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Many machine-vision system requirements call for the integration of motion control with image processing.

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Many machine-vision system requirements call for the integration of motion control with image processing. To meet this need, systems integrators can choose from a variety of off-the-shelf cameras, frame grabbers, and motion-control devices to develop complete systems. Several companies are offering software that integrates imaging and motor-control functions. In this month's column we take a look at the latest motion-controller devices and the software used to support them.

The big picture

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Rather than just feature its range of multiaxis motion products for servo and stepper applications, the National Instruments (Austin, TX) Web site is replete with application notes, user application stories, tutorial information, and software that can be directly downloaded. And there are full descriptions of the company's motion boards, software, and peripherals programmable with LabVIEW, BridgeVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, and C or C++ for Windows NT/95 and other major operating systems.

The smaller the better

If you want to precisely control miniature motorized linear and rotary translation stages using PC-based servo-control systems, take a look at the site of National Aperture (Salem, NH). There you'll find light-duty servo amplifiers, miniature manual stages, and PCI-based motion-controller cards that can be programmed in VisualBasic, C, or C++. The company also allows you to integrate micromotion control into existing data-acquisition systems using National Instruments' LabVIEW programming environment.

Read all about it

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The Tech80 (Minneapolis, MN) site includes its 30-page product catalog, featuring board-level motion controllers and encoder interfaces for IP, PC, PCI, PC/104, STD32, and VME-based applications; the boards are supplied with C-based software libraries, Windows drivers, demos, and example code. In addition, the Web site has a technical library, list of industry partners, and news describing the company's latest products.

PCI-based control

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Galil Motion Control (Mountain View, CA) has developed a Web site that describes its products, software, training, and support in an easy-to-navigate manner. Of particular interest is the company's latest PCI board, the DMC-1800; this programmable board can control up to eight axes of servomotors, stepper motors, and hydraulics. Software support includes the COMDISK for programming the card, an SDK to automatically tune the motor, and a Visual Basic toolkit to speed development of Visual Basic programs. You can also download the company's full 1999 product catalog in Adobe Acrobat format.

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