23 Jul 2024


Vision system is ‘the first’ integrated into an automation system

B&R Automation's machine vision cameras integrate into its automation systems

After previewing its new integrated machine vision technology at the 2017 SPS IPC Drives show, B&R Automation provided more details and demonstrations at the 2018 event.

B&R’s vision hardware integrates into its automation system with the cameras being synchronised to machine functions with microsecond precision. Simply connecting a camera to a machine network gives it all of the settings it needs.

There are two camera variants: the Smart Sensor; and the Smart Camera. The former is designed to implement a single function such as QR code reading or position detection. Unlike many other vision systems, there is no need to install dedicated hardware for each function. Users simply configure the required functions in B&R’s Automation Studio environment. OEMs only need to stock a single type of camera to support a variety of applications.

The more powerful Smart Camera is used if you need to perform more than one function.

Both cameras can be equipped with one of three sensors with resolutions from 1.3–5 megapixels. All are said to offer a high sensitivity and low noise levels, thus optimising image quality, even in high-speed applications.

LED lighting can be built into the camera or provided externally in the form of backlights or barlights (arranged individually or in rings). Each light can produce up to four different colours simultaneously, ranging from white and other visible colours, to infrared and ultraviolet. This makes it possible to achieve the right colour, contrast and intensity for any application. Combining LEDs of different colours allows contrast to be optimised by adjusting the wavelength at runtime.

B&R is using MVTec’s Halcon machine vision software library to implement functions such as position detection, completeness inspection, quality evaluation, measuring and identification. “Halcon has the best vision software on the market and it has already proven itself hundreds of thousands of times in industrial use,” explains Andreas Waldl, B&R’s machine vision product manager. “It was clear to us right from the start that we wanted this technology in our vision system.”