GREATER INTEGRATION, GREATER PERFORMANCE
Applications of vision systems in industrial settings occur in basically two main areas: quality control and robot guidance. During conformity checks, cameras verify or measure some specific properties of objects, performing an in-line control system over the entire production, without slowing down the processing cycle.
The application of vision systems on robotic lines, on the other hand, increases the degree of plant flexibility by guiding the robot to the correct pickup or storage point through information on the position and orientation of the parts with which they must interact for operations of varying complexity.
These systems are capable of identifying pattern-defined components and identifying roto-translation, which allow them to interface with robots by enabling them to pick up parts at random locations with great accuracy, benefiting speed,efficiency and plant flexibility.
In some cases the robot's operation is limited to the simple manipulation of the piece, while in more complex cases it is placed in the service of welding operations, fastening, inserting accessories, etc. Vision systems are a key part of the system to achieve the maximum flexibility that makes using robotic systems within manufacturing processes attractive.
They are made by integrating digital cameras and image processing techniques and are used in different industries for the purpose of:
- automating or speeding up production
- decreasing production costs
- improving the quality of the product
- having complete control over production
The main advantages of implementing these technologies over manual control systems are mainly:
- consistency of evaluation criteria and the objectivity of 24/7 monitoring;
- being able to use them even in critical environments (noise, temperature, confined spaces);
- high speed of control even with moving objects (e.g., on conveyor belts);
- the ability to control very small or barely visible details;
- control accuracy even in with very small tolerances;
- continuous monitoring of the process, real-time data acquisition and storage, and immediate reporting of any issues.
To ensure the success of the application, it is crucial that each vision system be chosen by experienced personnel based on the variability of the process and with an appropriate lighting system to benefit the information that is useful to the process.
BUT IS BEING EQUIPPED WITH THE BEST SPECIFIC TECHNOLOGIES SUFFICIENT?
Cutting-edge automation aims at making systems that offer increasing productivity and therefore speed in processing, precision, elimination of waste and inefficiencies in production processes. But above all, cutting-edge automation must be able to equip itself with a vision that translates into a very high level of integration in order to aim to maximize performance as we have mentioned so far.
Manipulator robots, which are entrusted with repetitive operations in the production process, are equipped with open architectures for control and are set up for connection to vision systems, sensors, and control and guidance devices. But in most cases this "connection" is limited to an information pass-through that brings a benefit in process management, but we still have wide room for improvement in performance and competitive advantage.
Therefore, state-of-the-art industrial plants aim to take advantage of sensors and control systems in a dynamic and advanced way, through interfaces and algorithms that effectively respond to the increasing complexity and level of integration of solutions that is needed on the market.