How SICK sensors utilize OCR technology to ensure quality and safety

How do you maintain quality and safety for consumers and manufacturers? If you said traceability in the supply chain, then you are correct! With high performance OCR technology, companies are now able to increase supply chain traceability quickly and efficiently. This revolutionary technology utilizes deep learning to automate the inspection of barcodes, labels, and text on products and packages.

You may be thinking, ‘OCR is too complicated to setup and use’…but we promise it’s not! Solutions from SICK are suitable for complex label inspection, but they are incredibly easy to use. But before we get into the specific products, let’s get some background on the technology.

What is High Performance OCR?

High performance OCR is a type of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology that uses machine learning to recognize text from digital images. It is an advanced form of OCR technology that utilizes powerful algorithms and deep learning technology to accurately recognize text in digital images. High performance OCR can recognize text in various fonts, sizes, and angles, and can be used to process large amounts of data quickly and accurately.

The OCR technology is powered by advanced algorithms that are specifically trained to detect and read text reliably, including handwritten information and symbols. This technology can be used to extract product information from labels and confirm that the product is accurately labeled, making it easy to track products throughout the supply chain.

In addition, OCR technology offers powerful features such as enhanced accuracy and speed, allowing companies to inspect products easily and quickly with high accuracy. With this technology, companies can quickly capture data from product labels and barcodes and verify their accuracy. This provides an efficient and cost-effective way to increase traceability in the supply chain.

SICK Label Checker for OCR

SICK's vision sensors use OCR to recognize characters in images. One example of this is the Label Checker, a multifunctional and easy-to-set compact quality control system designed for various label inspections, with a primary focus on optical character recognition. The system improves productivity by performing multiple inspections simultaneously and ensures high quality output.

The sensor has numerous advanced tools, so it is not limited to just reading and verifying printed texts, barcodes, and 2D codes, but also checking the correct label position, presence of pictograms, and print quality. Moreover, Label Checker offers image filters and other features such as overlapping characters segmentation and image calibration that ensure reliable operation, even in challenging applications.

The Label Checker has high performance OCR and verification for the reading and inspection of production dates, batch numbers, and more. Robust algorithms convert printed text into a digital form to verify its correctness. The Label Checker locates, reads, and validates bar codes/2D codes within a defined area. It verifies the correct numerical sequence, checks the quality, and the position of codes. The shape locator feature tackles changing label positions. It searches for reference shapes to locate the label in any position. The Label Checker also offers a reading function with a 360-degree rotation. In addition, users can choose from a wide range of font packages or create and add individual font sets. The system is even able to read exotic fonts and symbols.

Lector Vision for OCR Applications

In addition, the SICK Lector series of vision sensors also feature OCR technology, which enables it to read text in various sizes and angles. Lector OCR image-based code readers are the ideal solution for reading and identifying printed plain text in packaging applications. It reads best-before dates and batch numbers on packaging and identifies all common 1D and 2D codes at the same time.

With integrated red and blue lighting, it guarantees that the reading field is always illuminated optimally, regardless of contrast setting. The code reader is capable of capturing characters and numbers in plain text at intervals of between 30 mm and 300 mm. This can be achieved for both stationary and moving objects at speeds of up to 4.0 m/s. The integrated font finder ensures that the plain text can be read and compared safely even where there are tolerances in the print on packages.

A user-friendly wizard helps with the teaching-in of fonts. Since the code reader also features an integrated web server, no special software is required for the teaching-in or training of characters and numbers. For applications in which more than one code reader is performing the same function, fonts can quickly be copied from one device to any number of others via PC or with a micro-SD card.

New font types and font styles can even be taught in when the Lector is in operation. This flexibility is combined with highly reliable reading achieved using intelligent decoding algorithms which are also able to evaluate the quality of the code read. This helps users to trace back problems to the source, even if they are not experts, and subsequently to resolve them without any external assistance.

Track and Trace Systems with OCR

Track and trace systems from SICK reliably identify and decode all common types of codes, including OCR. The type of camera (fixed or dynamic focus), the number of cameras, and the camera alignment are individually tailored to the application – from reading just the top side of packages to 5-sided reading.

The Lector65x System is one such example that can be combined with other technologies such as ICR line-scanning cameras, volume measurement systems, laser-based code readers, or weigh scales.

OCR Light runs directly on the Line Camera, which means that no additional hardware is required, the images do not have to be sent to a server. Another advantage is that there is no need to cooperate with a third-party provider and thus barcode reading as well as OCR Light can be offered to the customer directly from one source, which leads to cost reduction as well as time savings.

Delivering Increased Supply Chain Traceability

SICK products are the perfect solution for companies looking to increase supply chain traceability. These OCR products utilize cutting-edge technology to accurately read and verify text, labels, and barcodes. The technology can quickly capture data from products and packages, allowing companies to track their products quickly and reliably throughout the supply chain. With these powerful OCR products, companies can ensure product accuracy and safety while quickly and efficiently increasing traceability in the supply chain.