Automation with vision
Automation solutions frequently require machine vision systems in order to perform inspection, control and guidance tasks at levels of speed, precision and reliability that far exceed human capabilities. Augmenting production lines with vision systems is a cost-effective way to speed up production while eliminating errors and improving quality. The new In-Sight 7000 series from Cognex now provides support for the deterministic Ethernet POWERLINK protocol.
Vision systems are an essential component of any manufacturing process involving inspection, measurement, identification and guidance. One way they are used is to identify flaws in vacuum cleaner components and verify their completeness, positioning and functional dimensions following assembly.
Immediate detection of defects with vision systems
The part being inspected is placed on the carrier and rotated through a series of four different orientations. Parts that pass this inspection continue on for further processing. If any defects are identified, the part is rejected and an error report is generated; the defective part is then assigned to one of a number of uniquely coded defect classes. If necessary, images of defective parts can be saved for later evaluation.
The system inspects twelve measurement points on each component, each hardly perceptible to the human eye. A manual inspector wouldn't stand a chance. The In-Sight camera can quickly recognize the tip of a metal spring, even when it only peers out from behind a plastic component by a few tenths of a millimeter. This level of inspection not only weeds out defects, it also ensures the high quality and long lifespan that help brand name products compete with cheap imitators.
In addition to identifying defects, vision systems are also frequently used to verify component placement. Production of solar cells is expensive, for example, and with such large volumes of cells passing through the line, a high degree of automation is the only way to maintain a competitive advantage. One of the toughest challenges involves aligning and positioning the cells. In addition to ensuring that they are correctly centered, the vision system can also inspect them for defects such as cracks and breaks, verify their dimensions and determine their position with respect to the edges.
Cognex vision systems are able to identify the most minute imperfections in damaged or improperly soldered cells – guaranteeing virtually 100% quality control. Doing so demands robust, stable and flexible testing and positioning systems that work with impeccable precision. The technical features of the Cognex In-Sight system – such as an Ethernet connection, real-time remote operation, rapid processing and easy-to-configure In-Sight Explorer software – meet all of these requirements and help optimize every step in the process.
The POWERLINK standard has established itself as one of the most significant Ethernet-based protocols for high-speed industrial automation applications. As the first machine vision supplier to recognize this trend, Cognex has moved to support the POWERLINK protocol in its new In-Sight 7000 series. The synchronization between Cognex In-Sight 7000 image processing systems and POWERLINK systems ensures faster, more efficient and more highly automated solutions for users on the production line.
"In light of the increasing importance of deterministic Ethernet, we saw that POWERLINK was a must-have for our Cognex Connect communication package. We're excited about the new possibilities that POWERLINK offers for implementing highly integrated image processing applications in complex automation architectures."
Bhaskar Banerjee, Business Unit Manager for image processing systems at Cognex