The Eyes Have It

Interfaces and Standards Have Made Machine Vision Inspection Cool

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Since its inception and initial implementation in the early 1980s, machine vision has evolved in its sophistication and user-friendliness. Frost & Sullivan points to several significant advancements in machine vision.

According to Frost & Sullivan, “Machine vision equipment has become more efficient in its measuring and inspection capabilities. The IEEE 1394 interface does not require a computer host to function and, therefore, can produce higher sustained data transfer rates. Gigabit Ethernet has evolved into the most widely implemented physical and link layer protocol and is a built-in feature for many PCs. Digital systems offer a deeper grey scale, better signal quality and higher resolution images for inspection purposes.”

Another big influence on machine vision has been the introduction of standards specific to machine-vision. The Camera Link standard for interfacing cameras to frame grabbers, which digitize analog video signals, ensures easy integration of these devices, even ones from different manufacturers. Connectors, cables, data format and control signals are all standardized. Industry-standard cables will also drive competitive pricing when manufactured in volume, says a study by SPIE.

More recently, the GigEVision standard has emerged. SPIE says it regulates how Gigabit Ethernet connects cameras to computers, not necessarily with a frame grabber. The distance between the camera and the computer now effectively is unlimited. In difficult environments, only the camera needs protection; the computer can be in an office.

The Automated Imaging Assn. hosts both the Camera Link and GigEVision standards.

ZFX machine vision sensor in one- or two-camera models condenses image-processing know-how into recipes that let users select from auto-list options for shorter commissioning time. Hardware consists of a camera with intelligent lighting and a controller with built-in HMI. A three-step procedure reduces measurement setup.
Omron Electronics
Matrox 4Sight X embedded systems integrate video capture, processing and display. The systems come with a Core 2 Duo or Celeron processor, as well as an Intel GMA x3100 2D/3D graphics engine to off-load image processing. For image acquisition, 4SightX features dual, integrated Gigabit Ethernet ports for GigE Vision and three IEEE 1394 a/b ports.
Matrox Imaging
514/ 685-2630
CS24D color sensor can recognize 15 colors and includes Windows-based ColorSense software for configuration and optimization. The sensor distinguishes among colors and communicates results via four discrete outputs. The sensor determines the best color match regardless of surrounding colors and ambient light variations.
Delta Computer Systems
NI 1722 and NI 1724 embedded smart cameras combine an industrial controller with an image sensor and NI vision software for image processing directly on the cameras. Units ship with Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI), an interactive software environment for configuring, benchmarking and deploying applications.
National Instruments
Intelligent, compact vision system SBOC-M/SBOI is an alternative to high-speed cameras for diagnostics and monitoring of fast-motion sequences on high-speed production equipment. It simplifies fault localization, integrates into existing installations, connects via Ethernet, has a sampling rate of 185-2,000 images/sec and records the I/O.
631/ 435-0800
In-Sight Micro is a complete vision system in a 30x30x60 mm package and comes with EasyBuilder configuration software and smart VisionView operator interface display. Five models include a 2 megapixel model for flexible mounting in tight spaces on robots, production lines and machinery.
PresencePlus Pro-ProII controller with an expanded toolset for PresencePlus vision cameras includes a suite of gray-scale tools, including locate, pattern-find and count, geometric find and count, edge, object, blob, average gray scale and optional bar code reader. Color models have the color match tool for detecting an infinite number of color variations.
Banner Engineering

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