Six Factors to Consider when Selecting a Machine Vision System

by | EPIC Machine Vision

From inspecting the sanitary packaging of consumable goods to monitoring the sealant in batteries, vision technology has become an integral part of almost every manufacturing industry imaginable. Machine vision plays a crucial role in maintaining the quality of end products, providing precision for robotic operations, or adding traceability to improve manufacturing processes. As you embark on the quest of finding the most suitable machine vision system to meet your needs, here are six factors to consider: 


#1 Software Matters – Keep it Simple 

For many visual inspections, the difference in software could mean getting up and running by configuring, benchmarking, and deploying vision applications. However, testing is critical for achieving sustainable success rates. Software that’s initially configured or programmed incorrectly often costs more in the long run to get inspections right. With the proper lighting, camera, and position strategies in place, you’re laying the framework for accurate quality control without added headaches down the road. By starting with a handful of images and products to test, you can apply and iterate on these conditions until you have a very large library of images on which you can then run the vision inspection to determine whether you have obtained the desired results, detected false rejects, or missed defects. 


#2 Scalability 

When selecting a vision system, it’s important to map out how your current requirements may evolve down the road. Here are a few questions to ask yourselves: Is the machine vision system adaptable to accommodate your needs as they change? Are processors and systems set up to optimize your vision system’s performance? This includes the potential need for “hidden elements” such as dedicated processors and real time sensor equipment to improve line speed and optimize performance.  Answering these questions will ensure that as your hardware requirements change, your system can seamlessly keep pace with your evolving requirements.  


#3 Select a Technology That Compliments Your Objectives 

Like most other things in life, no machine vision system or camera is created equal. Depending on your manufacturing goals and conditions, different cameras are best suited to a certain type of image sensor. Various technology options including spanning area-scan, monochrome/color sensors, thermal (infrared) sensors, 3D cameras and line-scan technology can all be applied depending on the specific application. 


#4 Understand Your Specific Environmental Conditions 

 It’s very important to keep in-plant inspection conditions in mind when developing camera strategies and choosing hardware. For example, inspecting quick-moving rolls of textile requires a line-scan sensor while measuring hot metal in a dusty, dark environment requires a thermal camera. Light conditions vary between process lines and should be accounted for to achieve optimal results.  


#5 Digital Imaging Standards 

It’s no secret as the industry is rapidly moving away from analog technologies into the digital era, there are a lot of imaging standards to choose from and the best fit will depend on your needs. Whether you’re looking for a lower-cost solution or high resolution and throughput, the digital revolution provides for all that you may need for extremely fast measurements on precise parts. 


#6 Multiple Camera Connections 

For inspections that require multiple cameras for simultaneous inspection, or where many parallel visual inspections are happening, consider machine vision partners like EPIC Vision Solutions. Our custom vision systems can be custom designed and implemented on your line with multiple cameras working together simultaneously for the highest levels of accuracy along the way. 


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