Customer Need

A company that produces custom mosaics out of glass tile had an automated system to place tiles in a design, however the tiles were oriented and placed into the tubes manually and visually inspected for defects. The requirement was to develop a system capable of automating the inspection, orientation and tube loading processes.

The system was required to meet throughput specifications, as well as part change over, defect percentage rate (based on a test with known amount of defects), and jam-free run time.


CSC designed and fabricated an automated system that contained software that allowed the operators to enter recipes for the different size tile, as well as the colors. This prevented the operators from having to enter different criteria and change settings each time a new size or color was used.

The system contained a bulk feeder and re-circulator corral that output the tile single file into the inspection section of the system.

The inspection section used a vision system to detect the orientation of the tile and, if necessary, flip the tile over so that the top, finished surface is facing up. Once oriented, the vision system, using a second camera, to inspect the tile for physical geometry, damage (chipped corners, etc.), surface finish defects, and color. Any tiles that did not pass the established inspection criteria were rejected into a “Reject Bin”.

The system had a custom tube filler mount mechanism that allowed the system to fill batches of tubes with tile. Included was a sensor that detects when a tube is full and stops the machine automatically.

System Components

  • Mitsubishi L Series PLC
  • Encoder Products TR1 Encoder
  • Dorner 1100 Series Conveyor
  • Teledyne Dals GEVA3000 Vision System with 2MP Color Camera
  • Vibratory Feeder


The project was successfully tested and installed to the customer’s satisfaction as it increased their throughput beyond the level that was required. The system was designed to allow for further expansion to add additional lanes as their business grew.