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Accurate part reading and pattern finding

cognex insight inspecting Sarantel Electronics products

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With the overriding market trend for smaller products across many industry sectors, companies are obliged to review and redesign their products on a regular basis. Particularly relevant for devices such as mobile phones and Personal Navigation Devices (PND), the demand for more compact units is continually on the increase.

This was the situation for Sarantel Ltd which develops and manufactures the world’s most advanced miniature filtering antennas for mobile, wireless and handheld devices. Changes in the required size of antennas have led the company to invest in a vision system which could offer higher resolution capability.

The challenge
The main issue with the original vision system was lack of flexibility within the programme and with the size of the product ever-decreasing, the sensor’s ability to identify filters and pattern matches was being compromised.

Searching for a resolution
Sarantel began looking for a new vision sensor which would accurately read the required patterns and investing half a day in a vision seminar at Multipix certainly reaped its rewards. Following a demonstration on the Cognex products available, Sarantel realised it had found the sensors capable of reading the required patterns on each antenna.

The sensor chosen was the Cognex In-Sight 5401 incorporating PatMax which offers the ability to match the PCB assembly on the part with an impressive 180 degree tolerance. The system also recognises the individual part (e.g. is it part 1, 2, 3 etc.), offers easier on-site programming as well as the ability to access the system remotely. Two Sarantel managers attended the free In-Sight training at the Cognex offices in Milton Keynes and following their training, were able to integrate the system internally.

On the production line
Each cylindrical antenna is 9mm in height and 7.5mm in diameter and each tray containing the antennas is placed under the sensor for reading. The sensors are used specifically to identify 4 location co-ordinates, or fiducials, on each part. These fiducials are used for part tuning and laser trimming so there can be no room for error. The positions are so small that accurate part location readings are vital, with the added challenge of a part arriving in a slightly different orientation each time.

Customer satisfaction
Ian Green, Maintenance Manager at Sarantel commented, “We have been able to experiment a lot more with the quick nature of the programming. Overall, it has given us more flexibility and the ability to find the part itself more accurately. Cognex has allowed us to look into the future without forgetting our past. With the proven success of the In-Sight sensor, we intend to replace the existing sensors used on our production lines.”

Sarantel are just one of the many companies that have benefited from attending a Cognex/Multipix imaging seminar. These free-to-attend seminars are held on a regular basis and Multipix welcomes anyone that is keen to learn more about machine vision.

About Multipix
Multipix Imaging Ltd was founded in February 1997 specialising in the distribution of components to the Machine Vision Industry. Multipix has continued to expand building on an extensive portfolio of specialist cameras, frame grabbers, software, lenses, lighting and supporting products from European and North American manufacturers. For more information, visit

About Sarantel
Founded in 2000 as a VC-funded technology spin-off headquartered in a garage, the company now employs over 100 staff in locations across the globe. In 2004 the European Tech Tour identified Sarantel as one of the Top 25 high growth technology companies in the UK. For more information, visit

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