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Four-core vision system is ‘fastest of its type’

16 August, 2013

Omron has announced a compact vision system which, it claims, is the fastest of its type, resulting in shorter machine cycle times combined with precise operation, even in difficult operating conditions, such as poor lighting, and out-of-focus, rotated or overlapping target objects.

The FH system incorporates four processor cores that allow independent high-speed, parallel image processing. It can control up to four high-resolution cameras, allowing complex inspection tasks to be carried out without any loss of performance or image capture speed. In some applications, one controller can be used where previously several would have been needed.

The vision systems are designed to integrate with PLCs, motion controllers and robotic control systems, and can be used in high-speed manufacturing machines of all types.

At the heart of the controllers is an efficient algorithm, called Shape Search III, that Omron claims will carry out searches up to nine times faster than conventional algorithms. It allows fast, precise measurements to be made, even if images are out of focus, or if the targets are randomly positioned, rotated or overlapping. There is no need for user calibration, making the vision systems easy to set up and operate.

The vision system is compatible with Omron’s Sysmac Studio automation software, which can be used to set up all of the main components in an automation system, thus reducing the work involved in machine design. The software can be used to set up, debug and simulate slave devices, including not only vision and other sensing elements, but also motion controllers, logic devices and drives.

The vision controllers support EtherCat, allowing communications cycle times as short as 500µs as well as allowing motion control to be synchronised with the communication cycle. They also support custom.NET controls, so that images and measurement results can be displayed easily on an external PC.

There is a choice of matching cameras with resolutions from 0.3–4 megapixels and image read times from 3.3–8.5ms.

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