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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: AUTOMATIC DARK SPECK (SEED COAT FRAGMENT) INSPECTION SYSTEM Project Number: 6435-44000-075-02
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 01, 2008
End Date: Aug 31, 2011

Objective:
The objective of this cooperative research project is to redesign an automated fabric inspection system which includes a material handling system for winding rolls of cloth integrated with an imaging system that can quickly, and automatically detect, count and measure dark specks (seed coat fragments specifically) on greige cotton fabrics. The system is expected to replace human evaluation (counting) and to provide reliable and repeatable measurements.

Approach:
The white speck inspection system is already available and needs alteration so it can be used both for white speck and seed-coat inspection. The three major components of the current system are: Materials Handling device: A fabric inspection machine synchronized with a scanning digital camera, an appropriate lighting source, and a motor driving system to advance and reverse the fabric. Electrical controls: Consistent lighting which results in an image with high contrast. Camera with scanning technology to acquire the images of the fabrics, grayscale, fabric forward, scanning imaging in sync with the fabric motion as the fabric is advanced. Software systems: Control the materials handling system and the scanning camera (synchronized), grayscale calibration, analyze the images grabbed from the scanning camera, automatically select the brightness, contrast and minimum pixel size and report speck levels in Excel or in *.txt. Soft ware options to analyze stored images (*.bmp), save the images of fabrics (*.bmp) for visual inspection. Changes needed for seed coat analysis. Methods of removing trash particles and leaving seed coat fragments on the fabric: 1) Motorized brushes which brush the loose trash particles from the surface of the fabric, leaving seed coat fragments in the fabric. 2) Air jets which blow loose trash particles from the surface of the fabric, leaving seed coat fragments in the fabric. 3) Both 1 & 2 if needed. Both methods should be tested with different configurations (i.e. angle of fabric as it is cleaned and angle of brushes/jet, brushes and jets separately and together). 4) The brush/jet configuration can be turned on and off so the fabric can be inspected with trash particles and seed coat fragments and later run removing the trash and inspecting for seed coat fragments alone. In the off position, the brushes/jets shouldn’t change the surface of the fabric, so when the system is used for white speck analysis, it can be run without any surface changes. Lighting should be adjusted or a secondary system installed to best highlight dark specks on the greige fabrics. Consistent lighting which results in an image with high contrast between dark specks and greige fabric. Software systems: Software that can analyze the images grabbed from the scanning camera using a dark-speck detection algorithm for reliable, repeatable measurements of dark specks on greige cotton fabrics (number, size and % dark coverage of seed coat fragments and trash). Automatically select the brightness, contrast and minimum pixel size removing subjectivity in the measurements and speeding up the process and report results in Excel. Soft ware options to analyze stored images (*.bmp), save the images of fabrics (*.bmp) for visual inspection. Report if the test was run with Trash removal system on or off.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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