Golf Ball Sorter and Collator Summary

Project Summary:

  • The machine sorts up to 3000 balls/hour
  • Brands can be successfully identified within milliseconds of entering the sensor scanning range
  • Balls are scanned up to four times/second
  • Three cameras scan simultaneously to avoid sortation errors
  • The machine is designed to sort up to 10 different ball brands/models

Golf Ball Sorter and Collator

Here at Sapcote Engineering Ltd, we are always ’on par’ with the requirements of customers, not only with conveyor and platform solutions but a wide range of machinery that could solve your automation problems.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the golf balls you’ve hit into the lake at your local golf course? Well, we were tasked with creating a solution to help with that exact problem.

The client being an established lake golf ball provider that processes over 6,000,000 golf balls each year chose Sapcote Engineering to design and manufacture a bespoke machine as part of their ball-handling processes.

One of the biggest issues with processing golf balls that have been sitting at the bottom a lake is that when harvested they can be covered in slime and mud. To get the balls free of debris we designed and manufactured two conveyors submerged into two different tanks for the purpose of bleaching, de-scaling and transporting the balls between tanks until they are ready for the more complex stage of sortation.

Golf balls come in many different brands so you’d think surely they would require manual sorting? Not on our watch. We designed a machine that is not only able to distinguish the brand of the balls but can also physically sort them into groups based on brand and model.

The balls are fed onto the machine one-by-one as they are seated on a grooved track, pushed along by a chained conveyor as they go into the scanning unit. This consists of bright lighting and three high-speed eagle-eyed sensors that scan the balls for logos as they are spun around. Once a logo is recognised by the vision system its destiny is determined as it continues along its path towards the next stage. A series of blowers synchronised with the scanner system is positioned along the track as each blower is programmed to only blow a specific brand of the ball down its own aligned chute. The balls drop down the hole to be grouped with their namesake, thus ensuring even the worst shots still make a (much automated) hole in one!

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