A vision system capable of imaging and detecting defects on reflective nonplanar surfaces in the production line at a high cadence is presented in this paper. Defects are typically dust located under the metallic layer of packaging products used in cosmetic industries. To realize this processing, structured lighting which reveals the defects in the image is proposed. Defects appear clearly in the images like a set of brilliant pixels in dark zones. The signature of the defect is then obtained. The size of this signature does not depend linearly on the size of the defect. It is a function of the observation angle. In order to realize a precise and robust process, the necessity of acquiring several images of the same defect is demonstrated. Because of the acquisition rate, it has been necessary to optimize image processing time by the means of an original laplacian filter and of high level techniques of programming. Results obtained using this detection system are finally presented. © 2001 SPIE and IS&T.