Machine Vision can take many forms from a very basic single camera system performing a simple inspection task at slow speed through to a highly complex multi camera high speed system performing multiple inspections per second. The demands on the processing system can be huge with vast amounts of data being generated and needing to be analysed in real time, and this puts significant demands on not only the optical design but also the data analysis software. In broad terms we use 2 types of machine vision system – one type being intelligent cameras, (where all the vision processing is on board), and the other type being PC based where a PC is used to process the image data. The decision on what system is most suitable for a project is very much made on an application by application basis. We use peripheral equipment, (which can be vitally important), from a range of vendors, but the vision systems vendors that we major with are Cognex and Stemmer. Both have excellent products – both intelligent cameras and PC based systems, and we tend to select on the best of breed for the specific application.
Basic machine vision systems run ‘headless’, i.e. the operator is only provided with basic inspection result data, which would typically be via indicator lamps. The next step up would be a system using a basic HMI, this providing image information to the operator so that they can see how the inspections are progressing and the reasons for rejection. The next step up is to use a single PC where more power and flexibility is provided together with compliance with regulations such as 21 CFR Part 11. For these applications we use our own product – synTI® for cost effective, flexible and compliant reasons. Finally, for multi camera, high speed systems we use multi PC solutions whereby one PC running synTI® acts as the operator interface and data repository with multiple sub PCs being dedicated to vision only processing.
Summary of Standard Machine Vision Systems
- Cognex InSight
- Cognex VisionPro