Festo and V-viz partner to promote use of intelligent vision systems in automation

JUNE 29, 2009--Uses include inline product monitoring and inspection for quality, part identification and orientation, fine positioning and placement, fault diagnosis, and process monitoring for dynamic real-time optimization.

JUNE 29, 2009--Component and system manufacturer Festo UK (Fleet, UK; www.festo.co.uk) has entered into a strategic Partnership with the specialist machine-vision company V-viz (Offchurch, UK; www.v-viz.com), a provider of automated inspection and traceability technologies, to promote the use of intelligent vision systems in automation. The affiliation comes at a time when manufacturers seek to counter the effects of the recession by maximizing the efficiency and quality of their production processes -- areas where high-speed image capture and analysis can play a vital role.

Under the terms of the partnership, V-viz will support a range of sales, installation, and commissioning tasks, with Festo manufacturing the vision-system hardware and application software. According to Mark Worlidge, managing director of V-viz, "To realize their full potential, vision systems need to be deployed very carefully and by proven experienced professionals, paying particular attention to factors such as the selection of correct lighting. On no account should such systems simply be shoehorned into machines; they need to be properly integrated and optimized to suit the application and their environment."

Festo will be supplying V-viz with its latest SBO intelligent vision systems. Developed specifically for use in factory automation, the compact smart camera systems feature built-in intelligence and control logic. They can be supplied as intelligent wide-area-based systems for quality and inspection roles or set up to acquire high-quality images at high speeds without the need for a separate processor. The high-speed versions of the cameras can be used to monitor and commission processes, record manufacturing processes, identify operating problems, and support the appropriate remedial action.

Festo's SBO intelligent vision systems are reportedly the only models available sealed to IP65/67 standard. The high-speed camera is capable of accommodating rates as high as 2000 frames/s to facilitate monitoring of very fast motion sequences, and is able to save acquired images as compressed JPEG files in order to minimize memory requirements. In normal use, the camera records continuously -- either saving the images to an internal ring buffer with a 10-s capacity or streaming them to an external hard drive -- until instructed to stop by a trigger signal. The vision systems feature an integral web server and can be networked via standard Ethernet, and are controlled by an industry-standard PC. A time synchronization feature enables multiple camera installations to be set up and controlled.

Nigel Dawson, Festo product manager, notes that intelligent vision systems have a key role to play in helping manufacturers optimize their production processes. "We are seeing increasing use of systems with integrated vision, motion, and control functions. Many customers already use our SBO cameras for applications such as process monitoring, parts recognition, fault diagnosis -- and even in closed-loop configurations for dynamic process optimization." He continues, "But by far the largest application area is in accelerating quality control -- by using intelligent vision systems to help reduce scrap rates and eliminate bottlenecks on production machinery, manufacturers can increase their productivity significantly. This is where we believe our alliance with V-viz is likely to prove most beneficial to customers. The company has considerable expertise in vision integration, software adaptation, and process optimization, and we are very pleased to be working with them to advance the role of intelligent vision in automation."

-- Posted by Carrie Meadows, Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com

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