Researcher Developed Image Analysis Algorithm That Automatically Isolates Metallic Flakes


    In the automobile industry, we have seen most of the cars are layered with a metallic shine, fixed by the appearances of the miniature metal flakes used in the paint. The team of researcher from the University of Liverpool developed a new method that offers automotive industry to consequently recognize these metal flakes. The new approach is based on the medical imaging technique optical coherence tomography, and it is in the process to improve the efficiency of the car industry. The lead researcher on the project and professor at the University of Liverpool, Mr. Yaochun Shen said, “We have demonstrated, for the first time, through OCT and our image analysis approach, we are able to quantitatively and automatically measure the size, number, and orientation of metal flakes in industrially applied car paint”.

    Further, Mr. Yaochun said, “This approach could be very useful for quality assurance processes used during car manufacturing”. The optical coherence tomography method requires the real-time cross-sectional images with micron-scale resolution. The method was invented in 1991 since its invention the method is extended in medical application. The technique is explored into the biomedical application because if its capabilities and inherent practicality. Mr. Shen added, “The painting step is a bottleneck in the manufacturing process”. He said, “If the finished car paint does not meet requirements, then it must be removed chemically and the car completely repainted. This not only costs time and money but also creates chemical waste and associated environmental issues”. A Car paint structure created with the help of four layers, and to examine the car paint quality assurance the industry currently using ultrasound imaging method. But the method cannot image the tiny metal flakes. The experts developed designed a 3D OCT instrument to image the flakes, they are also come up with an algorithm to automatically identify each and every flake in a sample. Mr. Shen said, “Our research with car paint and with pharmaceutical coatings shows that OCT, which has been used for some time for medical applications, can also be used for industrial applications”.