Ten execution concepts for machine vision design and configuration

In order for a successful machine vision design, reliability and repeatability must be achieved through careful analysis and design tactics from start to finish of the process.


When designing and configuring a machine vision system for industrial automation, high levels of reliability and repeatability need to be achieved in order to see return on investment over the lifetime of the system.

This can be more difficult than it seems. Part variation, light variation, part presentation variation and external influencers are all obstacles to achieving proper levels of reliability and repeatability.

So how can these obstacles be overcome to create a highly accurate machine vision system? Design and configuration play a major role in the reliability and repeatability of a machine vision system. These 10 execution concepts can help set up a successful automation project.

1. Have a formal process for application analysis. Account for known obstacles to reliability and repeatability.

2. Specify for success. What does success look like? 

3. Spend 80% of design time on imaging. This is the most important aspect of design and configuration and should receive the most  attention.

4. Try before buying. Test equipment on application before purchasing it.

5. Design and modify for automated inspection. Determine which necessary ways to customize the system for specific application needs. 

6. Optimize for communication. The machine vision equipment needs to communicate data effectively to be reliable and repeatable.

7. Use all of the tools. There are a lot of machine vision tools available to optimize automated inspection, not every one will be perfect for each specific application.

8. Minimize end-user parameter adjustment. This ensures the system will work as described.

9. Refine (not design) online. Make sure the system is running properly before putting it online. It will be much more difficult to change design after it’s implemented.

10. Test on a statistically significant sample set. Ensure the test results will also reflect real-world applications.

Reliability and repeatability is key to the performance and value of a machine vision system in automation projects. There are many things that can be done during design and configuration to ensure success. 

This article originally appeared on the AIA blog. The AIA is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Carly Marchal, content specialist, CFE Media, cmarchal@cfemedia.com.

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