The Eyes Have It

June 10, 2008
Interfaces and Standards Have Made Machine Vision Inspection Cool

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
CV-3000 vision system platform provides multiple color and monochrome camera connectivity using four cameras from a selection of eight different models. Triple-processors provide faster software tool processing times. An advanced color engine (ACE) offers 16.7 million auto-teach color filters and the CPU processes up to 20,000 parts/min.
Keyence Corp. of America
Genie GigE Vision-compliant cameras have a 2/3-in. CCD sensor in color (C1410) and monochrome (M1410) versions running at 22 fps. Features include global electronic shutter with exposure control, flat-field correction and color conversion used by the color model. It acts as a single machine vision component, integrating both advanced camera and board image acquisition technologies. 
PV310 monochrome vision systems offer 13 pre-processing image functions to help with difficult-to-find defects and transfer images in real time via Ethernet. A 360º, low-contrast-matching function or flaw checker detects defects on uneven surfaces. Auto Area Adjustment automatically adjusts the inspection area.
Panasonic Electric Works
MVS color system with a compact controller supports up to three cameras. Controller has a built-in 4.3-in. TFT color monitor and on-board digital input and output connections including USB and serial. Simple, straightforward programming provides easy operation and setup. Built-in power supply connects to three light sources.
Optex FA
Nerlite LT430 backlights deliver high image-processing contrast with continuous or strobe operation for static to high-speed operations to verify presence or absence of component properties and for measuring, edge highlighting  and component positioning or identification.
Siemens Energy & Automation
Inspector vision sensor provides a pass/fail output for verifying label position, date code presence and cap inspection in packaging, as well as bowl feeder inspection and verification of part assembly. The sensor has 384x384 resolution and an IP67 metal housing.
Impact high-speed intelligent cameras have a software tool for deploying vision inspection in factory environments. KickStart offers preconfigured setup panels. Vision Program Manager lets users deploy a complete vision solution, and Control Panel Manager provides an HMI.
PPT Vision
CM-140GE, CB-104GE, CM-200GE and CB-200-GE digital, progressive-scan CCD cameras and the C3 Camera Suite let users switch from camera to camera, and tier to tier, depending on application and environment needs. The cameras belong to the C3 Compact entry-level product series with a small form factor and a single-tap high frame architecture.
GiantDragon line of monochrome and color Gigabit Ethernet and GeniCam-compliant industrial cameras leverage the GigE Vision standard for real-time delivery of high-bandwidth, non-compressed imaging data to host PCs via CAT-5e and CAT-6 cables at distances to 100 m without specialized hardware or frame grabbers.
Toshiba Teli America

Embedded Application System (EASY) industrial computer and machine vision implementation platform runs on Windows XP/XP Embedded or Linux on Celeron-powered units with four USB 2.0 ports, one GigE interface and VGA display, up to Core Duo-based units with 2 GB RAM, 80 GB disk memory, DVI or VGA video, eight USB 2.0 ports, a six-port GigE switch and PoE on all channels.
Value Engineering Alliance

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