In the fashion field, the use of electroplated small metal parts such as studs, clips and buckles is widespread. The plate is often made of precious metal, such as gold or platinum. Due to the high cost of these materials, it is strategically relevant and of primary importance for manufacturers to avoid any waste by depositing only the strictly necessary amount of material. To this aim, companies need to be aware of the overall number of items to be electroplated so that it is possible to properly set the parameters driving the galvanic process. Accordingly, the present paper describes a simple, yet effective machine vision-based method able to automatically count small metal parts arranged on a galvanic frame. The devised method, which relies on the definition of a rear projection-based acquisition system and on the development of image processing-based routines, is able to properly count the number of items on the galvanic frame. The system is implemented on a counting machine, which is meant to be adopted in the galvanic industrial practice to properly define a suitable set or working parameters (such as the current, voltage, and deposition time) for the electroplating machine and, thereby, assure the desired plate thickness from one side and avoid material waste on the other.
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