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Integrating Machine Vision with Other Factory Automation Technologies
by Barry MazorJoe Campbell, Adept Technology
May 2002The Participants:
Effective integration of machine vision systems with other automated factory floor productivity tools, some of which may even be marketed as alternatives to vision, has generally been considered a useful goal for vision providers—or even an oncoming necessity. The discussion has typically involved "moving beyond islands of automation." We’re going to take a fresh look at where "integration with other forms of automation" stands—and how important the effort appears to be both vision suppliers and customers in 2002.
WHAT’S THE MARKET ASKING FOR?
Advanced Imaging: How important a priority for your customers is effective integration of vision with other automation tools (CIM, CAD/CAM, Product Info Systems, purchasing or inventory systems, Statistical Analysis, non-visual sensor data, mechanical production hardware, etc.)? And are there particular end-user segments or situations (amount of legacy systems, for instance) where that capability matters more than for others?
Chuck Gillingham, Cognex: The primary universal need and first priority is to interface vision with the control systems for non-visual sensor data such as go/no-go type decisions that drive reject mechanisms, part counters and enunciators. Typical targets for this data exchange are PLCs and final control elements. Becoming more predominant is the integration of vision data with supervisory control systems that are primarily software-based. Targets here include HMI (human machine interface) programs, operator interfaces, alarm database managers, SPC (statistical process control) and data historians. This is most often driven by a company’s need to lower manufacturing costs by implementing advanced control/production scheduling strategies. It can also be driven by regulatory agencies such as FDA or internal or external quality standards initiatives.