Machine vision technology has been making advances in the food and beverage industry recently. For a long time, this industry has been a key buyer of machine vision equipment and looking back at the dawn of the vision industry, it was an early adopter of the latest technology.
Today, an increasing need for efficiency, quality, and regulatory compliance is driving further adoption of new machine vision technology. As the industry requires more robust vision solutions, camera OEMs are developing new vision systems to meet stricter demands.
Public Backlash Drives Compliance With Machine Vision
Several years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that food processors in many different segments, especially in meat and fruit, implement 100 percent track-and-trace systems for production. But many machine vision specialists claim it’s only been the past year or two since processors have been serious about full traceability.
Public backlash over E. coli outbreaks and other recalls have food processors doubling down on achieving 100 percent traceability. This is leading to investment in barcode readers, inspection systems, optical character recognition (OCR) technology, and more.
New Machine Vision Applications in Food and Beverage
Barcode reading was once the primary form of machine vision used in the food and beverage industry, the search for better traceability has increased the importance of OCR technology. These vision applications, used for date codes and product descriptions, combine character reading with pattern searches to identify characters, even on busy backgrounds.
Additionally, smart cameras are growing in use for their easy programming and sophisticated vision techniques. They can be used to inspect the hygiene of processing equipment too – a recent point of focus for food processors as they realize just how much the cleanliness of equipment impacts overall quality, and how much productivity is gained through faster equipment cleaning.
Machine vision is finding new ways to introduce quality and efficiency into the processing of food products. Adoption is growing as food manufacturers look to automation to solve their most pressing challenges.
An early adopter of vision technology, the food, and beverage industry is continuing to use the latest machine vision equipment in novel ways.
To learn more on this topic, read our feature article and take a deep dive into machine vision technology in the food and beverage industry.