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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: AUTOMATIC DARK SPECK (SEED COAT FRAGMENT) INSPECTION SYSTEM

Location: Cotton Structure and Quality Research

2009 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
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.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
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.


3.Progress Report

The methods useed to monitor activities for this agreement were periodic reviews and presentations at scientific and industry meetings.

Cooperatively with Fabrate, LLC, modifying the White Speck Autorate (WSA) system to an automated dark speck inspection system for scanning greige (undyed) fabric for dark specks (seed coat fragment, SCF) on fabric has begun. Conference calls, site visits, and numerous communications via e-mail were used to monitor activities. The lighting system is being redesigned and will be installed at Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC). The program is being developed by a ARS scientist to quickly and automatically detect, count, and measure dark speck on cotton fabrics. The system is expected to replace human evaluation and to provide reliable and repeatable measurements. 21 U.S. and 38 international fabrics have been hand-counted for SCF and a clear template that can be overlaid on the fabric has been made for each sample indicating the individual seed coat fragments. These will be used as we troubleshoot the new program for accuracy. The fiber samples for 10 U.S. and 12 international cottons have been hand-sorted, separating fiber, trash/leaf, and SCF. The fibers have also been tested on USTER® AFIS PRO (Advanced Fiber Information System) and ITRU’s (International Textile Research Unit) fiber tester UAK-1. 21 U.S. cottons have been tested on Shirley analyzer and processed to Lint, Trash, and SCF, and 38 international cottons are in the same process. The fiber and fabric data will be analyzed when the data is complete.


Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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