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Small Optical Sensor Solves Big Production Line Issues


For several years this particular company has been using a semi-automated process for their product assembly. An internal goal was move towards a fully automated process to speed up production, eliminate errors, and reduce the amount of human inspection.

The Problem

Each medical cartridge in the nest must contain only one bead of blood. What was happening is the cartridge would get by with no bead in it or more than one. All of these beads are forced down a tube by air.

Due to the speed at which the bead moving, it was often missed. In other situations the sensor would detect a bead but not recognize that there is more than one in the slot.

In order to help prevent this several operators would have to inspect these 100+ stations to help catch these errors. This was a very costly procedure and due to human error often-improper cartridges got by.

The Solution

The KEYENCE FS-V30 series solved the problem.

By using this in high-speed mode with 33us response time they were able to detect almost 100% of the beads coming by. The speed was no longer an issue in detecting the bead.

Secondly, they were able to utilize the dual output model to detect double fed beads. Writing a simple PLC program allowed them to detect the bead, and determine if it was double fed

The Results

The FS-V30 series solved all three of their issues. They now run a fully automated process. Production speed has increased with the sensor ability to detect the air forced bead. Operators are now able to spend their time on other areas of the process. Since the first system has been completed a second system is in the process of being built. Finally, other old stations have been retro-fitted to run on this new setup.


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