Finding the Root Cause of Defects in Tortilla Chip Production
How over-line vision inspection technology helps manage product quality at critical stages of the production process
A major snack food company was receiving customer complaints about one of their tortilla chip products, and due to the randomness of the defects, and the speed of the production line (over 100 objects per second), it was impossible to determine how to correct this problem.
The key element that was needed to find this defect was an inspection system that could measure 100% of the produced chips, directly over the oven band (since after this point the chips were ‘piled together’ in a smaller conveyor and it was no longer possible to inspect them). The inspection system would need to measure all of the core size/shape/color attributes, but would also need to identify and track all of the product-specific defects that occur with this product.
Collect real-time product quality and defect data directly over line
Analyze defect data to determine how/when/why defects occur
Identify root cause and action items to eliminate defects
An over-line vision inspection system proved to be the best option for the company.
The over-line system could be installed immediately after the oven, measuring products directly over the oven band. Each individual chip was measured, and a set of user-defined defect definitions was also created so that the system could quantify the number of defects by lane, by type and by time. All data was displayed to operators and stored in a database for easy extraction at any time.
Analysis of vision inspection data revealed several key issues:
Defective products came in “waves”
A disproportionate amount of defective products originated in two of the product lanes
Using the historical data, the customer was able to determine that a large portion of defects originated in 2 of the lanes, and occurred with a predictable time pattern.
With this information, the customer was able to dramatically reduce the defects by finding a solution to the issue in the 2 worst lanes. In fact, based on this data, the customer was able to reduce overall defects by 27%.
Over-line vision inspection technologies from KPM Analytics utilize a compact sensor head mounted directly over an existing production line to scan every object that passes underneath, in any orientation, and any belt speed. This technology generates a continuous stream of critical quality assurance data such as size, shape, and color attributes, and production metrics such as throughput, uptime, and capacity.