CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited
Multi-camera vision system sets new standards for speed and capability
Keywords: Machine vision
Omron has developed a new breed of vision system designed to provide the high-speed image capture and processing required on modern, multi-product, production lines. Its innovative capabilities enable more complete inspections to be performed in a shorter time frame.
Combining high-speed grey search inspection with advanced features such as blemish detection and optical character recognition, the F160 multi-camera vision system represents a step change in the capabilities of machine vision sensors.
The new double-speed camera system enables images to be captured up to four times faster than with previous generation cameras, whilst image processing speed is up to ten times faster. This allows the F160 to provide effective inspection on even ultra-high speed production lines.
Supporting the processor is the use of flash memory cards, which can be used to store the pass/fail criteria for a range of different products, so that the F160 can be integrated onto multi-product lines. These factors are supported by a comprehensive selection of cameras, including a number fitted with intelligent lighting modules, allowing the optimum combination of camera and processor for each individual application.
Importantly, the system has been designed in such a way that initial set up can be quickly performed even by operators unfamiliar with vision systems, thanks to user-friendly, conversational menus. Indeed, the software can be configured to give it the look and feel of other aspects of the production line's control system; thus operators are presented with a fully integrated extension of the machine control system rather than the front end of a vision system.
The F160 offers a range of image processing tasks, combining essential grey search facilities with advanced functions such as optical character recognition, blemish detection and label verification or "blob analysis".
This is supported by excellent position compensation tools, which enable the target to be presented to the vision system in any orientation. The x y co-ordinates of the target are precisely calculated, with the image then corrected, by software, in order that it can be compared with the user taught reference. The target co-ordinates can be made available to the downstream control system, motion controllers for example, to allow accurate positioning or orientation of the product prior to a subsequent operation.
In addition to the simple grey search, the F160 provides a blemish detection function, which will identify any flaw, blemish or defect, which appears within the search region. This is an essential function where the surface quality of a product has to meet tight criteria but it is difficult to specify the likely fault or blemish. The system builds in a high degree of intelligence to distinguish between a genuine blemish and an expected pattern on the target. The blemish detection region can be closely defined, or a "Variable Box" function can be used which allows the search region to vary according to the size of the target presented to the system (Plate 7).
Plate 7 OMRON – multi-camera vision system sets new standards for speed and capability
Using Omron's QUEST optical character recognition system, the F160 can recognise and process text characters. This allows greater assurance to be built into production lines, which print, for example, incremental code data on to the product, or sort products according to printed data. The system will also provide functions such as print mark recognition, print quality registration, and checking label orientation and positioning.
The label inspection function, or "blob analysis" allows the F160 to inspect a number of, the same or different, targets that appear within the search region and have to be positioned relative to an overall pattern, for example keys on a phone. These targets can be inspected both individually and as a whole to confi.u location and so provide a higher degree of assurance in key areas of the manufacturing line.
Another inspection facility is the ability of the F160 to condition the image being inspected, allowing the user to amplify or attenuate certain areas of the target. These image filtering and conditioning facilities enable more repeatable searches to be carried out, more precise positioning data to be calculated, help to reduce any effects of ambient lighting and enable the system to be used on targets that can vary in their quality.
With its high speed, multi-product memory, advanced capabilities and ease of use, Omron's F160 vision system provides a new benchmark in machine vision, offering effective integration and reliable inspection on even the fastest of production lines.
For further information, please contact:
Paul Borrett at Omron Electronics Ltd, 1 Apsley Way, Staples Comer, London, NW2 7HF. Tel: 020 8450 4646.