11 Questions to Ask to about High-Speed Counting ProcessorsHow do you know when it’s time to upgrade—or outright replace—your current high-speed count verification system? Clearly, your first concern when thinking of a count verification system is count accuracy. With the sheer numbers your system is responsible for counting, do you really know if it is accurate, or if it is struggling to maintain accuracy? And is this the only question you should be asking? No.
Here is a list of issues you need to consider when questioning the integrity of your high-speed count verification system:
- Are you getting accurate counts? Yes, it’s the obvious question, and most likely the first one (you already) asked that inspired you to explore the need for a new counting system. The deeper question is: do you have a way of actually verifying the counts? Are there any built-in redundancies to your system that alert you that the counts are off? How reliable is that redundancy protocol? (Perhaps it is reliable, which brought you to question #1, but still leaves you with the problem of experiencing inaccurate counts.)
- Keeping in mind that zero-fail is the benchmark—what is the level of inaccuracy that your counting system may be at? Industry standard says detection failure, at its best, is one in 500,000. This being the top of the requirement, do you know exactly how precise/imprecise your current counts are?
- Are your count speeds below your preferred quota? For items as small as a pharmaceutical tablet, you should be able to get verified, identified counts of 500 tablets per second. Numbers may vary for different objects and industries, but if the count speed performance is lacking, it is time to investigate a better option.
- Are you having quality issues? Count verification systems can do so much more than simply count or account for missing items. Traditional systems rely on one camera, with cumbersome optics and a single-image processing computer that limits a high-speed verification system’s ability to process multiple data points at once. You need built-in redundancies, such as a multitude of cameras and single-chip processors integrated to perform complex counting with simple set up and repeatability. A robust system should have no problems with lighting over a broad range of colors.
- Do you have liability issues pending or you are concerned about that possibility regarding items packaged incorrectly? Perhaps this should have been the first question asked. If you do, then it’s clear you need to incorporate as many safeguards as possible in your counting and verification systems.
- Is your machine the right size for your facility? Given the counting task at hand, is your machine a good fit for you, literally? As businesses grow, sometime operations outgrow a space before a company’s ability to move into a larger space. Is your current set-up able to physically scale for larger duty? Or do you want to streamline operations and find a way to downsize the counting machinery while better utilizing the space you have? How flexible in configuration is your current counting machinery to do either?
- How scalable is the high-speed count verification system? We’ve addressed the physical nature of company growth—and there is also the product diversification factor to think about. Your company is growing! You’ve gone from three products to nine; 11 to 23; 120 to 300. Can your system keep up? Does it have the capacity to scale all this intel?
- Will your legacy system allow for upgrades and fit seamlessly with the rest of the fulfillment equipment? Will your upgrade be turnkey in nature: a matter of simple input into sophisticated software? Or is does it involve physical overhaul and complex reconfigurations of existing machinery? (Hint: think turnkey.)
- What amount of manual oversight does your current system need? Chances are, if you are required to provide more than minimal manual oversight to run and maintain your current count verification system, there are better, more contemporary and efficient alternatives out there for you to explore. Issues such as set up, cleaning, monitoring, and maintenance should be one-touch operations and seamlessly integrated with the overall system.
- Is your current system fully integrated? Are there any count discrepancies attributed to a design that requires multiple “daisy-chained” steps? If you are having count discrepancies, you need to fully understand where the source of the problem(s) may be coming from. If your system is not seamlessly integrated, you need to assess where the vulnerability lies and how to reconcile that within the greater system to maintain accurate counts.
- Will high-speed count verification work with my industry? If you have needs that require counting, verifying, identification, sorting, then your business is a good candidate for a system that can be tailored for your purposes.
What we can tell you is that Enginasion has had many different customers over 40 years—from diverse industries. What we do when we configure a solution is to first listen to your situation, challenges, and goals, and then pool history with the latest technologies to create new solutions with solid foundations. We can adapt and create technologies to answer your unique needs—we do it all the time.
Case in Point
We did just that with IMA North America, a large OEM packaging equipment manufacturer, that wanted to upgrade its count verification system to a better design. The goal: 100% accurate counting of tablets, capsules, soft gels, and caplets of all shapes and sizes with a flexible hardware platform that is reconfigured with the touch of a button.
Some of the finer design points of the engineering upgrade are:
- The new TruCount® machines are 39” and 16” wide—scalable to manage growth
- Built-in redundancy of 40 networked cameras replaced one camera previously tasked with covering 40” of pills dropping
- Photo diodes and detectors scan the product at nearly 2,000 times per second
The case study offers more information about this remarkable technology solution. Is the solution you need one download away? Download it now to find out.