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Since 1973, Sunshine Corporation (formerly known as Medionics International) has been providing imaging solutions to the local market. In the past 10 years, it has evolved from purely imaging solutions experts to an Automation design firm. Since 2002, Sunshine is providing Industrial Automation Solutions to a vast majority of the Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Tobacco, Sugar and other Packaging / Process Industries.

The core of Sunshine Corporation is the expertise in software development, Electronics, and Machine design. In other words, Sunshine deals in purely Mechatronic Industrial solutions. Our customers enjoy the seamless integration of state of the art technology into their existing setups. Custom design helps rely on older production lines with newer, more accurate features like:


ALU-ALU Blister Inspection:
Machine Vision Solution: Alu-Alu Blister Inspection
In ALU-ALU Blisters, the pockets are made of opaque aluminum material through which light cannot pass. In PVC Blisters, the pockets are made of transparent PVC material. After the tablets are filled inside the pockets, they are sealed with aluminum foil.

Sunshine Corporation considered the industry standard Vision System because of its past experiences and expertise developed over the years on these systems. Applying highly complex image processing algorithms in a small form factor and good price / performance ratio was only possible using these components. No other off the shelf image processing solution was found to offer matching flexibility and reliability. The user interface developed for this solution was custom made. It offers many benefits including the inspection of PVC blisters where a back light is used to illuminate the blisters.


Video - NEW

Barcode / Pharmacode (Track Trace)
Pharmacode Verification (Track And Trace)



Traditionally, Laser scanner based Pharmacode readers were used for track and trace purposes in the Pharmaceutical Industries.

Sunshine Corporation considered the cutting edge Imager based Pharmacode reader technology because of its past experiences and expertise developed over the years on these systems.

The Imager based Barcode readers have many benifits over its Laser scanner contemporaries, for example:

a- Position invariance

b- Background immunity

c- More than one code on part

d- Communications capabilities over ethernet

Applying highly complex image processing algorithms in a IP67 form factor and good price / performance ratio was only possible using these components.


Date / Lot Code Inspection (Pattern):
Print Verification Based on Pattern Matching
A very common problem with older packaging lines is the integration of laser jet dot matrix printers. Mostly, these printers are triggered through a field sensor and once triggered, the jet prints the string at constant speed regardless of the speed of the product. This results in deformed or even missed prints. Other limitations include ink shortages which result in low print quality causing readability issues. Some vendors incorporate color / photo sensors to check for the presence of print. However, this method does not check the total area hence resulting in faulty rejections.

The customer contacted Sunshine Corporation for a solution with the following features:

1- There are 5 different products running on the same production line. Each product has a different date / lot code. So, the system must have a user input where they can TEACH the system to look for a specific print before each batch starts. However, this teach button should be protected by a key.

2- The system MUST check for the presence of print on the surface and atleast 80% printed area must be present on the product.

3- Each rejected product must be indicated by a buzzer and a red flasher. A pneumatic valve controlling the air jet should allow for on-line rejection of the product. Each passed product should show only a green light.

For the above requirements, Sunshine Corporation came up with the following components for a stable Inspection system:
a- A smart camera with built-in user interface.
b- Area light for proper illumination of the Area of Interest
c- A real time controller with shift registers.
d- A Teach key.
e- A Pneumatic valve for product rejection.


Video (Cartons) - NEW

Video (Ampoules) - NEW

Label Presence Detection:
360 Degree Rotation Invariant Label Detection System
A customer contacted Sunshine Corporation for detecting the presence of labels on liquid bottles. If a bottle had no label, they needed an alarm signal. The color of the bottles is amber and the labels have different colors depending on different products. The speed could reach 180 ppm. The bottles rotate on the line and the labels appear on random locations and have no fixed spot.
For the above requirements, Sunshine Corporation came up with the following components for a stable Inspection system:
a- A smart camera.
b- Area light for proper illumination of the Area of Interest
c- A real time controller with Buzzer Indication.

Using the components described above, the customer was able to detect missing Labels and improving the overall quality of furnished products. Using image processing covered a larger area which was not possible using foto sensors. The solution was much better than other low cost solutions in terms of speed and accuracy (up to 150 PPM) and performs satisfactorily for a number of different products on the same line


Powder Level Inspection:

Powder Fill Level Inspection (Pixel Area)
In certain filling lines, it is not always feasible to incorporate a checkweigher in a production line. In such cases, It becomes difficult to judge the level of powder inside semi opaque glass bottles using conventional sensors. Sunshine Corporationwas contacted for a similar solution. The main feature to be checked for was the level of the powder. A minimum 10% powder level was desired below which the bottles must be rejected out of the line. The speed could reach 180 ppm.

For the above requirements, Sunshine Corporation came up with the following components for a stable Inspection system:
a- A smart camera.
b- Area light for proper illumination of the Area of Interest
c- A real time controller with Buzzer Indication.
A field sensor triggers the camera for each bottle. The frame is compared to an intensity level present on the label. If it goes below a certain threshold level, the bottle is considered to be Fail.


Product Verification Using Color:

Color Classification
On a packaging line, the customer wanted product verification to have the same product’s tube, carton and leaflet. The conventional solutions in the market mainly included Pharmacode based inspection. But in this case, the customer saw an overhead of going through a lot of art work on the tubes, cartons and leaflets as more than 15 different products run on a single line.
For the above requirements, Sunshine Corporation came up with the following components for a stable Inspection system:
a- Three color cameras each for Tube, Carton and Leaflet.
b- Area light for proper illumination of the Area of Interest.
c- A PLC with Buzzer Indication.
d- A user Interface for product selection.

Using the components described above, the customer was able to verify if the desired products were packaged. The average speed of the system is about 120 strokes per minute which is just enough for the vision system to have a stable inspection on each stroke.


Video - NEW

Wireless Based RH/Temp Alarm:

Wireless Based Alarm Monitoring
A customer had 4 Climate Chambers in their lab. Each with a controlled RH and Temperature variable with controllers. Due to some reason, these Chambers gave excess RH / Temperature values upon which an alarm was desired. The requirement included having a local panel with a siren and a flasher for RH/Temperature against each chamber.
A total of 8 alarms were to be monitored and displayed with 4 flashers, a siren and an acknowledge button. The siren had to be powered through 12 volts, 5 Amps. DC supply as their existing sirens had to be employed which needed this power. Also, a remote monitor was desired near the entrance check post where an attendant was always present 24 hours. This was necessary because the lab is closed after working hours and nobody is present to attend to the Alarm. Having a remote alarm provided with 24 hour acknowledgment and rectification.
For the above requirements, Sunshine Corporation came up with the following components for a stable Alarming and Acknowledgement system:
a- A Temperature and RH probe along with corresponding controllers with set lower / upper limits for each chamber.
b- A PLC based local alarm panel with 24 VDC and 12 VDC (Siren Alarm supply) a siren, flashers and acknowledgement user interface.
c- A duplicate remote panel with same functionality.
d- A 1 Km range wireless link with booster antennas for communications.
Each sensor monitors the process variable. The corresponding controller provides a relay output beyond its set points. Whenever any variable goes out of range for more than a period of 12 hours, a relay energizes and fires an Alarm Siren and turns ON the corresponding flasher. If a local attendant inside the lab is present, they would acknowledge the alarm by pressing the corresponding button. The siren goes off but the flasher stays ON as long as the alarm does not go back to normal value. A remote panel connected through the wireless link also exhibits the same behavior.
Using the components described above, it became very simple to monitor the Alarm conditions in the lab as well as from outside the lab. The main component is the wireless link which saves a lot of samples from deteriorating due to efficient monitoring due to the alarm management. A flasher on the remote link is used as an indication for a possible communication loss. The system runs satisfactory for a sufficient amount of time now and a loss in communication has never been reported.
Overall Equipent effectiveness (OEE):
A manufacturer wanted to have a pulse of its production lines on their fingertips. Vital parameters like a line’s Availability, Performance and Quality were required to be monitored on a main workstation with a display having online monitoring of these variables with history and charts. A cable free solution was preferred as the production line did not allow for longer cable runs.
When Sunshine Corporation was contacted for a possible solution, the first question was whether the response time required for this application was critical?
Based on the customer’s feedback, a controller was designed with user interface along with field I/Os and transmission capability. A custom software was designed to monitor and log different aspects of the production line such as
i) Down Time,
ii) Up Time,
iii) Total production,
iv) Total Rejects,
v) Speed,
vi) Shut Down Reasons.
Since the Availability, Performance and Quality mainly rely on aspects such as the down time, total rejects, and outfeed of any production line. These parameters were monitored through a custom designed software running on a remote PC connected to the field network using wireless communication. The following included the different aspects of the solution:
a- A controller for each machine with user interface and field I/O with integrated wireless communications.
b- The user interface mainly helps the user with reason for shutdown input.
c- A remote PC with monitoring software.
Cigarette Filter Presence Inspection:

High Speed Blob Analysis
British American Tobacco wanted to have a real time solution built inside their production line, to check for missing filters/cigarettes inside the pockets. They needed a solution with the following features:
1- Must be capable of handling speeds of approx. 600 Cigarette Packs Per Minute.
2- Must fit into narrow space inside conventional packaging machines and must be immune to noise (EMI/RFI) and vibration.
3- Must detect and reject Missing Filters. The response time was critical in this case as the speed of the machine was supposed to increase with time.
Originally, mechanical switches were incorporated in the machine for this task. This method was outdates in the sense that the switches malfunctioned during production and gave erroneous results increasing the possibility of delivering lower quality products to the market. The availability for space is scarce in such machines so a small imaging head was required for this task. Besides, a lot of dust, tobacco is present in the air so some special enclosure was also required to keep the lens clean from accumulation of tobacco due to humidity. Also, a lot of vibration and mechanical noise is present thus a rugged controller was desired for image process and hardware I/Os. Sunshine Corporation came up with the following components:
a- An industry standard Compact Vision System controller for each machine with user interface and field I/O with integrated Vision Control Libraries.
b- A rugged remote vision head with a band pass filter for installation into tight spaces.
c- A shift rejecter/controller combo for rejecting the packets at a later stage.
d- A rugged ring light to illuminate the filter surface at a certain wavelength.
During production, the real time controller monitors the pockets for any missing filters on each stroke. When run, the system showed promising results as given below:
1- Filter Miss Successfully Detected and Rejected
2- Cigarette Miss Successfully Detected and Rejected.
3- Tobacco Side Detected and Rejected.
4- Additional advantage: Possible speeds could reach up to more than 500 Packs per minute.
Date/Lot Code Inspection (OCR/OCV):

Optical Character Verification (OCV)
A manufacturer wanted to check whether their industrial printers were performing satisfactorily on their packaging lines? They needed a solution with the following attributes:
1- The user feeds a string of characters like the product date / lot code after each changeover.
2- The inspection solution should be capable to communicate with the printers so that this string can be maintained at the inspection system at run time.
3- During production, the inspection system constantly checks whether the desired characters / strings are being printed on the packages?
4- If there is a misprint, absence of characters, deviation or deformation of these characters, the inspection system should Reject the part immediately on the same line.
5- The system should be capable to adjust automatically to new regions of interests as the print area varies from product to product.
The description given by the manufacturer clearly showed specific concern on the actual text printed on the packages. The common printers being utilized for product printing in the industry can have issues like no indication of Ink Shortage, improperly managed trigger signals, wrong placement of products in front of the printing jet. This absolutely called for an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Application where each character was supposed to be judged and verified in comparison to the original string of characters fed by the operator. Based on this information, Sunshine Corporation came up with the following solution:
a- A Smart Vision Controller with a communication port that communicates with the Printers through their standard communications protocols.
b- The vision controller should also have the capability to decode and verify Characters being printed on the product. Having OCR/OCV capability is a must for such applications.
c- A mechanism to decode and locate the strings given by the operator.
d- A rejection mechanism comprising of Pneumatic Cylinders to reject the Failed components.
e- A rugged Area light to illuminate the product surface at a certain wavelength.
The solution was implemented using the features / components described above. The printers are connected to the vision system through the RS-232 protocol. Each time the user feeds a string, the text is automatically sent to the vision system which then prepares for the acquisition. On each trigger, the camera looks inside a Region Of Interest (ROI) and checks for the presence of the exact string on each row. This inspection is rotation invariant and immune to print deformation as long as valid strings of text are being printed. If the string printed on the product differs from the one fed to the printer, the system initiates an Alarm signal, turning ON a red light and rejects the part immediately. Upon the successful commissioning of the solution, the following functionality was observed:
1- Missed prints and Faulty date / lot codes successfully detected and rejected.
2- Speeds of more than 100 parts per minute are possible.
3- The over quality of product delivered to the market was improved due to precise and clear printing.
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