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Software sets functions of versatile vision sensor

27 February, 2014

The German sensor-maker wenglor has announced a configurable image-processing sensor that can be used to read 1D or 2D codes, to track objects in 3D, or to operate as a smart camera. The company claims that the compact weCube device incorporates components – such as LED illumination and a choice of communication interfaces – that are external components on other vision systems.

The IP67-protected sensor’s functions are determined by the software that it is running. “The software transforms weQube into a vision sensor, a 1D/2D code scanner, or a smart camera – depending on what our customers need,” explains product manager, Stefan Winkler.

Initially there are two software packages: weQubeVision for pure image processing; and weQubeDecode for reading 1D and 2D codes. “Additional packages will follow over the coming months,” says Winkler.

The sensor incorporates five high-performance processors coupled with software that allows rapid processing of images – via Profinet, for example – without any time delays.

The weCube is available with colour or monochrome sensors, and incorporates an array of 12 LEDs in a choice of red light, white light or infrared versions. The combination of powerful LED illumination and built-in optics is said to prevent loss of brightness and to provide balanced illumination of poorly-lit areas. External illumination sources can also be connected.

The sensor has six free inputs and outputs, an encoder input, a graphic display, and a slot for a microSD memory card. It supports various communication interfaces including Ethernet, Profinet and RS-232. There is also a dedicated FTP server.

Wenglor's weCube image sensor is "the start of a new era" for the company

Autofocus and 3D tracking functions allow for reliable detection of objects, independent of their position. A function called Teach+ is said to simplify remote maintenance and checking of the system.

For tough environments, a replaceable screening grid and an integrated polarisation filter prevent side-effects that could have a negative impact on the image processing.

According to Winkler, the weCube is “one of the most intelligent and flexible systems on the market. There are some devices which incorporate the individual advantages of our platform. But we are the only ones to offer the complete package of all features in a compact system.”

There are already more than 20 different versions of the weCube, which has been designed to be the basis for a new generation of products. “The current product launch is only the beginning of a new era at wenglor,” Winkler declares.

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