Machine vision enables the automated visual inspection of manufactured products for quality and process control. This technology has helped thousands of manufacturers worldwide improve product quality and production-line efficiency. To achieve the flexibility needed to handle most factory-floor applications, a machine-vision system typically must include the following components:
- Vision processor (either host-based or embedded)
- Video monitor to display images
- Vision software to process and analyze images
- User interface
- Camera and lighting
In a typical application, a video camera placed above or to the side of the inspection point captures an image of a part and sends it to a vision processor. Using a combination of machine-vision hardware and software, the system analyzes the image to determine, for instance, the part's location, any defects, and the part's dimensions. At the end of each image analysis, the system communicates the results to other factory equipment, such as programmable logic controllers, robots, and/or motion controllers, to perform a specific function.