but then manager told me that once the belt slipped, so rollers were still moving, but biscuits were going on the floor.

This project will be only prototype so I will use ultrasonic sensors (HC SR04) to check distansce (as proposed by JohnsUPS). In full size project we won't use Raspberry Pi and this sensor as they need to be approved for food manufacture.

I've done that theremin project as sugested by bensimmo.

Now I need to, somehow, send data to the google cloud and save it there. Then I would need to create a website to display all data.

deepo
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Re: Sensors for system at work

Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:06 pm

piszczu wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:04 pm
Many thanks to all of you.

I also proposed sensor on the roller, but then manager told me that once the belt slipped, so rollers were still moving, but biscuits were going on the floor.

This project will be only prototype so I will use ultrasonic sensors (HC SR04) to check distansce (as proposed by JohnsUPS). In full size project we won't use Raspberry Pi and this sensor as they need to be approved for food manufacture.

I've done that theremin project as sugested by bensimmo.

Now I need to, somehow, send data to the google cloud and save it there. Then I would need to create a website to display all data.
Maybe this link can help you with Google Cloud:
https://www.hackster.io/ruchir1674/how- ... ypi-151ea2

/Mogens

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