Helmee Imaging: Smarter Hands, Eyes, and Brain for Surface Inspection
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Helmee Imaging: Smarter Hands, Eyes, and Brain for Surface Inspection

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The human eye can easily discern relative color changes but falls short when it comes to detecting defects in surface reflectance in a manufacturing set up. That’s because the human eye is not designed to find micrometer-sized defects on the surface, a difficult job when the surface is glossy. And since the high gloss surface is akin to looking at lights in the mirror, the eyes can get stressed very easily and miss any defects. This whole activity requires several breaks to relieve inspectors of eye strain. “Although alternatives such as machine vision technologies can help in that respect, it is impossible to use conventional machine vision for surface quality inspection of high gloss surfaces as it works well only when the surface is not high gloss or is plane without any curves,” says Mika-Petteri Kuro, CEO of Helmee Imaging.

Helmee Imaging completely dispels this notion with its Covered Stereo Deflectometry (CSD®) technology-based machine vision systems that can simultaneously inspect surface properties and 3D shape of a glossy object. The Helmee system consists of three high-resolution, high-speed cameras and their proprietary optical arrangement that is part of the CSD® technology. The system includes a dome made of semi-transparent plastic material, acting as a diffuser through which light can travel and reflect in sinusoidal patterns on the part surface to more or less all directions. “The three cameras added to our dome, a patented method with software enable true 3D inspection helping capture the wide-angle of the reflections simultaneously, an important requisite for inspection of 3D surfaces,” says Kuro. With the Helmee system, the required number of viewpoints can be reduced because it can capture the wide angle of reflection. What is unique about the Helmee system is that it can inspect a high gloss surface even when it’s curved, such as an interior door handle of a car. “Our systems can do it in the minimum time frame required by the manufacturer,” adds Kuro.

A Helmee system once set up, can repeat itself to give the same inspection results every time, putting an end to the unreliability with human eyes that yield different results each time.


The three cameras added to our dome, a patented method with software enable true 3D inspection helping capture the wide-angle of the reflections simultaneously


With its automatic inspection, the company solves the problem of hiring and training new employees for manual inspection.

With improvement and evolution in mind, Helmee Imaging delivers turnkey solutions, by simulating in essence all the human body parts involved in finding a defect. As an imitation of hands moving a part into the line of sight, the company has integrated its CSD® technology into a robot cell with two arms and a tray for part handling. They have incorporated three cameras representing the eyes and Helmee’s in-house software as the brain, for analyzing the images and making the sorting decision respectively. The software consists of the most powerful processors available to process the images rapidly. Helmee CSD® system software includes all the tools and features that are required to operate, report, and analyze the inspection process.

To benefit from the Helmee system, customers can make an investment where Helmee does the turnkey delivery, rent the system traditionally, or invest in a semi servitized model. A fully servitized model is also available where Helmee does the inspection, and Helmee would deliver the parts into the agreed location.

“Although our technology is capable of handling visual inspection for other industries as well as common household items, our current focus will continue to be in the automotive industry where we are actively on the lookout for partnerships especially for parts handling,” ends the CEO.