CHEP Selects Universal Robotics to Provide Innovative Pallet Inspection System

September 23, 2012

CHEP, the global leader in pallet and container pooling services, announced today that it has selected the Universal Robotics Spatial Vision Inspection (SVI) solution for automated 3D pallet inspection. By identifying pallet defects accurately and reliably, SVI is expected to reduce scrap and raw materials, while improving the consistency of overall pallet quality for CHEP customers.

Ed Mabe, CHEP Senior Director, Global Process Engineering, said: “Universal Robotics’ novel approach provides CHEP with an innovative low-cost 3D pallet inspection system that will improve the consistency of product quality by eliminating human variability in the inspection process and expand automation in our supply chain. Solutions like this further CHEP’s mission to deliver innovative, performance enhancing equipment pooling solutions to our customers.”

Traditionally, pallet inspection has been done visually with varying levels of manual handling or automated machinery, requiring the pallet to be lifted and flipped to see all surfaces. Stringent and frequent audits are required to reduce the variability of visual inspection. Traditional 2D vision is not as reliable as 3D due to the limitations of the technology and the structure of a pallet. Replicating manual inspection requires a flexible, automated vision system that quickly identifies a wide range of defects, including raised nails, and wood damage – whether split, loose, or missing – at a productive line speed. This solution sees more of the pallet at a faster rate than current approaches, delivering consistent quality levels for CHEP’s partners and customers.

David Peters, CEO of Universal Robotics, said: “Universal was selected because of our expertise in 3D sensor data for qualitative assessment. CHEP recognized this and has entrusted Universal to deliver a lower cost, state-of-the-art pallet inspection system. Universal provides the only 3D technology that incorporates a self-learning capability, Neocortex, that drives intelligence in the supply chain never seen before.”

Carmelo Alonso-Bernaola, Senior Vice President of Global Operations, said: “CHEP is pleased to partner with Universal Robotics to continue to enhance the service levels we provide to our customers while also improving internal productivity.”

CHEP continues to be a leader in environmental sustainability as well as a market leader in equipment pooling worldwide. CHEP issues, collects, conditions and reissues over 300 million pallets and containers every year. Universal’s innovative low-cost 3D pallet inspection system will enable CHEP to improve overall supply chain efficiency and sustainability.