Experimental Evaluation of a Novel Sensor-Based Sorting Approach Featuring Predictive Real-Time Multiobject Tracking
Sensor-based sorting is a machine vision application that has found industrial application in various fields. An accept-or-reject task is executed by separating a material stream into two fractions. Current systems use line-scanning sensors, which is convenient as the material is perceived during transportation. However, line-scanning sensors yield a single observation of each object and no information about their movement. Due to a delay between localization and separation, assumptions regarding the location and point in time for separation need to be made based on the prior localization. Hence, it is necessary to ensure that all objects are transported at uniform velocities. This is often a complex and costly solution. In this paper, we propose a new method for reliably separating particles at non-uniform velocities. The problem is transferred from a mechanical to an algorithmic level. Our novel advanced image processing approach includes equipping the sorter with an area-scan camera in combination with a real-time multiobject tracking system, which enables predictions of the location of individual objects for separation. For the experimental validation of our approach, we present a modular sorting system, which allows comparing sorting results using a line-scan and area-scan camera. Results show that our approach performs reliable separation and hence increases sorting efficiency.