It’s a jungle out there

Adaptation to varied and changing technologies and business models is the hallmark of survival in the machine-vision industry.

Jan 1st, 2006
Th 0601vsd Conardholton

Adaptation to varied and changing technologies and business models is the hallmark of survival in the machine-vision industry. Reflecting these changes,Vision Systems Designhas now developed two webcasts, including the recent “Lighting Lies and Lessons,” which was broadcast live on December 6 and is currently available on our Web site.

Our presenter was Robert Tait, an optical engineer in the Applied Optics Lab at the GE Global Research Center. He has more than 30 years of experience in vision and lighting and was quite willing to provide his views and answer questions on what it takes to make a real-world vision system effective by proper lighting design. He should know, since he spends much of his time in the field working on varied industrial inspection projects. After his presentation, he returned to his task of inspecting wheels on passing railroad cars in freezing weather outside a small town in Missouri. His tools that day were thermal and acoustic sensors.

The issues he discussed were echoed and expanded upon in an article published in December on lighting fundamentals, written by Marcel LaFlamme and Greg Dwyer of Siemens Energy & Automation’s Nerlite Division. This month, the theme is further developed in an article about choosing the correct optical filters for different lighting needs, written by Jason Dougherty of Midwest Optical Systems.

These different media, presented at different times, combine to provide in-depth and, hopefully, entertaining information about machine-vision systems integration. Our Web site (and e-newsletter) enables us to do this by posting articles published in the print version, webcasts, white papers, and exclusive Web stories that never find their way into print. Searching our Web site for lighting design information will pull together a wide assortment of sources and perspectives!

MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES

Just as Robert Tait combined acoustic and thermal sensors to check railroad car wheels for overheated bearings, system integrators are combining automation equipment and IR cameras in what may be a significant opportunity for industrial inspection. Erik Goethert of Boston Engineering believes that IR is the next frontier of imaging and will provide benefits for many industries. Merging related technologies into new systems is also a theme of our cover story. A combined laser-marking system and barcode-verification system developed by Conveyor Technologies unifies the two tasks of barcode marking and inspection. Finally, the implementation of one new technology-in this case Gigabit Ethernet-can prompt rapid change and developments in related products such as frame grabbers. As our article on GigE on page 47 shows, speed and adaptability are needed to survive in the machine vision jungle.

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W. Conard Holton
Editor in Chief
cholton@pennwell.com

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