June 1, 2008
The title “Illuminations” has been used by writers ranging from medieval scribes to the symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud.

The title “Illuminations” has been used by writers ranging from medieval scribes to the symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud. In more modern times, lighting products have been put to commercial use by organizers of Blackpool Illuminations, or a “festival of lights,” in England, an event broadcast by BBC radio and even featuring a Doctor Who display.

At the first Illuminations in Blackpool in 1879, arc lamps were used to bathe the oceanside promenade in light. In 1912, with the British royal family in attendance, 10,000 then-revolutionary light bulbs created “festoons of garland lamps.” The current Illuminations festival includes many elaborate displays based on LEDs or lasers.

Modern life

Over the years, the sources of illumination may have changed, but the central importance of lighting to machine vision has only increased. The feature articles in this issue cover the full spectrum of lighting, from ultraviolet (UV) to infrared (IR), and show the benefits of using the proper lighting in addressing specific machine-vision applications. For example, the role of UV lighting to inspect film in automotive-glass-panel production is described by Matt Pinter of Smart Vision Lights. In other applications, as contributing editor David Lieberman shows, visible LEDs provide the necessary lighting for the sorting of chocolates by a candy maker in Sweden and the testing of touch probes for the high-precision manufacture of mobile phones. LEDs also provide the illumination for checking and verifying labels on contact-lens vials, as described by contributing editor Winn Hardin.

Editor Andy Wilson also explores how camera-and-lighting systems are used for both visible and IR detection. In one article, Wilson discusses how a novel LED design is used in a system for inspecting plastic seals and “O” rings. And, in this month’s Product Focus article, he investigates the numerous IR detectors currently available and how these varying technologies form the core of different IR cameras that can be applied to machine-vision applications.

Two trade shows this month will further illuminate system integrators to the new products, systems, and applications in the machine-vision industry. The Vision Show, organized by the Automated Imaging Association, will be held in Boston, MA, from June 10 to 12. It promises to be the largest such show in 10 years. In Germany, Automatica, organized by Messe München, runs from June 10 to 13 in the New Munich Trade Fair Centre, includes more than 900 exhibitors, and focuses on assembly, robotics, and machine vision.

Needless to say, I hope you find the articles in this issue and attendance at these trade shows to be equally enlightening.

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W. Conard Holton, Editor in Chief
[email protected]

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