Quality control of specular ceramic materials

Surface Inspection


Develop an automatic defect detector for specular tiles (and other components).


Industry is lacking a method for the rapid and automated inspection of complex, glossy goods, especially if on-line, i.e. moving at high speed. These products still need to be inspected manually, which is labour-intensive, monotonous and expensive.

This project aims to use an advanced form of laser triangulation, whereby lines are projected onto the specular surface and onto a translucent screen.. Novel pattern recognition techniques are then applied to:

  1. search for unexpected line breaks – tell-tale signs of defects such as blisters; and
  2. curve shapes that do not match those expected for the given tile.

The method is particularly attractive as, not only can it handle the difficult case of specular surfaces, but it responds well to tiles that have a three-dimensional texture.

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Theme Leader

Left Photo: A picture of the device. Two cameras watch the line laser’s profile and the signature while the probe is moving

Middle Photo: Example of 10 superimposed specular signatures with 0.75 mm offset. Visible is a change in the surface profile and a medium sized defect on the centre right.

Right Photo: An example of the type of surfaces that are being investigated

Centre for Machine Vision

Professor Melvyn Smith
Bristol Robotics Laboratory,
University of the West of England,
Frenchay Campus, T Building,
Coldharbour Lane,
Bristol, BS16 1QY
Tel: +44 (0)117 32 86358
E-mail: Melvyn.Smith@uwe.ac.uk

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Page last updated 12 May 2016