Machine vision uses cameras, lighting and computer processors to automatically extract information from digital images in an industrial environment. A camera captures digital images of objects moving along a production line, and analyzes them against defined criteria. If the item is deemed a reject, then it is removed from the production line.
In modern production facilities, the focus is on either producing products at a high volume or a high accuracy, while keeping the per-unit cost low. Machine vision has the advantage over human inspectors of being faster, more consistent and works for longer periods of time. In doing so will reduce defects, increase yield, and can provide traceability.
Bad parts getting into the world and into customers hands can tarnish the reputation of a manufacturers and lead to costly product recalls. Such as:
• Mislabeled food items or pharmaceutical products
• Incorrect part installed on a frontal air bag inflator
• Missing monster card in a booster pack of an adolescent card game
By catching defects early in the production process it will reduce waste, because bad parts can be identified and eliminated before they are built into larger assemblies. Which will avoid wasting valuable material, or the need to rework parts.
Machine vision can also be used to kick off misaligned parts feeding into a machine, which in not doing so, would cause a jam and force a production stoppage until it could be cleared out. Systems can also be designed to inspect multiple different parts or configurations with the same setup. By using an HMI display an operator can select a part of list parts and inspection parameters would automatically be loaded and thus adding negligible setup time to the process. And yet verify the results of a new setup with the very first part produced.
The addition of data collection to a machine vision system, traceability can be implemented. By tracking parts being consumed by reading the 1D and/or 2D barcodes or performing OCR to read the text on a label during a process, it can help manufacturer avoid component shortages, reduce inventory and shorten inventory. The data collection could also be to store testing data into a relational database, such as a leak tester, thermal tester, or electrical tester. By associating this test data with a unique ID, in the event of a failure at final testing or failure in the field, the test results can easily be recalled for root cause analysis.
With the competitive drive towards improved product quality and better quantity management, machine vision inspection technology plays an important role in the product manufacturing process. >Read More
As machine vision integrators, we provide a wide range of inspection solutions for applications including “presence or absence” verification. This inspection process is often used to capture product features and position details at critical points during the manufacturing and assembly process.
For product measurement and gauging applications, we provide vision solutions that capture critical product and part dimensions within micron-level tolerances, and at high speeds. Our measurement and gauging solutions incorporate the latest in real-time calibration, along with precision edge, and contour detection for exact part dimension analysis and matching.
Machine vision plays an important role in product and part identification by reading data codes, barcodes, and locating unique patterns on items based on color, shape, or size. >Read More
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
OCR is a vision-based identification process that converts text images into encoded text that is read by computers. OCR also converts text into strings of characters that are analyzed by computer algorithms to identify text characters that most closely match a target image or text code.
Optical Character Verification (OCV)
OCV determines the text quality and identifies potential text errors by comparing it against a target image. It measures the degree of similarity between an image and defined reference text characters.
Pattern matching extracts visual information from an image or a video stream in order to detect errors, count and measure objects, provide motion analysis, and compare an image’s unique pattern, color, shape, and size with target images.
Bar Code Reading
A barcode is a machine-readable image that is printed on a label and applied to a part or product (print-and-apply), or directly marked on a part, product or package (DPM). Barcodes contains encoded data about an item (unique identification or serialization), or encoded data about a batch or lot of items. Barcode scanners are typically used to capture and read bar code data in order to identify and track parts throughout manufacturing and assembly.
Machine vision offers many benefits, but robotics is one of the biggest winners for many reasons. When combined with machine vision guidance systems, robots can perform repetitive tasks, and accommodate changing parameters and part positions better than more traditional guidance methods. >Read More
Pick & Place
Vision guided robots play an important role in today’s manufacturing and assembly processes. They locate parts to be picked up during production, and determine specific locations to place them. Without robots, product and part production requires precisely “fixtured” line set-ups to ensure items maintain correct position and orientation. Relying on fixtures can be expensive, and time consuming to change when product and part types, and configurations are changed.
Poka Yoke Inspection
Poka Yoke is a mistake proof inspection guidance process developed by Toyota that utilizes machine vision to improve production quality and efficiency while isolating product defects before they are passed along to the next step in a production operation.
Due to the increased in processor speeds, complex calculations for 3D algorithms are now practical at production speeds. This opens new possibilities solving problems not easily done with tradition 2D solutions for a wide variety of identification, inspection, and guidance applications. >Read More
Laser profiling captures the 3D surface of a part through triangulation. A laser beam projected onto the part and is deformed by the height variance of the part. Through calibration, the position of the laser beam relative in the camera's image corresponds to a Z-height. By stitching together multiple images and depth map of the whole part can be generated.
Multi-camera stereo vision is used to capture 3-D image information based on multiple 2-D views of a part or product. Stereo vision is often used in robot navigation to estimate the distance (range) of a particular object from a camera. Image information is presented in a stereo disparity map created by matching corresponding image coordinates gathered from multiple cameras.
Photometric stereo uses a number of images to reconstruct the object surface by turning on 1 light at a time. The camera and the object are fixed, while the scene is illuminated from a single different known orientations in each image. Knowing the position of the light sources and the reflectance properties of the object, the surface can be reconstructed.
Depth From Focus
Within a scene object points have different distances to the camera. The camera has a limited depth of field. Depending on the distance and the focus different object points are displayed sharply in the image. Taking images with various object distances each object point can be displayed sharply in at least one image. By determining in which image an object point is projected sharply the distance can be determined.
Time of Flight
The time-of-flight method is a hardware-based technology, which uses a camera also consisting of a light source. The sensor in the camera measures the time in between the point of when light is emitted by the camera and the point of time when light reflected at the object’s surface returns to the camera. Different distances correspond to different time gaps measured by the camera.
A Machine Vision System Integrator invests time to understand a customer's unique requirements and will design and build a vision solution that meets the customer's specific manufacturing needs in terms of performance, reliability and adaptability. Often this means Vision System Integrators are undertaking one of a kind projects; specifying and configuring systems to a customer's requirements.
We can provide stand-alone turn-key machine vision systems with Cognex Dataman, Cognex In-Sight, Cognex VisionPro or MvTec Halcon for a wide range of manufacturing, assembly and packaging applications. Our documentation package includes mechanical, electrical, technical users guide and unlocked source code.
Have an existing production line with Cognex or MvTec Halcon or just purchased a machine that needs machine vision added to detect defects? As Machine Vision Specialists we can surgically add machine vision into existing equipment and communicate with the controls system to contain detects.
Have an existing machine vision system or in the processes of commissioning a system on your own and it’s not meeting expectations? Running out of time to make it right? Our trained, and experienced Cognex and MvTec Halcon field service experts can determine the root cause and modify lighting, optics or vision algorithms to improve accuracy and reliability.
Interface systems and devices can be one of the more challenging parts of setting up a machine vision system. We have experience sending, receiving and storing data for Ethernet, serial, DH+, EthernetIP, OPC, SQL databases and many more.
We meet unique machine vision system requirements by cross training our engineers and having expertise in both controls and software development. Each engineering discipline brings unique perspectives and allows us to be able to program any device whether it’s a robot, plc, RFID reader or IOT. Then provide a custom HMI that can manipulate, collect or show runtime data from them all.
We offer a two-day hands-on training course that is geared towards plant support personnel. Students will be introduced on how to connect to, focus and align a Cognex In-Sight camera, as well as, how to apply the most commonly used machine vision tools. Emphasis is placed on spreadsheet Boolean logic and how to tracethrough a program.
We invest heavily in our vision lab. Not having to borrow every single piece of equipment, means a quicker turnaround time on evals.
We follow a formalized project management process on our turnkey projects and provide project updates every two weeks.
Documentation is part of our final billable milestone and it's target audience is your maintenance staff. Which means, no documentation, we don't get paid.
Many machine builders add Vision to their line-card and may only do a couple of machine vision projects a year. Machine Vision is all that we do.
With a solid background in both Controls and Software development, we can figure out how to communicate with any piece of equipment.
Whether it is a plc program, a robot program or a .Net program we design our systems with Fault Tolerance in mind. If an error or fault occurs a program or robot needs to exit its routine cleanly and safely.
We specialize in designing vision solutions based on your specific inspection, identification and guidance needs using the latest vision devices, lighting, hardware and software technology.
We are a trusted system integration partners for today’s top machine vision technology companies.
4th Vector Technologies has provided integrated machine vision systems for top industrial companies for more than 18 years.
Are you seeking a solution for your current project? Let us help you determine if machine vision technology can meet your objectives. We offer a free 10 hour evaluation; simply send us your parts and description of your requirements and constraints. Upon receiving your samples at 4th Vector Technologies, we will schedule testing and provide feedback via a simple report, photos or video depending on the application.