A developer friend at work who knew that I worked on Arduinos was asked me if I wanted to build a part for a factory process they were trying to improve.
A friend of his had an Injection Molding company that makes rollers for a Chinese kiosk photo printing machine. The printing machine has to verify that the printer paper is “official” using an NFC chip in the roller. His company makes the injection molded rollers and has to insert the stamped NFC chip. Shown below.
He needed a device that can run on the conveyor process that verifies that the NFC chip was installed without being damaged (i.e it still functions as an NFC chip). My first run worked but had a few false negatives (didn’t recognize fast enough for the speed). After a few design reworks, and rethinking the polling, I found a design that worked as an excellent QA device for their process.
The part is assembled, and an NFC chip is inserted, then it goes on the conveyor. If it passes inspection, the gate is moved by the arduino, it gets counted and placed in a box. If no NFC chip is detected the gate does not move and the part gets forced into the bin with the 3D printed gate. It gets counted as a “reject” by an IR sensor as it drops in the bin and reran later.