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B&R is kicking off the fall season with a big surprise: presenting its very own machine vision solution at this year's SPS IPC Drives. In an interview with the German trade journal SPS-Magazin, B&R Managing Director Hans Wimmer discusses what benefits can be expected from the company's integrated machine vision solution.

There's no shortage of machine vision suppliers on the market. What compels B&R to step into the arena?

Hans Wimmer: Industry 4.0 will not be possible without machine vision. The integration of machine vision will lead to higher quality and increased productivity for tomorrow's machinery and equipment. At the moment, the big problem facing users is that machine automation and machine vision still occupy two separate worlds. This is where B&R sees its role. Our solution joins these two worlds together by seamlessly integrating machine vision into machine automation.

What does this integration mean for users?

Integration is the key to successful automation. It's an approach that has always served us well, and more importantly it's one that has brought our customers real benefits. Past examples include the integration of CNC and robotics, as well as things like safety and web-based HMI. The B&R system landscape encompasses all these technologies and more. Our customers don't need separate engineering platforms, programming languages or maintenance tools for each domain: it's all fully integrated in B&R Automation Studio. Since no interfaces or gateways are needed, users enjoy the benefits of extremely fast response and cycle times as well as optimal synchronization. You can't do these things the old way.

What does that mean in the case of machine vision?

We'll be offering cameras, lighting and software functions. By seamlessly integrating these components into B&R's automation landscape, we've created a solution with some compelling technological highlights. PLC programmers will have no problem solving machine vision tasks using a B&R smart camera. The engineering tool is already familiar territory. And, just as simple and straightforward as axis synchronization is today, that's how easy it will be for them to implement perfectly controlled triggering and image acquisition for the cameras and lighting. They'll also be able to do on-the-fly product changeover and make clock-synchronized parameter changes for the cameras and lighting. There's nothing else like it on the market right now. B&R's machine vision solution will be the eyes of tomorrow's most innovative machinery and equipment.

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