Machine vision software can be defined as the application of computer vision to production issues. Its principle is to provide production machines with the ability to see to automate quality control or process control tasks.
Since the Industrial Revolution, automation has made it possible to increase performance and production rates, make production more reliable, improve product quality, ensure traceability, and guarantee safety. Machine vision software is the latest development to streamline the checking and testing processes that are a crucial part of manufacturing.
Industrial vision applications are numerous and have opened up to all industry sectors. Indeed, technical progress, both in terms of cameras and lighting systems as well as computer systems, has allowed a considerable expansion of the field of machine vision application. Over the last decade, the integration of computer vision into machines using algorithms to interpret pixel patterns found in videos or images is called embedded vision.
What are the benefits of industrial machine vision systems?
The advantage of an machine vision system is that it is possible, with a single device, to systematically carry out, on all products, several different continuous checks which would require various equipment or personnel without this device:
- The assembly conformity check makes it possible to verify the absence or presence of elements constituting the product to be manufactured, as well as their positioning and orientation;
- Aspect control is intended to examine the surface conditions to detect appearance defects such as scratches, holes, stains, imperfections in shades of colour or texture, etc;
- Dimensional control consists of measuring the dimensions of a part such as a length, a diameter, a depth, an angle or a particular geometry;
- Parts counting and sorting can also be done by a machine vision system.
The production rate can be increased when items are produced and inspected at an increased speed compared to the speed and accuracy of the human eye. This is because machine vision reduces material loss when quality defects can be tackled in time and materials can be used as efficiently as possible. In addition, human resources that become available from quality control tasks can be deployed elsewhere, which leads to cost savings.
The control of machines or robots is also carried out thanks to vision systems. The camera then becomes the eye of the robot, which allows the detection and localization of a part to manipulate, assemble or align it. Tracking a trajectory for a removal operation can also be carried out this way.
Identification is intended to perform character recognition or verification and read barcodes, matrix codes or colour codes. This operation makes it possible to reference a product and to ensure its traceability and its statistical treatment, as well as to follow the management of stocks or the flow of production.
Optimised surveillance and enhanced security
In an industrial site and other areas, machine vision enables surveillance and security operations through access control (analysis of fingerprints, faces, hands, eyes, and license plates ) or tracking crowds or flows of people.
Industrial vision systems are therefore set up in production plants and, more precisely, at critical stages that justify control:
- Upon receipt of the raw materials and parts necessary for the development of the product;
- During the manufacturing process, in order to control the processing of raw materials and the assembly of parts or to control the manufacturing machines;
- Finally, machine vision software can also be used at the manufacturing end processes, monitoring packaging to control the finished product.
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