National Instruments CompactRIO, Single-Board RIO get machine vision capabilities

Pre-integrated automation: Programmable automation controllers and embedded systems from National Instruments (NI) provide advanced control, measurements, and machine vision within one.


National Instruments adds vision capabilities to NI CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO.

National Instruments adds vision capabilities to NI CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO.

National Instruments (Nasdaq: NATI) added machine vision capabilities to NI CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO hardware devices that provide engineers with an integrated measurement and control platform for industrial and embedded systems. With this integrated platform solution, CompactRIO becomes one of the only programmable automation controllers (PACs) on the market to perform vision tasks, providing a more efficient, all-in-one design with a smaller physical footprint and less system complexity, the company said in a Feb. 9 statement.


With the addition of machine vision, engineers can use CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO devices in a variety of advanced measurement and control applications. It is an ideal solution for autonomous and semi-autonomous robotics applications for obstacle avoidance, pattern recognition and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), where advanced control and vision functionality are required, NI said. Industrial surveillance applications served include machine condition monitoring and critical vessel monitoring, when connectivity to infrared cameras is vital. Finally, the real-time OS and integrated field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) used with both CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO eases the process of FDA validation for embedded medical devices, the company said.

Machine vision systems consist of two parts: image acquisition and image processing. To acquire images, NI vision acquisition software has expanded to support Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, including those from Basler Vision Technologies. In addition to native IP camera support, National Instruments Alliance Partner moviMED has released the AF-1501 analog frame grabber for NI C Series products that can acquire monochrome images. To process images, engineers now can program and deploy image processing libraries to CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO deployment targets with NI LabView 2009 graphical system design using the NI Vision Development Module 2009 software, which contains hundreds of image processing and machine vision functions.

"At our Global Technology Development facility, we are always looking to optimize the size, speed and reliability of our manufacturing machines," said Ben Engelen, senior project engineer for vision and measurement at Philips GTD Mechanization. "The CompactRIO platform provides the high-speed determinism we need for efficient and precise component placement. The new MoviMED AF-1501 frame grabber module helps us integrate video feedback into the same platform and fully automate the entire process."

NI said Engineers can add vision capabilities to the following CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO controllers: NI cRIO-901x, NI cRIO-902x and the NI cRIO-907x and NI sbRIO-96xx systems.

Readers can also visit to view a recommended configuration.
Also read:
- Machine vision: NI embedded vision system adds inspection speed with multicore processing ;
- How to Choose a Controller - article by Control Engineering ; and
- Machine control channel from Control Engineering .
- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering,


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