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£1,200 vision sensor can replace smart cameras

04 December, 2009

Sick has announced a 2D vision sensor which, it claims, offers performance similar to a smart camera while being easy to use and costing around £1,200 in the UK. The i40 sensor can compare an item being inspected with up to 32 reference objects and deliver up to 30 inspection results at once.

Items do not need to be positioned identically for inspection, because the software evaluates edges, contours, contrasts, greyscale values or pixels relative to features in the reference images. As soon as an object enters the field of vision, image capture and evaluation starts, without needing a trigger signal.

The high-resolution (640 x 480 pixel) sensor (shown above) has a wide field of view, allowing it to be used in applications where two sensors would previously have been needed. Alternatively, it can be used to examine smaller objects at high speeds using a built-in pattern inspection tool. When performing four pattern matches per item, it can inspect 50 items per second.

The patterns can be matched with the item in any position and the system can even accommodate variations in size of up to 20%. David Hannaby, Sick’s vision systems product manager in the UK, claims that this ability is unique in the i40’s price range, adding that elsewhere you would need to spend £3,000–4,000 for these capabilities.

The IP67-protected sensor can store up to 30 images onboard and can download them via FTP for storage elsewhere. It can communicate with control systems via Ethernet/IP.

A choice of lenses allows objects to be inspected over distances of up to 1m. Options include colour filters to enhance images, and a dome light to avoid reflections from glossy surfaces.

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