Automate brings vision to Chicago - Show Preview

Hundreds of hardware and software engineers will descend upon McCormick Place North in Chicago, IL, to catch a glimpse of the plethora of automation products and solutions that will be on display at the bi-annual Automate 2013 show between January 21-24, 2013.

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Hundreds of hardware and software engineers will descend upon McCormick Place North in Chicago, IL, to catch a glimpse of the plethora of automation products and solutions that will be on display at the bi-annual Automate 2013 show between January 21-24, 2013. Automate is collocated with ProMat 2013, the materials handling and logistics exhibition, and organized and sponsored by A3, the Association for Advancing Automation (headquarters of Robotic Industries Association, AIA, and Motion Control Association).

At the front of the Automate show, companies that integrate automation, robotics, and machine-vision systems will demonstrate actual systems that have been developed to solve specific automation challenges, while the rest of the show will feature the latest products, technologies, and systems on display from leading global suppliers. You can learn more about Automate at www.automate2013.com.

Naturally enough, many of the exhibitors at the Automate Show will be demonstrating hardware and software to enable designers to bring vision-based capabilities to their automation systems. Here are just a few of the companies that will be exhibiting at the show and the products that they will have on display there.

COMPANY LISTINGS (in alphabetical order)

1. ADLINK Technology

ADLINK Technology (San Jose, CA, USA; www.adlinktech.com) will be showing its new Matrix MXC-6300 series of computer platforms on Booth 534.

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Equipped with Intel Core i7/i5/i3 s and QM77 chipset, the MXC-6300 can accommodate a variety of I/O cards through its PCI/PCIe expansion slots. Additionally, the MXC-6300's I/O interface includes six USB ports, four serial ports, four digital I/Os, and two Gigabit Ethernet ports, all accessible on the front panel.

The MXC-6300's design delivers operating shock tolerance up to 50G, and an extended operating temperature range of -20°C to 60°C.

2. Allied Vision Technologies

On Booth 434, representatives from Allied Vision Technologies (Stadtroda, Germany; www.alliedvisiontec.com) will be available to discuss the seven Mako models of machine-vision cameras with GigE Vision interface and resolutions from VGA to 4 MPixels that the company will make available in the first quarter this year. Models will feature CCD and CMOS sensors with global shutter, as well as CMOS sensors with increased near-infrared (NIR) sensitivity.

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The Mako series will also be available this year with a USB3 Vision interface, a new machine-vision standard defined by the Automated Imaging Association (AIA). Five USB3 models will be released including VGA, 2 Mpixel, and 4 Mpixel models featuring CMOS sensors from CMOSIS (CMV2000 and CMV4000) and their corresponding NIR-sensitive variations.

3. Basler

At this year's Automate Show, digital camera maker Basler (Ahrensburg, Germany; www.baslerweb.com) will introduce ten models in its ace area-scan camera series that feature a USB 3.0 interface.

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The ace USB 3.0 cameras have a compact 29 x 29 x 29 mm housing and can readily replace older cameras of similar size and construction, especially those with a FireWire or USB 2.0 interface.

In the first step of its USB 3.0 rollout, Basler will offer cameras with resolutions from VGA to 5MPixel at frame rates up to 120 frames/sec. The company is on Booth 539.

4. BitFlow

BitFlow (Woburn, MA, USA; www.bitflow.com) will be showing three CoaXPress frame grabbers on Booth 726 at the Automate show -- the Karbon CXP2, Karbon CXP4, and the brand new Cyton CXP4.

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CoaXPress is a simple, yet powerful, standard for moving high-speed serial data from a camera to a frame grabber.

BitFlow's frame gabbers based on the CoaXPress standard will enable systems developers to overcome issues that have previously prevented them from implementing systems using high-resolution high-speed digital cameras due to reasons of cable cost, routing requirements, and long distances.

5. DENSO Robotics

DENSO Robotics (Long Beach, CA, USA; www.densorobotics.com) will show its new VS Series six-axis articulated robots on Booth 154.

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The VS series sport cycle times from 0.37 to 0.33 sec and repeatability from ±0.03 to ±0.02 mm. Reaches are from 500 to 900 mm and payload capacities from 4 to 7 kg. An internal wiring option allows users to connect Gigabit Ethernet devices such as cameras, as well as servo grippers, directly to the robot flange, preventing cables from becoming tangled or interfering with peripheral equipment.

Models are available with standard IP40 or optional IP67 dust- and waterproof protection, as well as in ISO 3 (class 1) and ISO 5 (class 100) cleanroom configurations. ANSI and CE safety compliance allows global deployment.

6. Edmund Optics

On Booth 540, Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ, USA; www.edmundoptics.com) will be exhibiting its TECHSPEC high-resolution lenses for 1-in. and 4/3-in., which feature durable housings for the harsh demands of factory automation and industrial inspection applications.

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The 16 mm, 25 mm, and 35 mm lenses are compatible with up to 1-in. sensor formats, while a 50 mm lens is compatible with up to 4/3-in. sensor formats.

The fixed-focal-length lenses feature a locking focus and iris rings to prevent unwanted adjustments, and a front filter thread for integrating standard optical filters.

7. EPIX

EPIX (Buffalo Grove, IL, USA; http://epixinc.com) will be showing its SV1C45 (color) and SV 1M45 (monochrome) cameras on Booth 842.

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The cameras have a 1 Mpixel progressive-scan resolution of 1280H x 960V pixels at 45 frames/sec. The cameras offer global shutter, windowing, row skip mode, binning, video and single-frame modes, 12 bits of dynamic range, low-noise digital signaling, and small size.

The SV1C45 and SV1M45 cameras are supported by four different PIXCI SI series frame grabbers for the PCIe bus. A complete imaging system with computer can also be supplied to customers with image processing, measurement, and analysis software.

8. FLIR Systems

FLIR Systems (Wilsonville, OR, USA; www.flir.com) will be demonstrating its Compact A-Series cameras on Booth 826 at the show.

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The Compact A-Series offerings range from the A65 -- which has a resolution of 640 x 512 -- to the entry-level A5, which has a resolution of 80 x 64.

At 4.2 x 1.6 x 1.7 in. and starting at less than $2500, these long-wave infrared (LWIR) thermal imaging cameras are easy to integrate thanks to plug-and-play compatibility through GigE Vision and GenICam protocols.

9. IMPERX

IMPERX (Boca Raton, FL, USA; www.imperx.com) will be showing its Bobcat range of color cameras on Booth 534 that enable full-color digital images to be captured in low light conditions and at high speed to freeze the motion of fast-moving objects.

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Low light sensitivity continues to be a critical parameter for many of the applications served by IMPERX. By implementing image sensors with the Sparse Color Filter Pattern technology from Truesense Imaging, the new cameras are addressing applications that operate in uncontrolled lighting conditions such as surveillance, intelligent transportation systems, and medical applications.

Several Bobcat camera models are now available including: 29 Mpixel, 16 Mpixel, 8 Mpixel, 4 Mpixel, 2 Mpixel HD and 2 Mpixel (4:3) in Truesense with GigE, Camera Link, or CoaxExpress interfaces.

10. IO Industries

IO Industries (London, ON, Canada; www.ioindustries.com) will be introducing its latest Flare CoaXPress cameras on Booth 830. The Flare CoaXPress cameras incorporate 2 MPixel and 4 MPixel global-shutter CMOS sensors from CMOSIS (monochrome, NIR-enhanced monochrome and color models).

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The cameras support single-link or dual-link output modes at up to 3.125 Gbits/sec per link, allowing long coaxial cable lengths of up to 100 m. Frame rates range from 2048 x 2048 at 140 frames/sec to 1024 x 720 at 500 frames/sec.

All cameras are supported by CoaXPress frame grabbers available from BitFlow, Active Silicon, Matrox Imaging, or Silicon Software.

11. JAI

Visit Booth 839 at the Automate Show to see JAI's (San Jose, CA, USA; www.jai.com) new SP-5000 5 MPixel CMOS camera, which is capable of running at up to 250 frames/sec.

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The version being demonstrated at Automate 2013 is a monochrome camera with a CoaXPress x2 interface and a full-frame (2560 x 2048) speed of 209 frames/sec. Additional interface choices include Mini Camera Link, GigE Vision with Link Aggregation, USB3 Vision, and CoaXPress x4. Color models support RGB or YUV interpolated output, as well as raw Bayer format.

The SP-5000 also features a four-channel analog frontend gain section for adjusting image quality and color balance. JAI has also added in-camera pattern correction algorithms to provide lower noise and better low-light performance than with standard on-chip pattern correction alone.

12. Keyence

Automation equipment provider Keyence Corp. of America (Elmwood Park, NJ, USA; www.keyence.com/usa), an exhibitor in the ProMat 2013 collocated event, is highlighting the company's new CVX100 series vision system that teaches itself. Auto-Teach inspection is a feature that can create an inspection automatically for the user. Visit Keyence in Booth 206 at ProMat to see a demonstration.

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Keyence's broad product lineup also includes automation sensors, static eliminators, barcode readers, measuring instruments, vision systems, laser markers, and digital microscopes.

13. LMI Technologies

In Booth 434, LMI Technologies (Delta, BC, Canada; www.lmi3d.com) will be showcasing its Gocator all-in-one 3-D smart sensor product line.

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Gocator 3-D smart sensor solutions enable engineers to perform 100% noncontact in-line 3-D measurement, inspection, and control. The sensors feature a web-based user interface that delivers total control over setup, sensor operation, and built-in measurement tools.

Visitors at the show can learn how the Gocator profile and displacement sensors fit the specific needs of their applications. Additionally, LMI will be previewing its soon-to-be-released 3-D snapshot technology.

14. Lumenera Corp.

Lumenera Corp. (Ottawa, ON, Canada; www.lumenera.com) will be showing its 170 frames/sec Lt425 USB 3.0 camera on Booth 243.

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Image captures can be synchronized using either a hardware or software trigger and are complemented by 128 Mbytes of onboard memory. A built-in memory buffer guarantees that the images are never lost due to competing requests on a host computer, as the images are temporarily held within the camera until the host computer is ready to receive them.

The fully locking USB 3.0 cabling and digital interface ensure a simple plug-and-play installation. The Lt425 camera series is offered in color or monochrome as well as NIR models. The industrial-grade version is suited for applications that include biometrics, life sciences, traffic monitoring, high-speed inspection, and motion control. Scientific-grade and OEM designs are also available.

15. Matrox Imaging

At Automate 2013, visitors to Matrox Imaging's (Montreal, QC, Canada; www.matrox.com/imaging) Booth 933 will see high-speed surface inspection using a 16 kpixel, 100 kHz line rate, four link, CoaXPress linescan camera interfaced to a Matrox Radient eV-CXP frame grabber board in a Matrox Supersight imaging computer.

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Also being demonstrated are multiple Matrox Iris GT smart cameras that are monitored and controlled remotely from a single HMI application, which is included with the latest release of Matrox Design Assistant smart camera software.

The Iris GT smart camera and Design Assistant software bundle offer full-featured hardware, an intuitive flowchart-based development environment and vision tools. On the Matrox Imaging booth, the company will be demonstrating the new Design Assistant 3.0, which it claims makes it even faster and easier for users to design their application’s flowchart and HMI.

16. Metaphase Technologies

On Booth 534, Metaphase Technologies (Bensalem, PA, USA; www.metaphase-tech.com) will be showing its new UL Certified LED line light.

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The over 1 million lux line light projects a thin strip of concentrated LED light onto an object and is suitable for a number of linescan camera applications where a high-intensity light source is required.

Through the use of a specially created air cooling channel and a vortex cooler, the UL line light can withstand the heat and harshness of most application environments.

17. Microscan

Microscan (Renton, WA, USA; www.microscan.com) will be showing the latest version of its AutoVISION 2.0 machine-vision software on Booth 425.

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Since its introduction in 2011, AutoVISION software has been adopted by manufacturers looking to implement vision-based systems. AutoVISION 2.0 maintains the same intuitive interface but provides additional capabilities, including Verification tools to validate print quality, a logic tool for building pass/fail criteria, and support for automated job changeover. The new Microscan LINK feature enables easy connectivity to PLCs and other control systems.

AutoVISION can be upgraded to Microscan's advanced Visionscape platform, protecting the customer's time, effort, and capital investment in their system should the requirements expand beyond the scope of the original application.

18. Midwest Optical Systems

Alongside its unique line of optical filters designed for digital imaging, Midwest Optical Systems (Palatine IL, USA; http://midopt.com) will be demonstrating its filter and swatch test kits on Booth 347 at the Automate show.

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The company's FS100 Machine Vision Swatch Kit and the FK100 Machine Vision Filter Kit are designed to enable vision integrators and end users to evaluate and improve the quality of the images captured by the cameras in their vision systems.

The company will also be exhibiting its DB850 and DB940 dual bandpass color/IR filters as well as a range of narrow bandpass filters for visible and IR wavelengths.

19. Mikrotron

On Booth 242, Mikrotron (Unterschleissheim, Germany; www.mikrotron.de) will be showing its new digital 4 MPixel EoSens 4CXP camera, which sports a CoaXPress real-time interface that can transfer data at a rate of up to 2 Gbytes/sec at a distance up to 40 m.

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The EoSens 4CXP is capable of operating at a rate of 500 frames/sec at a resolution of 4 Mpixels (2336 x 1728 pixels), while in full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, it can capture images at speeds as high as 900 frames/sec.

The company expects the new camera to find a home in industrial image-processing applications, in event analysis applications in research and development, and in the sports and broadcasting fields.

20. MVTec LLC

At Booth 231, MVTec (Boston, MA, USA; www.mvtec.com) will be demonstrating three innovative aspects of its HALCON 11 machine-vision software.

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First, the company will demonstrate the "sample-based identification" (SBI) feature of the software. With this feature, thousands of trained objects can be recognized simply through their characteristic features like color or texture, eliminating the need to use barcodes or data codes for object identification purposes.

Second, the company will highlight the enhancements to the software that support 3-D vision through 3-D surface comparison, registration and triangulation of point clouds, and improved photometric stereo tools for 3-D surface inspection.

Last, the support for Aztec and Micro QR data code reading will be highlighted.

21. National Instruments

On Booth 447, National Instruments (Austin, TX, USA; www.ni.com) will be demonstrating its new NI Vision Development Module 2012. Using this module, engineers can develop a 3-D stereo vision system employing any two cameras and can create inspection and control systems that use depth information.

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The NI Vision Development Module 2012 features new stereo vision and calibration algorithms and is compatible with many third-party 3-D cameras, such as SICK Ranger cameras that use laser triangulation technology.

The Vision Development Module can be integrated with additional 3-D processing and analysis libraries, such as the AQSENSE SAL3D library.

22. Opto Engineering

On Booth 429, Opto Engineering (Mantova, Italy; www.opto-engineering.com) will be demonstrating its TCZR series of electro-optical lenses that provide a solution for imaging applications which require the flexibility of zoom lenses and the accuracy of fixed optics.

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These lenses ensure magnification, focusing, and image center stability when switching from a magnification to another, thus avoiding recalibration. Four different magnifications, featuring a total range of 8X, can be selected either by means of an onboard control keypad or via a computer through a specific remote control software.

The company says that the TCZR series can perform the same measurement tasks as a fixed magnification telecentric lens.

23. OPT Machine Vision Tech

OPT Machine Vision Tech (Guangdong, China; www.optmv.com) will be showing its extensive range of lighting products for the machine-vision industry on Booth 136 at the Automate show.

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The company will exhibit numerous products including ringlights, bar lights, combined-bar light, coaxial lights, flat rights, line lights, spotlights, and dome lights. Company representatives will also be on hand to discuss any custom solutions that customers might desire.

The company also offers a range of power supplies, frame grabbers, and complete machine-vision systems.

24. Photonfocus

CMOS sensors and camera maker Photonfocus (Lachen, Switzerland; www.photonfocus.com) will demonstrate several cameras on Booth 534.

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One such laser triangulation camera will feature a CMOSIS low-light sensor running 2048 x 16 at 8418 frames/sec for a single laser line or 2048 x 16 at 4639 frames/sec in dual peak triangulation mode.

Also on the booth will be a double rate GigE Vision color camera running 2048 x 1088 at 85 frames/sec or 640 x 480 at 381 frames/sec with a single GigE cable; a CameraLink color camera running 1280 x 1024 at 60 frames/sec and featuring an e2v low light sensor; and a smart camera running in high-speed linescan mode of 2048 x 2 at 25,700 frames/sec in monochrome or color. Additional camera models suitable for metrology, welding, and laser measurement applications will also be exhibited.

25. Point Grey

In addition to existing products, Point Grey (Richmond, BC, Canada; www.ptgrey.com) will demonstrate two new camera lines on Booth 834 at Automate -- the Blackfly and the Grasshopper3.

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Its Blackfly camera line measures 29 x 29 x 30 mm, yet sports Power over Ethernet (PoE), a 16 MByte frame buffer, and an on-camera image-processing pipeline that provides color interpolation, gamma, and lookup table functionality. The first available model uses a 1.3 MPixel global-shutter CMOS sensor capable of running at 60 frames/sec.

The Grasshopper3 cameras combine the benefits of CCD with a USB 3.0 interface. The first available model uses the new Sony ICX687 2.8 MPixel CCD and will be capable of outputting full resolution 24-bit images at 25 frames/sec. The ICX687 sensor supports high definition (HD) 1080p30 imaging and uses Sony's EXview HAD CCD II technology to improve quantum efficiency, reduce smear, and increase sensitivity, including into the NIR.

26. ProPhotonix

ProPhotonix (Salem, NH, USA; www.prophotonix.com) 3D Pro Laser and 3D Pro Laser Mini are structured light lasers that have been designed specifically for machine vision. Combining a compact cylindrical form factor for easy mounting with a customer-specific fixed focus for precision alignment, they feature industry-standard mechanical dimensions (19 mm and 10 mm,) making them suitable for either new applications or as drop-in replacements for existing ones.

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The lasers, which generate uniform laser lines down to 15 μm and are available in a variety of wavelengths, power levels, fan angles, intensity control and strobe, will be on display at Booth 230.

27. Phoenix Imaging

Phoenix Imaging (Livonia, MI, USA; www.phoeniximaging.com) has developed an Automated Vision Surface Inspection System (AVSIS) to detect and measure surface abnormalities often found on machined metal surfaces during the manufacturing process.

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The AVSIS system can be programmed to isolate a wide range of surface imperfections, including, porosity, pits, dings, scratches, non-cleanup, corrosion and machining marks. The surface inspection has received US Patent protection for its illumination, masking, and surface normalization techniques.

At the Automate 2013 show, Phoenix Imaging will also demonstrate a steel-tube inspection system that can detect dented, out-of-round, and mis-formed tubes while ignoring the more common burrs. The system, which can be seen on Booth 114, inspects a wide range of tube diameters automatically without program changes.

28. Pleora Technologies

Pleora Technologies (Kanata, ON, Canada; www.pleora.com) will be showing its iPORT PT1000-CL IP engines -- video transmitters that enable real-time Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) connections between base-configuration Camera Link cameras and PCs, using the popular GigE Vision and GenICam standards -- on Booth 534.

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These are alternatives to frame grabbers used in performance-oriented applications in the quality inspection, medical, and defense sectors as they use GigE ports built into most laptops, desktops, and small-form-factor PCs.

Not only do they overcome the distance limitations of the Camera Link interface, they provide for distribution of video to multiple computers simultaneously using off-the-shelf hardware. They also allow Camera Link cameras to be treated identically to native GigE Vision cameras, simplifying software integration.

29. SCHOTT and Moritex

SCHOTT (Mainz, Germany; www.us.schott.com) and Moritex (Tokyo, Japan) will showcase what is claimed to be the world's smallest telecentric vision system on Booth 728.

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Although it is just 15 mm high, the unit has all the essential components for capturing images such as LED illumination, a camera, and a telecentric lens housed in its compact body.

A precision image from the telecentric optical system is captured by the WVGA monochrome camera in the unit, which can then be transferred to a PC via a USB 2.0 interface. To capture the best image, two types of illumination, coaxial and ring oblique illumination, are built in and can be controlled by the PC.

30. Smart Vision Lights

On Booth 433, Smart Vision Lights (Muskegon, MI, USA; www.smartvisionlights.com) will take the wraps off its new DFL460 Curved Linear Light, a modular linear light with 16 high current LEDs and a curved design to provide even illumination across rounded surfaces, eliminating center hot spots caused by straight linear lights.

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The light gives the user modular flexibility to design multiple arrays. Additional lights can be daisy-chained together to form an arch or full 460-mm-diameter darkfield array. The light features built-in SMART Driver technology by Smart Vision Lights with NPN/PNP strobe, remote analog intensity control, and a manual potentiometer for brightness adjustment.

Standard, narrow, and wide light distribution options are available. Colors and wavelengths are 625 nm red, white, 470 nm blue, 530 nm green, 505 nm cyan, 850 nm and 940 nm IR, and 365 nm and 395 nm ultraviolet.

31. SPO

SPO (Chungcheong, Korea; www.spoptics.com) will be highlighting its expertise in the development of lens design and manufacturing at Booth 1025 at the Automate show.

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On its booth, the company will show its range of conventional and telecentric lenses as well as special optical modules that it has developed for 3-D measurement systems.

The company also provides a range of LED lighting hardware and control systems in a variety of configurations.

32. Teledyne DALSA

Teledyne DALSA (Waterloo, ON, Canada; www.teledynedalsa.com) will display and demonstrate its smart camera solutions and vision appliances at Automate 2013 in Booth 448.

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The company will show its range of area-scan and linescan color cameras including its Piranha4 multi-linescan camera series with 1k to 8kpixel resolutions. Attendees can also discover Teledyne DALSA's Icon user programmable camera series and its most advanced image processor, the Xcelera CL-VX4, which features a user-programmable FPGA interface.

Also on show will be the company's highly integrated BOA Pro, which combines the robustness of a BOA smart camera with the company's Sherlock inspection software as well as its new GEVA-300 fanless, compact vision system for multicamera applications.

33. Toshiba Teli

On Booth 925, Toshiba Teli (Irvine, CA, USA; www.toshiba-teli.co.jp) will exhibit new GigE (PoE) and USB3.0 cameras called "Bees" as well as a 6.5 MPixel CMOS camera running at 85 frames/sec.

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"Bees" series cameras have a compact body and come equipped with CCD sensors with resolutions from VGA though UXGA. The PoE cameras measure 29 x 29 x 40 mm while the USB3.0 cameras measure 29 x 29 x17 mm.

The CSC6.5M85BM11 (2560 x 2560) 6.5 MPixel CMOS camera has a compact body that measures 40(W) x 40(H) x 40(D) mm and supports Windows of Interest (WOI) and binning features.

34. VST America

VST America (Arlington Heights, IL, USA; www.vstamerica.com) is introducing two new products, VS-50085/M42 and VS-50085/M42 at Booth 941 at Automate 2013.

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The VS-50085/M42 is claimed to be the first MV CCTV lens that achieves f/0.85. Its large aperture improves viewing of work pieces in applications in which lighting is limited, inconsistent, or unavailable.

The VSZ-10100 zoom lens achieves a 10X zoom ratio, and is suitable for viewing and inspecting edges and details of parts. During zooming, a corrective device in the lens reduces optical axis shifting as well as skipped images, to help maintain accurate inspection even as magnifications change.

35. Ximea

On Booth 338, Ximea (Muenster, Germany; www.ximea.com) will be unveiling several new products including its xiQ series of USB 3.0 industrial cameras that can be fitted with a range of sensors with resolutions up to 4 Mpixel, offer frame rates up to 600 frames/sec and 1W of power consumption, and support MAC OS X and Linux operating systems.

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The company will also show its new CURRERA-G PC Camera, which houses a single-board computer built around AMD's new Fusion APU with both x86 CPU and GPU core on a single die, delivering 90 Gflops of processing power.

Also of note will be Ximea's xiRAY11, an 4072 (H) x 2720 (V) 11 Mpixel camera based on Kodak's KAI-11002 image sensor that delivers 14-bit images at 4 frames/sec in full resolution mode, or 12 frames/sec with 4 x 4-pixel binning. On the cable front, the company will also show the xiLINK -- a prototype of intelligent cable that connects a Camera Link camera directly to USB3 host port.

-- Produced by Dave Wilson and Carrie Meadows, Vision Systems Design

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