Vision Systems Explained In Simple Terms

The manufacturing industry has been revolutionized by the use of vision systems. These systems combine cameras with computers to ‘see’ a part then evaluate it. The camera, or ‘vision’, system can detect flaws, confirm sizes, take measurements and observe from a package size object down to millimeters on a circuit board. Basically, vision systems replace a human having to look at everything themselves with magnifying lenses and/or calipers.

How Do Vision Systems Work

The major components of Vision Systems include camera(s), sensor(s), a processing unit, a specialized software, and several output devices.

There are three main steps involved in the operation of a vision system:

  1. Imaging: An image is acquired from the camera or sensor and in some cases, the acquired image is pre-processed to optimize the image and ensure that all the required features are prominent.
  2. Processing: The processing unit and specialized software analyzes the captured image and identifies specific predetermined features, runs measurements, compares them to the allowed specifications and sorts them accordingly.
  3. Output: Results from the analyzed data is in turn relayed using output sensors to appropriate sections which triggereither a pass or fail command. Data, like measurements can be logged for record keeping.

Putting Vision Systems To Use

There are several real world applications of vision systems, with an emphasis on processes in the manufacturing industry which include, but not limited to: predictive maintenance, quality inspection, barcode analysis, production assembly automation, reduction or defects, 3Dvision inspection, and safety improvements.
  1. Predictive Maintenance: Vision Systems can be put in place strategically to constantly analyze all the components of active machinery by garnering data points, analyzing them to identify failure signals and take appropriate measures to prevent break down. This is very effective to avoid expensive downtimes and reduce reactive maintenance.
  2. Quality Inspection: It is very important for manufacturing plants to ensure that all products that roll outof their assembly lines adhere to certain safety, production and quality standards. Human input is fallible and prone to subjective variance. Vision systems eliminate those variances, do not need lunch breaks and can work 24 hours non-stop.
  3. Barcode Analysis: Majority of manufacturing plants use certain parts that are only discernable with barcodes and several hundreds of these codes need to be read, identified and processed daily which is a daunting task at this scale for humans using handheld barcode scanners. However, through optic input by vision systems, hundreds of barcodes can be analyzed within minutes and sorted based on preinstalled instructions; saving time and money.

Cameras Used By Vision Systems

The Hikvision MV-CB060-10UM, Board Level Camera is a perfect example of an effective camera used within a vision system. This Hikvision camera, with its single board design, flexible configuration, and support for auto exposure control makes it adaptable by any manufacturer to their environment. More interesting specifications can be found here. Manufacturing has successfully paired computers with cameras to speed up the work of quality assurance, machine malfunction detection and production line monitoring. Vision systems are now a workhorse tool for manufacturers around the world.