Manufacturers of vision-system technologies are finding it extremely challenging to keep pace with developments in the semiconductor industry. Miniaturization of components is creating the need for higher-throughput vision systems that offer superior accuracy levels.
"Commensurate advancements in lighting and illumination, lasers, lighting, processors, sensors, and optics have to complement machine-vision systems," reiterates Vishnu Sivadevan, Frost & Sullivan research analyst. "Developers face the challenge of reducing setup time and also incorporating greater enhanced functionality, scalability, and upgradeability." It is important to pay special attention to issues surrounding the expenditure and time on for set up time and installation. User-friendly features, robust integration capabilities, and reduction of operator training time will drive investments in machine vision systems.
Advanced automation standards also require machine-vision systems that are flexible and scalable across multiple products and production lines. This has given rise to compact vision systems and smart cameras that have built-in image sensors and processors and are more user-friendly. While smart cameras are replacing PC-based vision systems, the choice of architecture would depend upon the application to which the vision system is catering.
Once vision systems achieve greater versatility and upgradeability, the range of applications is likely to expand beyond industries and production processes.
High-end machine-vision applications are progressing from two-dimensional (2-D) to three-dimensional (3-D) imaging with techniques such as laser triangulation and stereovision. 3-D chip-based vision systems are emerging as cost-effective alternatives to weight sensors and stereovision techniques in automotive applications.
"Upgrading to 3-D inspection systems from 2-D inspection systems would constitute a phenomenal leap in performance for certain applications," observes Sivadevan.
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