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Vision Makes a Comeback

July 8, 2010
In Contrast to 2009, OEMs Are Ready to See the Light Again

Adoption of global standards for camera interfaces will give builders cost and time savings, says Ben Dawson, director of strategic development, Dalsa (www.dalsa.com). "Low-cost smart cameras will get smarter, faster and easier to use, so they will be an inexpensive and easy way for builders to solve routine vision problems such as part location or gauging."

Label inspection, whether to confirm label presence and position or to monitor label information, is a rapidly growing application in the vision system market, explains Gary Kocken, national sales manager at PPT Vision (www.pptvision.com). "Labels and direct part marks (DPMs) are used in a wide array of industries from pharmaceutical and consumer goods to automotive and electronics," he says. "As traceability increasingly becomes a critical strategy in all of these markets, proper label content is essential."

Recent advances in LED technology, including substantial increases in power and brightness, have enhanced the effectiveness of vision lighting, says Dan Holste, director of vision products at Banner Engineering (www.bannerengineering.com). "In a vision application, the user must establish optimal contrast between the target object and its background to ensure reliable, repeatable detection, so a more-effective lighting solution leads to a more accurate vision inspection," he says.

"In 2010, traditional markets have loosened the purse strings and now look to solve vision problems by driving down the cost of the solution," says Francois Bertrand, vice president sales and marketing, Matrox Imaging (www.matrox.com/imaging). "We see pent-up demand for machine vision from the Asian semiconductor market, including wafer fabrication, electronic packaging, LCD and LED lighting. This demand comes from factories as well as from equipment makers based in Asia or that have relocated to Asia. In North America and Europe, we note a strong demand for our products in the packaging industry."

EXPANDED VISIONMachine vision capabilities are available with CompactRIO and Single-Board RIO hardware devices. To acquire images, NI vision acquisition software has expanded to support Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, including those from Basler Vision Technologies. To process images, engineers now can program and deploy image processing libraries to CompactRIO and Single-Board RIO deployment targets with LabView 2009 graphical system design using the Vision Development Module 2009 software.National Instruments800/258-7022www.ni.com
MULTI-VISIONMulti-purpose VOS300 vision series combines a camera, illumination, digital outputs, process data and five evaluation methods in a single sensor housing. It provides a 100 mm sensing range when using internal illumination and a 500 mm sensing range when using external illumination, with 640 x 480 resolution. VOS300 vision sensors are configured via Ethernet using VOS3-Config software, and operate without a PC during automatic operation.Pepperl+Fuchs330/486-0001www.am.pepperl-fuchs.com
SMART VISIONIris GT smart camera comes pre-installed with Windows XP Embedded. The cameras offer a dust-proof, immersion-resistant and rugged construction. A choice of image sensors combined with an Intel Atom embedded processor makes the cameras suitable for a variety of machine-vision applications. Designed for deployment in custom applications, Iris GT has a PC-like development environment.Matrox Imaging800/804-6243www.matrox.com/imaging
ZFX IDZFX-CD vision sensors with ID verification capabilities read linear barcodes and two-dimensional bar codes. One- and two-camera models are available, and the vision sensors provide real-time images on a built-in LCD touchscreen panel that enables setup, commissioning and production run changeover. The ZFX-CD models add 1D and 2D code-reading tools to the existing ZFX inspection tools.Omron Industrial Automation866/88-omronwww.omron247.com
BOA smart camera with iNspect Express software interface let users prototype and deploy solutions, and it is available with a fully featured emulator for off-line application development and debugging. The camera’s 44 mm3 form factor is designed for tight-fit machine applications, and a IP67-rated housing permits the camera to be deployed in harsh, washdown environments.
Datasensor SVS vision sensors have a frame rate of 60 fps (60 images/sec), Ethernet communication, a teach button, 640x480 pixel resolution and nine inspection tools, including pattern match, positioning verification, edge count, contrast comparison, 360° pattern match, contour match, width comparison, brightness check and character verification. The smart vision sensors are available in two product lines. SVS1 models provide setup via handheld configurator, and SVS2 models can be connected to a PC and offer multiple controls.
Giddy for GigE
TXG cameras with PoE over Cat. 6 Ethernet cable, up to 100m, eliminates the need for a separate power cable. Frame rates to 90 frames/sec provide resolutions from VGA to 5 megapixel. Standard functions include gain, offset and exposure time. A generic programming interface facilitates integration into an application, and SDK software provides camera control and development.
CV-5000 vision system has a 5-megapixel camera for transferring ultra-high-definition images in 61.2 msec. Connecting extra lighting controllers or camera expansion units to either side of the base controller creates a solution without added PLC programming or wiring. New algorithms detect foreign objects or burrs on irregularly shaped profiles and filter out glare or background noise. The controllers have built-in statistical functions that let the user view the inspection results in real-time.
888/539-3623, x70703
Open Source Library

Open source program library OpenCV is adapted for VC smart cameras to increase their application range and includes many algorithms enabling movement detection, facial recognition, object tracking, contour processing and image segmentation.
Vision Components
The iVu series TG image sensor combines the simplicity of a photoelectric sensor and the intelligence of a vision sensor. It offers three advanced sensor types in one compact, rugged package, integrated or external lighting, 68.5-mm LCD touchscreen, software emulator to program the iVu off-line, 752x480 CMOS imager, remote teach function, onboard USB port for upload/download to USB drive and inspection/system logging for rapid analysis.
Banner Engineering
VisionPro Surface software monitors the visual appearance of material. Using statistical analysis, it identifies potential defects in the material’s surface and classifies the defects into groups based on similarity in contrast, texture and/or geometry. During the training phase, the user adjusts the system’s sensitivity for defect detection and assigns names or values for defects to distinguish between different types.
iPORT NTx-Pro IP engine adds GigE connectivity to cameras and systems. The NTx-Pro board includes an FPGA, which, in combination with its onboard 2 MB of SRAM and up to 128 MB of frame buffer memory, is designed to enable a wide range of onboard processing options. The engine is available as an OEM board, reference design and FPGA IP core.
Inspector I40 Flex vision sensor offers increased inspection speeds and high image resolutions. The sensor is designed to keep up with the speed of nearly any production line, no matter the angle or orientation of the product. It has 640x480 resolution and Ethernet IP connectivity. The I40 also offers additional storage capabilities that allow users to save an unlimited number of images to an off-line system or a server.

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