Vision: Robotic patent; products

Vision sensors, a patent for single vision-guided robotics, an image acquistion board, cameras, contracts, and agreements are among recent news in machine vision.


Vision sensors, a patent for single vision-guided robotics, an image acquistion board, cameras, contracts, and agreements are among recent news in machine vision. Companies with recent announcements include Banner Engineering , Braintech , Cognex , CogniTens , Coreco Imaging , DVT , Honeywell , Matrox Imaging , and Pepperl+Fuchs .

Banner 's PresencePLUS P4 Geo vision sensor is a self-contained vision sensor not much larger than many traditional photoelectric sensors and it performs 360-degree non-fixtured product inspections. Cost is $995. For more information, click here .

Braintech gets patent for single camera vision-guided robotics . Braintech Inc. has announced that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted the company patent #6,816,755 for its Single Camera 3D, ("SC3D") Vision Guided Robotics ("VGR") technology. Systems that combine Braintech’s technology with ABB industrial robots are operating at major automotive manufacturing facilities, including Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Delphi, Pullman Industries, ZF Group, TI Automotive Group, and Toyota Motors. Babak Habibi, Braintech’s president and chief operating officer says, "SC3D reliably enables robots to 'see' the 3D position of objects in their surroundings without the hassles and limitations associated with laser-based or multiple-camera systems.

The fact is, that legacy VGR systems have primarily relied on clever engineering 'tricks' or complex sensors to solve the problem of locating objects in 3D, resulting in non-standard systems that are hard to scale across manufacturing enterprises. In contrast, taking a fundamental approach, SC3D is widely applicable regardless of the type of application and relies on a standard off-the-shelf camera as its image source. By mounting a camera on a robotic arm, the system gives the robot sight and intelligence, allowing it to identify and locate a part in full 3D space. This information can then be used to guide the robot to perform any desired operation correctly and without the need for expensive hard fixturing relative to a part that was needed previously. For instance, in a parts-handling application, the system enables the robot to identify and locate parts in a bin, adjust its arm to the angle at which the part is resting, grasp the part, move it, and then align it with another object such as another part or a pallet on the production line."

Cognex Checker vision sensor is said to be an easy and reliable alternative to using multiple photoelectric sensors in food, beverage, and pharmaceutical packaging applications and discrete parts manufacturing. Read more from Control Engineering .

In related news, two new Cognex In-Sight vision sensors target high-performance color inspection and high-accuracy gauging. The In-Sight 5400C is designed to perform a range of color inspection tasks in a number of major industries. In-Sight 5401 is a high-resolution (1024 x 768) version of the 5100 for high-accuracy gauging applications in automotive. Read more from Control Engineering .

CogniTens partners with Tesco Engineering to integrate advanced digital measurements for automotive manufacturing applications. CogniTens Inc. recently announced a partnership with Tesco Engineering to integrate CogniTens' advanced Optigo 200 and OptiCell non-contact 3D vi-sion measurement systems into Tesco’s automotive closure manufacturing tooling and related technologies. Optigo 200 and OptiCell systems are used in factory environments, enable quick visual characterization of parts and assemblies, and can interpret measurement data in formats readily used by engineering and manufacturing teams to improve quality.

Coreco Imaging introduces X64-CL iPro image acquisition board . The company called the X64-CL iPro, "the industry’s most competitively priced, high performance dual-image acquisition board for high-speed multiple-view optical inspection applications." It can acquire images from two cameras simultaneously, and perform on-board pre-processing for Bayer conversion or shading correction. It has acquisition pixel clock rates up to 85 mHz, 32MB dedicated on-board frame buffer memory to improve reliability, and an FPGA-based on-board processing engine. It’s supported by Coreco Imaging’s Sapera LT software for acquisition and control and Sapera Processing software for image processing and analysis on Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP operating systems. The board is priced at $900 in OEM quantities.

DVT and Kuka integrates machine vision with Kuka Robot . The Kuka stainless steel robot, for meat cutting and packing, can be combined with a DVT Series 550 M Extreme Element Extreme Speed SmartImage sensor. The sensor has a stainless steel enclosure for use in harsh environments, including washdown applications. When vision is managed from the robot's teach pendant, is reduces cost, simplifies operations, and allows the operator to see what the robot does.

Honeywell supplies quality control and web imaging system to Swedish paper mill, control-ling what it says is one of world's largest paper production lines. The order to provide a quality control and a web defect detection system to Stora Enso's paper mill in Kvarnsveden, Sweden, is expected to improve production efficiency and paper quality. It includes supply and installation of three Honeywell Da Vinci quality control systems and four Web Imaging Systems (WIS) for the mill's new production line.

Matrox Iris P-Series can use the Matrox Imaging Library to ease setup.

After fall 2005 startup, the line is expected to produce high-quality magazine paper at a 2 km/min. Da Vinci system measures basis weight, caliper, moisture, ash, gloss and color at the paper machine and at the two supercalenders. Cognex supplies the machine vision technology, which detects and classifies defects in the paper web. The system then locates the defects and automatically stops the winder at a selected defect, enabling it to be quickly eliminated from the web. The new line will expand annual production capacity from approximately 700,000 tons of paper to more than 1 million tons.

Acquisition of Omnitron strengthens Pepperl+Fuchs offerings of identification solutions.

Matrox Imaging adds three smart cameras to Iris P-Series family. Iris P300C offers a color 640 x 480 pixel, 30 frames/sec (fps) 0.25-in-type CCD sensor. Iris P700 includes a monochrome 1,024 x 768 pixel, 20 fps 1/3-in-type CCD sensor. Iris P1200 offers a monochrome 1,280 x 1,024 pixel, 7.5 fps 0.5-in-type CCD sensor. Each have an Ultra Low Power (ULP) Intel Celeron processor, run the Microsoft Windows CE .Net real-time operating system, and are programmed using Microsoft eMbedded Visual C++. The Matrox Imaging Library is said to offer the "industry's ultimate toolbox for image-processing solutions." Matrox Iris P300C is $2,000; Iris P700 is $2,100; and Iris P1200 is $2,500.

Pepperl+Fuchs buys Omnitron to aid product identification with data matrix 2D optical-coding readers. Click here to read more from Control Engineering .

—Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering,

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