WO2016155848A1 - Device and method for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine - Google Patents

Device and method for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2016155848A1
WO2016155848A1 PCT/EP2015/069821 EP2015069821W WO2016155848A1 WO 2016155848 A1 WO2016155848 A1 WO 2016155848A1 EP 2015069821 W EP2015069821 W EP 2015069821W WO 2016155848 A1 WO2016155848 A1 WO 2016155848A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
containers
electromagnetic radiation
regions
emission
rotation
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP2015/069821
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Nicola Schinelli
Original Assignee
P.E. Labellers S.P.A.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to ITVR20150047 priority Critical
Priority to ITVR2015A000047 priority
Application filed by P.E. Labellers S.P.A. filed Critical P.E. Labellers S.P.A.
Publication of WO2016155848A1 publication Critical patent/WO2016155848A1/en

Links

Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65CLABELLING OR TAGGING MACHINES, APPARATUS, OR PROCESSES
    • B65C9/00Details of labelling machines or apparatus
    • B65C9/06Devices for presenting articles in predetermined attitude or position at labelling station
    • B65C9/067Devices for presenting articles in predetermined attitude or position at labelling station for orienting articles having irregularities, e.g. holes, spots or markings, e.g. labels or imprints, the irregularities or markings being detected
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N21/00Investigating or analysing materials by the use of optical means, i.e. using infra-red, visible or ultra-violet light
    • G01N21/84Systems specially adapted for particular applications
    • G01N21/88Investigating the presence of flaws or contamination
    • G01N21/90Investigating the presence of flaws or contamination in a container or its contents
    • G01N21/9009Non-optical constructional details affecting optical inspection, e.g. cleaning mechanisms for optical parts, vibration reduction
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01NINVESTIGATING OR ANALYSING MATERIALS BY DETERMINING THEIR CHEMICAL OR PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
    • G01N21/00Investigating or analysing materials by the use of optical means, i.e. using infra-red, visible or ultra-violet light
    • G01N21/84Systems specially adapted for particular applications
    • G01N21/88Investigating the presence of flaws or contamination
    • G01N21/90Investigating the presence of flaws or contamination in a container or its contents
    • G01N21/9045Inspection of ornamented or stippled container walls

Abstract

A device for automatically orienting containers (3) entering a labeling machine, which comprises a conveyor (2) for feeding containers (3) which is provided with means (5) of rotation of the containers (3) about its own axis, at least one device (6) for emitting electromagnetic radiation which is provided with an emitting surface which is provided with regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission, means (8) for detecting the electromagnetic radiation reflected by the containers (3) and processing and control means adapted to identify, on the basis of the reflected electromagnetic radiation detected by the detection means (8), the position of at least one flash line (4) on the containers (3), such regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission being arranged so that, during an angular portion of the rotation of the containers (3), at least one point of at least one flash line (4) is struck by electromagnetic radiation originating from a boundary region (7c) between the aforementioned regions (7a, 7b).

Description

DEVICE AND METHOD FOR AUTOMATICALLY ORIENTING CONTAINERS ENTERING A LABELING MACHINE

The present invention relates to a device and a method for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine.

As is known, containers, such as bottles or vials, made of plastic material or glass, are produced by molding.

Owing to such production technique, the containers have, at the regions where the mold dies meet, a pair of longitudinal flash lines that extend substantially parallel to their axis and which are more or less evident according to the quality of the molding.

In the labeling of containers the need is felt to avoid applying the labels by superimposing them on the regions where the flash lines are.

In order to try to solve this problem, devices have been conceived for automatically orienting the containers, arranged upstream of the labeling machines, which are based on the use of optical apparatuses but which have been found to not be fully satisfactory in carrying out the identification of the position of the flash lines on the containers, especially if these are insufficiently visible.

In particular a device is known for automatically orienting containers which is provided with a lamp, which faces towards containers moved by a carousel, and with a video camera which is also arranged facing towards the containers.

The lamp is provided with a screen which is illuminated so as to create an alternation of luminous bands, vertical and thus parallel to the axis of the containers and to the flash lines, which are interspersed by dark, i.e. non-luminous, bands.

The containers are made to rotate about their axis while they pass in front of the lamp and the video camera.

During the transit of the containers the video camera acquires various images of the containers. When the containers are located, during their rotation about the corresponding axes, in an angular position in which their heat-sealing lines are substantially in front of a boundary region between the luminous bands and the dark bands of the lamp, so as to be struck by the light originating from such regions, the heat-sealing lines will appear clearly in the images acquired by the video camera.

But if, when the video camera acquires an image, the heat-sealing lines are in front of and thus in line with the luminous bands or the dark bands of the lamp, the heat-sealing lines are not visible in the image acquired by the video camera.

Therefore, it will not always be possible to identify the position of the heat-sealing lines from the images acquired by the video camera.

The aim of the present invention is to provide a device and a method for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine, which makes it possible, automatically, to carry out, in any situation, the correct identification of the position of the flash lines on containers to be labeled and as a consequence carry out the positioning of the containers, prior to feeding them to a labeling machine, so that the labeling machine can apply the labels on the containers without superimposing them on the flash lines.

Within this aim an object of the invention is to provide a device for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine which is capable of identifying the position of the flash lines, even if they are not easily visible.

Another object of the invention is to provide a device for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine which is easily and practically implemented, so as to be low cost.

This aim and these and other objects which will become better apparent hereinafter are achieved by the device for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine, according to the invention, as defined in the appended claims. Further characteristics and advantages will become better apparent from the description of some preferred, but not exclusive, embodiments of the device according to the invention, which are illustrated by way of non- limiting example in the accompanying drawings wherein:

Figure 1 is a schematic perspective view of a device according to the invention;

Figure 2 is a schematic view from above of the device according to the invention;

Figure 3 is a schematic side elevation view of the device according to the invention;

Figure 4 is a schematic view of a portion of the device according to the invention in order to highlight its operation.

With reference to the figures, the device for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine, according to the invention, generally designated with the reference numeral 1, comprises a conveyor 2 for feeding containers 3 to be labeled, which is, conveniently, intended to convey the containers 3 to a labeling machine, not shown, and can be, for example, constituted by a carousel 2a.

In particular, on each container 3 there is at least one pair of longitudinal flash lines 4, which extend, on mutually opposite sides, substantially parallel to the axis of the containers 3.

Each one of the containers 3 is moved in rotation, about its own axis, by rotation means 5, which can, for example, be constituted by pans 5a, which are supported rotatably by the carousel 2a and are designed to receive a respective container 3 resting thereon.

The device according to the invention comprises, further, at least one emitter device 6 which is adapted to emit electromagnetic radiation toward the containers 3 and is provided with at least one emitting surface which is provided with regions 7a, 7b having different electromagnetic radiation emission. In particular, the regions 7a, 7b emit electromagnetic radiation of different intensity.

The electromagnetic radiation emitted by the emitter device 6 by way of its emitting surface comprises, advantageously, infrared radiation. However, there is no reason why the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the emitter device 6 cannot be constituted by, or in any case cannot comprise, visible radiation and/or ultraviolet radiation.

The electromagnetic radiation emitted by the emitter device 6 which is reflected by the containers 3 is, at least partially, detected by way of detection means 8, which are functionally connected to processing and control means, which are capable of identifying, on the basis of the reflected electromagnetic radiation detected by the detection means 8, the position of at least one of the flash lines 4 which are present on each of the containers 3.

The processing and control means are, further, adapted to actuate the rotation means 5 in order to move each one of the containers 3 to a preset angular position as a function of the identified position of the corresponding flash lines 4.

According to the invention, the regions 7a, 7b having different electromagnetic radiation emission than the emitter device 6 are arranged so that in any angular position assumed by the containers along at least one angular portion of their rotation about the corresponding axes, at least one point 4a of at least one of the flash lines 4 is struck by electromagnetic radiation originating from at least one boundary region 7c between the regions 7a, 7b having different electromagnetic radiation emission.

Preferably, the regions 7a, 7b having different electromagnetic radiation emission than the emitter device 6 are shaped according to bands that are substantially mutually parallel and are inclined with respect to the axis of the containers 3, i.e. not parallel to the heat-sealing lines 4.

In this manner, as can easily be intuited from Figure 4, with such arrangement of the regions 7a, 7b it is possible to ensure that, in any position assumed by the containers 3 along at least one angular portion of their rotation about the corresponding axes imparted by the rotation means 5, one or more points 4a of at least one of the flash lines 4 of each of the containers 3 is capable of receiving the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the emitter device 6 at border regions 7c between the different regions 7a and 7b and of reflecting them so that they are detected by the detection means 8.

In fact, as Figure 4 also shows, if one imagines projecting a flash line 4 of one of the containers 3 onto the emitting surface of the emitter device 6, then, even though the position of such flash line 4 varies during the rotation of the corresponding container 3 about its axis, the flash line 4 still continues to intersect, for at least an angular portion of the rotation of the corresponding container 3, at one or more points 4a, one or more boundary regions 7c between two regions 7a and 7b having different electromagnetic radiation emission and, consequently, in any angular position assumed by each container 3 along such angular portion, there will always be one or more points 4a of the flash line 4 which will be struck by the electromagnetic radiation originating from the boundary regions 7c between the different regions 7a and 7b.

Conveniently, the angle of inclination, with respect to the axis of the containers 3, of the bands that provide the regions 7a, 7b can be substantially comprised between 10° and 80°, preferably between 30° and 60° and, more preferably, it is substantially equal to 45°.

Alternatively, there is no reason why the regions 7a and 7b cannot also have other shape structures or arrangements. For example, the regions 7a can be shaped according to geometric figures delimited by closed lines, such as squares, rectangles, circles and so on, which are mutually arranged in one or more rows along directions that are inclined with respect to the axis of the containers 3, while the regions 7b are arranged between the rows of regions 7a. According to another possible example, the regions 7a, 7b can also be arranged in a checkerboard pattern.

It should be noted that the emitter device 6 and the detection means 8 are, advantageously, arranged on the same side with respect to the axis of the containers 3 and, in particular, as in the example shown in the figures, they are both arranged laterally to the peripheral region of the carousel 2a.

In particular, the carousel 2a receives, conveniently, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the emission means 6, along at least one preset portion of its extension.

During the advancement movement made by the containers 3 along such portion of the carousel 2a, the rotation means 5 perform, conveniently, at least one complete rotation of each of the containers 3.

Preferably, the regions 7a and 7b having different electromagnetic radiation emission than the emitter device 6 comprise a plurality of electromagnetic radiation emission regions 9a which are substantially parallel and alternated with regions having substantially no emission 9b.

In particular, the emitter device 6 comprises, conveniently, at least one lamp 6a, preferably an infrared lamp, which constitutes the source of the electromagnetic radiation.

According to a possible embodiment, the lamp 6a is provided with a plurality of LEDs, in particular infrared LEDs, which can be activated selectively or can be adjusted in terms of intensity of emission, so that, for example, they can be individually switched on or off.

Conveniently, the LEDs of the lamp 6a are arranged in a grid on a surface that constitutes an emitter screen of the lamp 6a.

In this case, the regions 9a of emission of electromagnetic radiation and the regions having substantially no emission 9b can be obtained by selectively switching on some LEDs of the lamp 6a and keeping the other LEDs switched off. More specifically, it is thus possible to obtain, on the emitter screen of the lamp 6a, bands of LEDs which are switched on, which form the regions 9a, and bands of LEDs which are switched off, which form the regions 9b, such bands being mutually parallel and alternating and being inclined with respect to the axis of the containers 3.

According to a different embodiment, the regions 7a, 7b having different electromagnetic radiation emission than the emitter device 6 are obtained by providing, on the emitting surface of the emitter device 6, regions having different transmittance of electromagnetic radiation.

More specifically, such regions having different transmittance comprise, conveniently, a plurality of substantially transparent or translucent regions which are substantially parallel and alternated with opaque regions.

In this case, it is possible, for example, to interpose an opaque screen between the lamp 6a and the containers 3, which is provided with openings which make it possible to provide the aforementioned substantially transparent or translucent regions.

Preferably, the detection means 8 comprise a video camera, advantageously a video camera whose visual spectrum also comprises infrared, which is connected to the processing and control means.

In particular, the processing and control means have, advantageously, memory means which is loaded in advance with a dimensional parametrization, according to coordinates of the x-y type, of the surface of the containers 3.

Operation of the device according to the invention is the following. The containers 3 positioned on the carousel 2a are made to advance so as to bring them in front of the emitter device 6.

In particular, the emitter device 6 is activated so that on its emitting surface there are regions 7a and 7b having different electromagnetic radiation emission and, more specifically, regions 9a having emission of electromagnetic radiation and regions 9b having substantially no emission, which are shaped according to bands which are mutually parallel and alternating and are inclined with respect to the axis of the containers 3 in transit on the carousel 2a, through an angle substantially comprised substantially between 10° and 80°, preferably between 30° and 60° and, more preferably, equal to 45°.

During their advancement on the carousel 2 a, the containers 3 are made to rotate by the rotation means 5 about their axes, so as to perform at least one complete rotation within a preset portion of their advancement path on the carousel 2a, such portion being comprised within the portion of the carousel 2a which is affected by the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the emitter device 6.

The electromagnetic radiation emitted by the emitter device 6 and reflected by the containers 3 is detected by the detection means 8 and, more specifically, by the video camera.

The images acquired by the video camera are sent to the processing and control means, which determine, on the basis of a parametrization of the surface of the containers 3, the position of at least one of the flash lines 4 correlated with the angular position of the individual container.

At this point, the processing and control means, once the position of the flash lines 4 has thus been identified on each of the containers 3, command the rotation means 5 so that these can impart an optional rotation to each of the containers 3 in order to bring them to a respective preset angular position as a function of the identified position of the corresponding flash line or flash lines 4, so that the containers 3 are fed to the labeling machine in a correct position which avoids the superimposition of the labels on the flash lines 4.

Delving deeper into the details, the electromagnetic signal originating from the flash lines 4 of the containers 3 is detected by the video camera on a surface of the container 3 which is in its field of view.

Such surface has been loaded in advance, in dimensionally parametrized form according to coordinates of the x-y type, into the memory means associated with the processing and control means. By comparing the signal that arrives from the video camera with the angular position reached by the container 3 at that instant, the processing and control means calculate the exact position of the flash lines 4 with respect to the starting angular position of the rotation of the container 3.

At this point, on the basis of the finishing angular position of the programmed rotation of the container 3, the processing and control means calculate the angular correction to be executed by way of the rotation means 5 in order to move the container 3 to the desired angular position.

Once thus positioned, the container 3 can be transferred to the labeling machine, which will apply the labels thereon without these being superimposed on the flash lines 4.

From the foregoing description it is clear that the invention is capable of fully achieving the set aim in that it makes it possible to correctly orient the containers fed to a labeling machine while preventing the labels from being applied superimposed on the flash lines which are present on the containers.

This is thanks to the fact that, differently from the known art, at least one flash line of the containers is, even locally with one or more of its points, in front of boundary regions between the regions having different electromagnetic radiation emission of the emitter device, i.e. in the optimal condition for being struck by the electromagnetic radiation emitted by such boundary regions, in a plurality of consecutive angular positions assumed by the corresponding container along a substantial angular portion of the rotation of the container about its own axis and not only in one specific angular position of the container.

All the characteristics of the invention, indicated above as advantageous, convenient or similar, may also be missing or be substituted by equivalent characteristics.

The individual characteristics set out in reference to general teachings or to specific embodiments may all be present in other embodiments or may substitute characteristics in such embodiments.

The invention, thus conceived, is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims.

In practice the materials employed, provided they are compatible with the specific use, and the dimensions and shapes, may be any according to requirements.

Moreover, all the details may be substituted by other, technically equivalent elements.

The disclosures in Italian Patent Application No. VR2015A000047 from which this application claims priority are incorporated herein by reference.

Where technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference signs, those reference signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly, such reference signs do not have any limiting effect on the interpretation of each element identified by way of example by such reference signs.

Claims

1. A device for automatically orienting containers (3) entering a labeling machine, which comprises:
- a conveyor (2) for feeding containers (3) to be labeled, each having at least one pair of longitudinal flash lines (4) which are substantially parallel to the axis of said containers (3);
- rotation means (5) adapted to turn each one of said containers (3) about its own axis;
- at least one emitter device (6), adapted to emit electromagnetic radiation toward said containers (3) and provided with at least one emitting surface which is provided with regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission;
- means (8) for detecting the electromagnetic radiation reflected by said containers; and
- processing and control means adapted to identify, on the basis of the reflected electromagnetic radiation detected by said detection means (8), the position of at least one of said flash lines (4) on each one of said containers (3) and to actuate said rotation means in order to move each one of said containers (3) to a preset position as a function of the identified position of the corresponding flash lines (4);
characterized in that said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission are arranged so that, in any angular position assumed by said containers (3) along at least one angular portion of their rotation about the corresponding axes, at least one point of at least one of said flash lines (4) is struck by electromagnetic radiation originating from at least one boundary region (7c) between said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission.
2. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission are shaped according to bands that are substantially mutually parallel and are inclined with respect to the axis of said containers (3).
3. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one emitter device and said detection means are arranged on the same side with respect to the axis of said containers.
4. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission comprise regions having different radiation intensity.
5. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission comprise a plurality of electromagnetic radiation emission regions (9a) which are substantially parallel and alternated with regions having substantially no emission (9b).
6. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission comprise regions having different transmittance which are defined on said emitting surface.
7. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said regions having different transmittance comprise a plurality of substantially transparent or translucent regions which are substantially parallel and alternated with opaque regions.
8. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said electromagnetic radiation comprises infrared radiation.
9. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said detection means (8) comprise a video camera.
10. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one emitter device (6) comprises at least one lamp.
11. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said lamp comprises a plurality of infrared LEDs which can be activated selectively.
12. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that an opaque screen is interposed between said lamp and said containers and has defined openings which are adapted to provide said substantially transparent or translucent emission regions.
13. The device according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said feeder conveyor (2) comprises a carousel (2a) which is intended to receive, along at least a circular arc of its extension, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by said emission means (6), said rotation means (5) being adapted to provide at least one complete rotation of each one of said containers (3) along a portion of the path of said carousel (2a) which is comprised in said circular arc.
14. A method for automatically orienting containers (3) to be labeled entering a labeling machine, each one of said containers (3) to be labeled having at least one pair of longitudinal flash lines (4) which are substantially parallel to the axis of said containers (3), said method comprising the steps of:
- turning each one of said containers (3) about the corresponding axis; - sending onto each one of said containers (3) electromagnetic radiation by way of at least one emitter device (6) which has at least one emitting surface which is provided with regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission;
- detecting, by way of detection means (8), the electromagnetic radiation reflected by each one of said containers (3);
- identifying, by way of processing and control means, the position of at least one of said flash lines (4) on each one of said containers (3) on the basis of the electromagnetic radiation detected by said detection means (8);
- imparting an optional rotation to each one of said containers (3) in order to bring them to a respective preset angular position as a function of the identified position of said at least one flash line (4);
characterized in that said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission are arranged so that in any angular position assumed by said containers along at least one angular portion of their rotation about the corresponding axes, at least one point of at least one of said flash lines (4) is struck by electromagnetic radiation originating from at least one boundary region (7c) between said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission.
15. The method according to claim 14, characterized in that said regions (7a, 7b) having different electromagnetic radiation emission are shaped according to bands that are substantially mutually parallel and are inclined with respect to the axis of said containers (3).
16. The method according to claim 13 or 14, characterized in that it moves said containers (3), by way of a feeder conveyor (2), in front of said emission means (6), while said containers (3) are made to rotate about their respective axes.
17. The method according to one or more of claims 14 to 16, characterized in that each one of said containers (3) is made to perform at least a complete rotation about the corresponding axes before proceeding to identify, by way of said processing and control means, the position of at least one of said flash lines (4).
PCT/EP2015/069821 2015-03-30 2015-08-31 Device and method for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine WO2016155848A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
ITVR20150047 2015-03-30
ITVR2015A000047 2015-03-30

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
IT201700039651A1 (en) * 2017-04-11 2018-10-11 Pe Labellers Spa Device and method for automatically orient the incoming containers to a labeling machine.
IT201700075428A1 (en) * 2017-07-05 2019-01-05 Antares Vision S R L An inspection apparatus of containers particularly for the detection of linear defects
IT201700123523A1 (en) * 2017-10-30 2019-04-30 Cmz Sistemi Elettr S R L Method for the detection within a digital image of a region of interest

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DE102007025524A1 (en) * 2007-05-31 2008-12-04 Khs Ag Opto-electrical detection system
WO2010049137A1 (en) * 2008-10-30 2010-05-06 Khs Ag Bottle seam and embossing alignment
EP2251268A2 (en) * 2009-05-12 2010-11-17 Krones AG Device for recognising ridges and/or grooves on bottles, in particular in a labelling machine

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE102007025524A1 (en) * 2007-05-31 2008-12-04 Khs Ag Opto-electrical detection system
WO2010049137A1 (en) * 2008-10-30 2010-05-06 Khs Ag Bottle seam and embossing alignment
EP2251268A2 (en) * 2009-05-12 2010-11-17 Krones AG Device for recognising ridges and/or grooves on bottles, in particular in a labelling machine

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Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
IT201700039651A1 (en) * 2017-04-11 2018-10-11 Pe Labellers Spa Device and method for automatically orient the incoming containers to a labeling machine.
WO2018189045A1 (en) * 2017-04-11 2018-10-18 P.E. Labellers S.P.A. Device and method for automatically orienting containers entering a labeling machine
IT201700075428A1 (en) * 2017-07-05 2019-01-05 Antares Vision S R L An inspection apparatus of containers particularly for the detection of linear defects
IT201700123523A1 (en) * 2017-10-30 2019-04-30 Cmz Sistemi Elettr S R L Method for the detection within a digital image of a region of interest
EP3477590A1 (en) * 2017-10-30 2019-05-01 CMZ Sistemi Elettronici S.R.L. Method for identifying a region of interest within a digital image

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