Product Details Supplier Info More products

Surgical implant manufacturer DePuy Spine has implemented flexible part automation using a desktop robot and a Compar vision system that integrates the power of the Cognex Vision Library (CVL).

DePuy Spine produces small implants, such as screws for spinal surgery.

Previously, this kind of operation had been done manually, but with regulations growing ever stricter, it became clear that vision technology was required.

Flexible part automation using a desktop robot and a Compar vision system that integrates the power of the CVL proved more suitable and economic than fully automated in-line inspection.

Cognex partner integrator Compar developed the flexible and scalable vision solution based on the CVL.

Each implant is placed in the cell of a blister pack.

Each batch is identifiable by a code and certain nests may be empty.

The products are inspected in their individual nests by being passed through a desktop vision system.

The autonomous inspection system (AIS) consists of a two-axis desktop robot and a PC-based vision system using the CVL as a platform.

The camera is mounted on the desktop robot’s Y-axis, while the blister packs are moved along under the camera in the X-direction.

Several inspections can be conducted for each nest.

To simplify the entry of data per batch, the system is equipped with a barcode scanner.

The inspected data are compared against the set values and permissible tolerances.

If a faulty product is detected, an alarm is triggered and quality assurance personnel remove the product for manual inspection.

An added advantage of the system is that it ensures full 21 CFR part 11 compliance by tracking the results for each batch and integrating them for future reference.

With the automation of the inspection process using vision, DePuy can be sure that the results being stored for each batch are reliable.

The integration of vision in a mechanical environment allows the inspection of the whole batch in one.

It allows complete inspection that all is conforming coming out of production.

In addition, it allows 100 per cent inspection and quality control of medical implants before they are shipped around the world.

The integration of vision also enables full traceability ensuring compliance and makes a manual process more efficient.

The camera need not be exactly positioned and the results are still reliable.

Future plans for expansion of the application may include surface inspection, print layout inspection, soldering point inspection, or code reading.

The solution proposed here is easily adaptable for many other types of inspection and identification applications, according to Cognex.

Johann Faneca, production manager at DePuy Spine, said: ‘Thanks to the automated solution from Cognex and Compar we estimate a saving in time alone of more than CHF 100,000 [GBP62,800] for the first year.’

View full profile