LED Line Lights for Container Inspection

LED Line lights used for cargo container inspection assist in the management and flow of millions of containers through sea, air, road and rail ports each year. High quality imaging systems such as Optical Character Recognition systems (OCR) harness the illumination from LED light sources to capture and to read the identifying markings on containers and inspect the containers for damage. Many of the OCR applications use line scan illumination technology to perform these tasks that manage the flow of shipping containers into and out of ports.

How Inspection Systems Work

Inspection systems at ports are used to read the uniquely recognizable identifying marks on the exterior of the shipping containers. The process starts when the containers are loaded on a truck or a rail carriage and moved through the system in a classic line scan like application. LED line lights illuminate the containers for inspection as they pass through an automated terminal rail or gate system. The container is automatically identified and inspected for any damage which may have occurred during transport.

Environmental Considerations

External environmental conditions can provide a challenge for the illumination system:

  • Extreme Conditions
  • Temperature, rain water, salt water spray, as well as other environmental considerations, require the LED line light to be environmentally sealed and robust enough to withstand external conditions.
  • Intensity challengeUnlike a factory production line where the lighting can be placed very close to the target, a safe standoff distance is required, to allow different sizes of containers to pass easily through the system.
  • Length
  • The LED line light must also be long enough to illuminate the entire side of the container for the OCR system to properly work.
Figure 1. LED line light 4.4. meter


LED Line lights are an excellent illumination choice for use in OCR systems as they provide a robust, high quality illumination solution, manufactured in various lengths, power outputs, and varied environmental protection to overcome the challenges of container identification and inspection at terminals and ports. The use of LED Line lights in container inspection systems allows for the automation at shipping terminals (air, sea, road and land) to increase recognition and inspection of the huge volumes of cargo containers passing through the shipping terminals each year. For more information on the ProPhotonix range, visit the LED Line Lights page.

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