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September 10th, 2008

Better method for detecting tile defects

Published on September 10th, 2008 | By: pwray@ceramics.org
The gonioreflectometer         (Credit: UWE)

The gonioreflectometer (Credit: UWE)

Researchers at the University of the West of England say they have developed an automatic system for detecting surface defects invisible to the naked eye in ceramic tiles. Their system can detect pinholes, crazing, rough or dull glazes and other imperfections – even on tiles that are textured or feature relief patterns – the researchers say. UWE researchers, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Bath and Fima Surface Inspection Ltd. are constructing a demonstration model of the new system at UWE’s Machine Vision Lab in Bristol. The unit is based on photometric stereo technology, a field in which UWE has earned international recognition.

The research project has been partially financed by Great Western Research, a funding entity established to  promote collaborations between quality research groups and local businesses in England’s south west region. Matching funding also has been provided by academic and private sources. “This three-year project will lead to significant advances in automating inspection of ceramic tiles. It could also have applications in other industries, where the quality of the surface is paramount, such as metals or shiny plastic components,” says Professor Melvyn Smith, director of the Machine Vision Lab. “It builds on our existing expertise in photometric stereo, and will be able to capture surface topography detail at extremely high resolution, at pixel level.”

According to the Fima SI’s chief technical officer Arwyn Roberts,  “No commercial device exists so far for online detection and analysis of defects in material that is rapidly moving along a production line. This project with UWE and the University of Bath will allow us to become more competitive, as well as reducing the amount of waste materials.” UWE is hoping its new solution for detecting tile defects will also open up new markets in North America, the EU, China and India, and boost export revenues of the South West region.

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4 Responses to Better method for detecting tile defects

  1. Reza Kaveh says:

    I am studying ceramics on the properties of defects and their impact on tile and am researching how to remove them.
    If you Mytvtnyd me and send me the article.
    Thanks a lot

  2. Bryan Vadas says:

    Hello Peter

    After spending time recently in China, there is a growing need for the market to better understand Optial Hazing – both cause and effect, as well as remedy. As per above comments, little is written, but there is a pressing need for simplified material outlining what optical hazing is, and how and why it presents. As manufacturers increase the speed of production for greater returns in a market demanding products of a higher gloss, we must stay ahead of the inevitable tide of optical hazing issues that will manifest themselves in the industry very soon

    Any feedback and information is most welcome



  3. Hello Peter:

    Very interesting article. Do you know if there will a presentation on the subject at MS&T’08?

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    With best regards,

    Dr. Eduardo Sereno

  4. Colin Cass says:

    Hello Peter,
    Thanks for the article, “Better method for detecting tile defects” very informative.
    I have the contact details for the gents at UWE and will follow up with them.
    I am organising research into the reflectance qualities of POLISHED PORCELAIN ceramic tiles. Particularly problems related to “shadowing” (photos available), and “optical hazing” and tile production quality control. I can find very little published material on the subjects and would be pleased if you could advise me of persons working in the field, or even publish this letter in an effort to have interested parties contact me. I am in the process of engaging Prof. Stephen Dain (UNSW)to do some experiments and would be thankfull for your support.
    Colin Cass B. Ed. Dip. T. Technical
    Techtile Consulting
    ex Sydney Institute of Technology

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