The North Coast Fresh Food and Cold Storage Cooperative Company (NORCO) began operations in Nowra NSW more than 125 years ago and is today one of the oldest dairy cooperatives in Australia. Owned by Australian farmers since 1895, and nestled in the lush green pastures and rolling hills of Northern NSW, Norco recently invested in a Micro-Vu Vertex Multi-Sensor vision system to enhance the production and quality of their injection moulded ice cream containers.

According to Trent Dobrunz of Norco ”we needed a better way of measuring the dimensions on an ice cream container. As they are flexible with no straight edges conventional methods proved difficult, unreliable and definitely not repeatable which prompted a call to Hi-Tech Metrology”.

Dobrunz also stated that previously they were using a Go/No-Go gauge that was very susceptible to operator influences making it very difficult to obtain reliable results. As the ice cream containers are flexible the solution needed to be non-contact, so the search began for an automated measuring system that utilised vision technology.

The system ultimately chosen for the task was a Micro-Vu Vertex supplied complete with a suite of fixtures and part programs to measure a variety of parts manufactured by Norco. Utilising a high-resolution colour camera, combined with powerful optical zoom and intuitive InSpec software interface, the Vertex is able to rapidly measure a number of features directly on the shop floor and provide instant accurate process feedback to the operator.

With Hi-Tech Metrology designing and supplying the fixturing systems, assisting Norco with the measurement routines, and commissioning the entire system now the operator simply places a part in the fixture and from there on all human influences on the measurement results are removed.

Previously with the Go/NoGo gauging not only were the results open to interpretation but with no absolute measurement data obtained it was very difficult to improve the overall process capability. The Vertex now provides real time, accurate measurement data allowing Norco to improve product quality and productivity.

Being in quite a remote location we asked how he would describe his experience with Hi-Tech Metrology and their technology to which Dobrunz concludes “Very well, there is always someone at the other end of the telephone when needed and emails are always answered in a timely fashion” he goes on to add “the installation has already improved our quality, provided greater repeatability and allows us to store a history of measurements from each sample taken”

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