Seeing in Color

Here's the reader question we published in the November issue. I want to use machine vision to measure color variation and perform real-time control on our paint nozzles. I am not an expert, so I need a machine vision system that will be relatively easy to design, install, and maintain. Can I do this myself with assistance from the right vendor, or should I look for a systems integrator that specializes in machine vision?
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  • <p>This is a tough question, because it really depends on your vision experience. If this is your first vision install then the answer is easy- use an integrator, ask for a guarantee of performance, and learn all you can so that you might do the second application. In general, here is some things to watch for when "measuring" color: 1) Lighting is more important than any other component, make sure the lighting is consistent in your operating environment. 2) Define how much color shift is allowed, how much is a fail condition, and how will you test this vision system to see if it can detect your defined color differences. Can you produce "bad" samples at the edge of good and bad? 3)Get your quality people to "sign-off" on a standard. This is tough, but will save countless days of testing during startup. 4) Finally, you will want to do some homework on whether or not you need a relative color measurement or an absolute color measurement. There are ways to accomplish each, but the hardware and software are very different and not usually interchangeable. Feel free to email me if you have more questions.</p>

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