This paper is focused on the design of a machine vision system to solve a problem found in the manufacturing process of high quality polished porcelain tiles. This consists of sorting the tiles according to the criteria 'same appearance to the human eye' or in other words, by color and visual texture. In 1994 this problem was tackled and led to a prototype which became fully operational at production scale in a manufacturing plant, named Porcelanatto, S.A. The system has evolved and has been adapted to meet the particular needs of this manufacturing company. Among the main issues that have been improved, it is worth pointing out: (1) improvement to discern subtle variations in color or texture, which are the main features of the visual appearance; (2) inspection time reduction, as a result of algorithm optimization and the increasing computing power. Thus, 100 percent of the production can be inspected, reaching a maximum of 120 tiles/sec.; (3) adaptation to the different types and models of tiles manufactured. The tiles vary not only in their visible patterns but also in dimensions, formats, thickness and allowances. In this sense, one major problem has been reaching an optimal compromise: The system must be sensitive enough to discern subtle variations in color, but at the same time insensitive thickness variations in the tiles. The following parts have been used to build the system: RGB color line scan camera, 12 bits per channel, PCI frame grabber, PC, fiber optic based illumination and the algorithm which will be explained in section 4.