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Application of image processing in material handling and (1)
Automation of Material Handling and
Sorting System Using
Image Processing and PLC
Prof. S. A. Soundattikar, Mr. Suyash Dani, Md Azhar Shahapure
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Textile & Engg. Institute
1. Concept of material handling
Receiving, identification and sorting, dispatching to
storage, storage and retrieval, record keeping of various
materials, etc. have traditionally been considered the
functions of material handling and storage systems.
Warehouse management is also an issue.
2. Manual handling problems
Time required is quite large, accuracy and ease of control
in sorting is not assured and repetitive work results in
3. Role of Automation in MHS and sorting
1. The paper included a Mechatronics color sorting system solution with the application of image
processing. Supported by MATLAB code image processing in which procedure senses the
objects in an image captured in real time by a webcam and then extracts color and position
information out of it. This information is passed as a signal of sorting commands to the
microcontroller and then the depending on this signal will be given to the servomotor that does
pick-and-place mechanism. Extensive testing proves that this color based object sorting system
works 100% accurate under ideal condition in term of adequate illumination, circular objects’
shape and color.
2. The Mitsubishi FX series programmable logic controller is used to mechanize the system.
Sensors such as proximity and load sensor are used to provide the input to the system. The
motors, pneumatics, and also the solenoids serve as the output. The researchers used a ladder
diagram as a software that control the whole system between its input and output components. It
is found out that the system decreases time and manpower requirements for every station as
compared with traditional manual system. A reduction of 50% to 75% was observed in terms of
time allotment for filling, weighing, and sealing stations. About 90% of full automation without
human is specified also in the system.
3. A similar but simplified system which will sort the objects according to different parameters such
as color and shape using simple image processing technique. The system is trained initially
with a set of images defined as the reference images. Then while execution, real time images are
compared with the reference image parameters and respective output is then fed to the placing
system through parallel port of the computer.
2. Components -
1. Electric Motors
2. Pneumatic Cylinders
4. Conveyor assembly
3. User interface – RS 232 cable, USB to parallel
1.RSLogix 500 software is used to design the ladder program
for the system.
2.The pneumatic system was designed and verified using
Steps Of Image Processing
1. Shape wise sorting
1. Capture image
2. Converting RGB image to Black and White
3. Recognize boundaries of objects
4. Finding areas of objects and area filtering
5. Finding bounding box of the object
6. Finding ratio of areas for given object
2. Color recognition
1. Capture image
2. Extract R,G,B component
3. Calculate mean of each component
4. Take decision based on the mean comparison
Applications, Advantages & Limitations
of image processing in material handling
& sorting system
1. In small scale and large scale industries. To sort the products based on the various
parameters like diameter, material shape etc
2. Can be used in store department as AS/RS
3. In malls and small shops for sorting material
4. In medicals and wine industries to sort the bottles of various sizes
5. In food industries to identify the rotten fruits.
6. Packaging and logistic industries to sorting and handling of material for shipping
1. High efficiency: the sorting speed can be very high.
2. High precision: the margin of error can be reduced to great extent.
3. This type of sorter can be used for various objects or vegetables of different colors.
Also suit to select pears, orange and other fruits of this kind
4. High degree of intelligence if used with PLC control. The machine with a high degree
of intelligent , can control it.
5. Good quality and low failure rate with long life.
6. Reliable operation and maintenance.
1. Skilled worker required to change the programs
2. If job changes its required to take new photos and create new program
3. Initial cost for implementation is more
4. Because of sensitivity system required to be used in clean area
The project can work successfully and can sort the object depending on their
color or shape. We have primarily sense three colors RED, GREEN and BLUE.
We placed object on one side of conveyer belt it was successfully placed red
object at 90 degree position, green at 180 degree position and blue at -90 degree
The another sorting technique we used is shape wise sorting system. We
have basically used three basic shapes square, circular and triangular object. The
system successfully detect the shape of object and pick the object and placed that
at programmed location. The system successfully placed the square object at 90
degree position, circular object at 180 degree position and triangular object at -90
Also we have tested non specified colors and shapes object. The system
detect fault in object and reject to pick the object from conveyor . In this situation
the conveyor start in reverse direction and object falls at rejected object area.
• The further modification can be the use of encoders for the
• Horizontal arm can be replaced by the linear drive for
• Sorting system can be modified to matrix format i.e. m x n
• The whole system can be redesigned with SCADA as per
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