Author Archives: avsadmin

Thermal Imaging for Vision Mold Protection


In 2022 Avalon introduced its ThermalWatch thermal imaging system to provide provide consistent, 100% cycle inspection of the thermal characteristics of molded parts and mold components. These measurements can be used to fine tune a process during startup and/or to provide continuous measurement to ensure that the process remains within specifications. An additional benefit of the ThermalWatch system is providing a more traditional mold protection capability for parts that have, in the past, been difficult to light and inspect with traditional methods, such as clear parts, like lenses, face shields, etc. Clear materials can be tricky to light and often it is the visual effects of the material on the mold that is detectable, like changes in reflected light, and not the part itself. This can cause issues due to changing conditions on the surface of the mold like buildup of material residue and mold release agents. Thermal imaging provides a means to directly inspect parts without the need for any additional lighting.

Proper lighting is one of the primary issues of concern in all vision mold protection applications. In years past, high output halogen, incandescent, and fluorescent lights were used. These lights had to be bright enough to overcome ambient light conditions in order to provide stable images and prevent lighting changes in the environment from effecting the accuracy of the vision system. These lights were often large and hot making them difficult to work around and place properly. LED lights have replaced the older lighting technologies in nearly all cases, solving many of the problems the older lighting methods presented. However, these lights still suffered when it came to ambient light conditions where environmental light sources would overpower the LED lights, such as bright flashing lights on cranes, loading equipment & alarm towers, as well overhead and ambient lighting that would change over time, like night time power saving operations, skylights and windows. More than two decades ago, Avalon, through its patented near-infrared lighting technology and process, provided a means to all but eliminate ambient light issues from vision mold protection. Today the use of thermal imaging has completely eliminated the need for lighting making the detection of previously difficult to inspect parts & materials trivial.

Thermal Image with Part Thermal image without part. There is a consistent temperature difference between the part and mold. The vision system easily detects this difference. Thermal image with short shot. The tip of the part isn’t complete. Again, The vision system can detect the temperature difference between the part and mold. Near-IR Light with liquid silicone rubber (LSR) part. The part is difficult to see and only slightly alters the light reflections from the tool


Because mold and part temperatures are different and relatively consistent over time the vision system is able to distinguish between the two and detect the presence or absence of the part in situations where near-IR or visibly light systems would have a difficult time detecting parts.

Vision Protection for Metal Injection Molding

The intricate process of Metal Injection Molding (MIM) can cause broken and/or stuck parts which leads to very expensive repairs. One of Avalon Vision Solutions first customers was an MIM manufacturer, and we take pride in successfully protecting the mold to keep the MIM manufacturing process going smoothly. MoldWatcher vision protection is an essential part to the MIM sector of the molding process.

Stuck Parts-

MoldWatcher typically is used to detect two images per cycle for both presence and absence of the part on the moving surface of the mold.  This is done using non-contact machine vision technology so that prevention occurs prior to mold closing.

MoldWatcher and Medical Plastics Manufacturing

Plastic parts for medical uses typically involve very detailed molds that can be easily damaged. Removal can be difficult due to tiny core pins and non-fills can occur. MoldWatcher prevents damage before it occurs and insures that manufacturing process continues running smoothly. MoldWatcher mold vision inspection in the medical plastics manufacturing sector is an essential component of the molding process.

Part Removal Verification-

MoldWatcher typically is used to detect two images per cycle for both presence and absence of the part on the moving surface of the mold.  This is done using non-contact machine vision technology so that prevention occurs prior to mold closing.

Non-Fills (Short Shots)-

Parts that are not 100% filled cause quality defects and many times errors in downstream assembly.  Since these issues usually occur at the same place (farthest away from the injection), MoldWatcher can be configured with multiple cameras to detect critical areas. 

To learn more call 770-944-8445 or email [email protected] today!

MoldWatcher and Automotive Manufacturing

Avalon Vision Solutions advanced mold vision protection is essential to all automotive plastic manufacturers. Satisfy your customers with on-time shipping and protection of your expensive mold.

Insert Verification- 

MoldWatcher is used to verify the position of metal inserts in the mold prior to mold closing. If inserts are not properly placed or missing, then considerable downtime occurs due to mold damage or excessive plastic shot into the mold. 

Lifter (Core) Position –

When ejector pins jam or break and lifters are left out of position prior to mold closing damage to the mating surface of the mold in inevitable.  My times this is expensive and very down time consuming when the damage surface is polished or textured. MoldWatcher can detect relatively small deviations in lifter position. 

Part Removal Verification-

MoldWatcher typically is used to detect two images per cycle for both presence and absence of the part on the moving surface of the mold.  This is done using non-contact machine vision technology so that prevention occurs prior to mold closing.

Non-Fills (Short Shots)-

Parts that are not 100% filled cause quality defects and many times errors in down stream assembly.  Since these issues usually occur at the same place (farthest away from the injection), MoldWatcher can be configured with multiple cameras to detect critical areas. 

Example Application With ProcessRx –

A medium sized Tier I supplier to the one of the big three US automotive companies was able to stop Charge Backs and Corrective Action Requests by implementing ProcessRX™ into their Quality Station inspection stations performing Sequencing. Inspection stations with ProcessRX™ kept track of each final assembly by serial number and were able to print PDF reports showing the product had left their plant fully assembled with no further damage. The actual PDF image reports of the final product were reviewed by the customer and all disputes were immediately settled. This was an incredible cost savings.

NightHawk HE for Die Cast Mold Protection

Avalon is proud to introduce our latest in die cast mold protection – NightHawk HE.  The new “NightHawk HE” boasts an IP67 rating with air cooling of the electronics.  The air cooling also utilizes Avalon’s proprietary air cone design to keep harmful debris off of the front lens cover of the camera. The 12x zoom with an integrated motorized lens has software controls built into the User Interface of the MoldWatcher vision system for ease of use.  The focus, iris, gain, and zoom functions are all controlled via the touchscreen and settings are saved for each application so they can be recalled from memory when the same setup is run in the future.  One of the main advantages of the new “NightHawk HE” is that once the camera is placed on the mold all adjustments are made from the vision computer display.  You no longer have to manually adjust the camera in the harsh environment (hot mold) with a second person.

The turnkey NightHawk HE is available for immediate purchase and comes ready to use straight out of the box. Get a free quote by calling 770.944.8445 or email us at [email protected].

Protect your die cast mold investment with easy to use, proven vision from Avalon Vision Solutions.

To see how the NightHawk camera functions inside of the enclosure CLICK HERE.

How to Prevent Breaking Lifters and/or Ejectors

When lifters and/or ejectors on an injection mold do not return, severe damage can occur on the mold. Traditionally, injection mold press manufacturers have tried to ease the minds of their customers, by installing pressure sensors that are intended to catch the problem. Unfortunately, pressure sensors catch the issue after they occur meaning your production must halt, deadlines may not be met, and costly repairs need to take place.

What is your alternative to prevent breaking the lifters and/or ejectors?

With Avalon’s MoldWatcher solution, a snapshot of the mold is taken before and after injection to ensure the lifters and/or ejectors have returned and the mold is clear and ready for the next cycle. If MoldWatcher detects that the lifters and/or ejector has not returned, the press is stopped before any damage can occur and a red light and sound will alert the employees to the issue. This allows the issue to be assessed and fixed in a timely manner to ensure parts are shipped on time.

ProcessRx gives the added features of graphs, image stills that can be viewed as a movie, and other powerful tools that will allow the engineer to discover what led to the issue to determine the best way to prevent the error from occurring again.

Introducing Our *NEW* NightHawk

Avalon’s MoldWatcher solution has gotten easier with the new automated camera – NightHawk. Available for injection molds and die cast machines, our new IP based automated camera touts several advanced features. 

Here are some advantages:

  • No more manual adjusting of the lens.  Zoom, Aperture, Focus and Gain are controlled through software on the vision computer. This is especially helpful when installing on larger molding presses.
  • The Gig-E 2.3 MP camera has a resolution of more than 6 times previous models with 1920 x 1200 Pixels for better quality image analysis.
  • The Ethernet camera cable length can be extended to any desired length because the camera is POE (Power Over Ethernet)
  • The NightHawk has a more rugged enclosure than previous models for tough environmental conditions.

The NightHawk can be purchased as an upgrade for our current users who would prefer the automated focusing advantage* and is a great option for our future Avalon customers.

Ready to learn more? Contact us today!

*MoldWatcher must be running on Windows 7 for the programming to work.

Avalon Vision at K Show 2019

Avalon Vision Solutions will be attending the K Show in Düsseldorf, Germany on October 16-23. We will be giving demonstrations and will assist in the promotion of our distributors. You can find us in Hall 13 B91-02 in the American Pavilion. Come meet our President, Ed Kachnic!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Keeping Customers Satisfied

One of the main benefits of Avalon’s MoldWatcher Vision Solution is the ability to keep your customers satisfied.

How do we do this? It’s really simple.

  1. By using MoldWatcher you are ensuring no bad parts are sent to the consumer. If MoldWatcher detects bad parts, the molding process is stopped, and by using our powerful ProcessRx documentation system, you will be able to review data and the image database to see exactly where the process went wrong in order to accurately fix the problem.
  2. We help ensure on-time deliveries by discovering issues before they occur. When your mold is crunched due to a stuck part, core pin, ejector, etc. this can mean a substantial downtime as the mold is repaired. With MoldWatcher, these issues are discovered prior to damaging the mold so that any issues can be corrected before the pricey damage occurs.
  3. By implementing the MoldWatcher solution into your molding process you are giving your customers peace of mind and showing that you care about the product they have you produce. Having a MoldWatcher system in your facility during your sales pitch period is a great incentive for potential customers to use your molding facility.

At Avalon Vision, we are fully committed to the success of our users and offer lifetime support and updates on all of our systems.

Call 770-944-8445 to discuss your application with one of our expert sales managers and engineers today!

5 Considerations to Make When Purchasing a Vision System

Vision protection of injection molds is an important investment, and when deciding what is the best there are a few considerations you should make.

  1. Industry Expertise – Would you bring a Ferrari to a Ford shop to be serviced? Of course not. So why settle for a company that does not specialize in your industry?When looking into a company you should consider where their focus and expertise lie.At Avalon Vision Solutions, we specialize specifically in vision protection for the injection molding and die cast industries. There is no other company with our expertise.
  2. Ease of Use – Ease of use is one of the most important aspects of a vision inspection system. You may not always have a vision expert on staff, and at times there may not be any team members that know how to work a vision system.With this in mind, the vision solution you ultimately chose should be easy to install and easy to use by any trained member on the shop floor.Our touch screen, Windows based controller is easy to use. After the initial installation, the system can be easily navigated. Even better, if you are worried employees may tamper with the vision system, we have password protection of specific parameters within our products to prevent any unintended adjustments. That’s ease of use and ease of mind.
  3. Ability to Interface with all Presses – Most companies require an integrator for the vision products to be implemented. This could potentially mean that every time you want to change the system to another press or change the mold, you will have to call the technical expert to make the necessary changes. This costs time and money.At Avalon, our solution can interface with all presses right out of the box. No integrator is needed!Plus, with our new AutoWindows feature, you can easily set up on a new mold quickly.
  4. Lead Time – Typically, people do not think of vision protection until after there is an issue, which means you need the system today – not months down the road. It is always important to ask the lead time to make sure that the timeline matches with the need of you and the company. Also, be sure to take into consideration the installation time (which can be weeks or months for integrators) and any training period.When purchasing a MoldWatcher or QualityStation, Avalon’s lead time is 2-3 weeks and training with installation is only 1-2 days.
  5. Lighting – One important feature of a vision system is the lighting. It may not seem important, but it plays a major role in the function of the vision system when integrated into the process. If a company is using insufficient lighting it can cause false rejects/accepts or be non-functional.Avalon’s Near-IR lighting is patented and created specifically for the use on injection molding and die cast machines. Unlike other companies who use traditional lighting – such as ring lights – our lighting will not be affected by the everyday work environment.

When purchasing vision protection for your press, there are many considerations to make. With Avalon, you can always have the peace of mind that you have made the right choice.