Bottom line challenges? Machine vision reduces waste, improves quality
Machine vision and industrial identification solutions can improve the bottom line in manufacturing, according to Cognex. See images, links to resources.
Natick, MA – Machine vision and industrial identification solutions can improve the bottom line in manufacturing, according to Cognex executive vice president and 25-year machine vision veteran Justin Testa. He recently discussed the topics of optimizing quality and driving down costs in a podcast. Testa, who oversees strategic planning and product development for the Cognex vision systems business unit, says machine vision:
• Helps eliminate waste by detecting defects in the assembly or the process of making a part before further value is added.
• Generally improves part quality by helping to eliminate flaws in material or to error-proof the assembly of a particular part.
Cognex quantifies how machine vision helps the bottom line. This In-Sight Micro puts a complete vision system into a 30 x 30 x 60 mm package.
Machine vision addresses three categories :
1. Guidance – for instance, the use of a vision system to aid a robot to pick a part up from a conveyor belt and perhaps place it into a container.
2. Inspection – presence- or absence-checking, as well as dimensional checking, along with use of higher resolutions cameras, for example, for faster image processing and faster ability to make decisions.
3. Identification – industries are striving to identify parts at the part level and have the part tracked not only in the manufacturing side but once it gets into the supply chain.
Testa also talked about his company’s products, including:
• In-Sight, the company’s flagship self-contained vision system;
• EasyBuilder, a recently-introduced application building environment software;
• VisionView, an operator interface display console;
• DataMan, a powerful, small fixed-mount reader for industrial identification; and
• Checker, a line of products addressing product space between traditional photoelectric sensors and more advanced vision systems.
Testa added that running a vision application on a PC offers more flexibility relative to the type of camera that is connected, and that in some applications a very high-resolution camera is necessary. PCs allow software to run at the fastest process speeds. The company’s product to address this is VisionPro version 5.0, released earlier this year.
Machine vision can be effective in multiple locations in manufacturing, says Cognex.
Regarding applications, Testa noted that there is a need to look at larger areas and inspect very small defects. 3D is another emerging segment, and color is an area that continues to grow. He said that finally the heart and soul of a vision system is the software, and that companies like his will continue to push the technology.
Machine vision system efficiency tool
The company offers a new Cost Savings Advisor to determine the efficiency of vision systems . Based on a user’s anonymous input, the Advisor estimates how much money is being lost during a company’s automation, inspection, or identification application.
Also read the article, Zero defects: Vision system helps achieve zero defects .
Cognex has a transcript and machine vision podcast in the download area of its site.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.