Automation without machine vision: unthinkable!
Without modern automation technology the economic production of all manner of goods would simply be impossible. For years, imaging and machine vision has been playing a more and more important role: this technology turns "blind" machines and equipment into "seeing" ones and enables applications to be realised which would be impossible to convert to other sensor technologies, or only at great expenditure.
Modern production systems utilise the performance capabilities of automation components such as robots, memory-programmable controls (SPS), sensory technology, handling technology, drive technology and many other elements for safe, high-quality, fault-free and economical production. Image processing, often also referred to as machine vision, has become established in many industry sectors as a high-performance and economical method for automated visual quality control. Even at high speeds and with stringent requirements for accuracy it allows one hundred per cent inspection of the manufactured products and is thus an ideal tool to strengthen the competitiveness of companies.
An important aspect in terms of economics is that products can be inspected optically prior to being finished. These inspections at an early stage in the production process allow timely detection of faults and rejection of faulty parts before they pass through the entire manufacturing process. This avoids unnecessary costs and increases economic efficiency.
The performance levels of imaging components such as cameras, imaging capturing hardware, image processing software and the most commonly used PC systems are increasing continuously. This is why machine vision is permanently attracting new applications in more and more industry sectors and contributing to efficient manufacturing in a major way. Image processing is an integral element of today's automation systems and equipment, one that cannot be done without any more.
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Machine vision is a well-established technique across a host of industries, improving quality and efficiency in the manufacturing and processing sectors. Its ability to make inspections reliably and at speed 24/7 makes it an invaluable enabling technology in quality control. Technological advances in machine vision continue to be made rapidly, opening up more and more possibilities.
The new JAI-GO-5100MP-PGE polarisation camera enables analysis of material thickness, stress points, and other defects not observable using standard imaging techniques. Featuring Sony’s IMX250MZR polarised CMOS sensor this GigE Vision camera can also reduce the effects of reflections and hot spots from shiny materials such as plastics and glass. The unique on-board calculation of key parameters such as angle and degree of linear polarisation frees up host resources for other processing tasks.
Machine vision already makes an important contribution to the manufacturing sector, primarily by providing automated inspection capabilities as part of QC procedures. However, the world of automation is becoming increasingly complex. Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and many other technologies present users and developers of vision systems with big challenges in the selection of the ideal system for their respective application.
Clear Vision Systems (CVS), manufactured by Kautex Textron CVS Ltd are designed to keep vehicle headlamps or the cameras and sensors used in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems clean from dirt, dust, frost, snow, and pollution. They are manufactured at Kautex plants in the UK, USA, China and the Czech Republic. Specialist water tubing assemblies used in these systems are constructed completely by hand.
The use of small to medium-sized collaborative robots for factory automation applications is growing at a rapid rate. Many of these applications are pick-and-place, so the robots require machine vision to visualize the scene, process information to make control decisions and execute precision-based mechanical movements.
The Swiss company, Leuthold Mechanik AG (HLM) makes machines for manufacturing aluminium containers which, among other things, are used for packaging pet food and foodstuffs. A core element of quality assurance is machine vision by STEMMER IMAGING.