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Testing and Inspection Requirements for New Materials
by Barry Mazor
David Cochrane is the Director of Product Management and Marketing at DALSA Vision Systems in Waterloo, Ontario. (www.dalsa.com).
Dr. Phil Heil is the Applied Engineering Manager at DVT Corporation in Duluth, Georgia. (www.dvtsensors.com).
Kyle Voosen is the Machine Vision Marketing Engineer at National Instruments in Austin TX. (www.ni.com)
If not as prominent as vision's traditional semiconductor inspection and automotive manufacturing sectors, materials inspection has long been an alternative, potentially lucrative vision market, and recent advances (and market shifts) are placing a new spotlight on this sector. As such, it seemed the perfect time to have a new look at the opportunities in inspecting new materials, and we've turned to some key industry pros to do the job.
Advanced Imaging: What do you see, for your firm and for the industry, as the key opportunities immediately ahead for testing and inspection of plastics, glass, adhesives and other materials?
Kyle Voosen, National Instruments: Since National Instruments creates flexible hardware and software tools for machine vision, we find our products used in many diverse applications. Two application areas that come to mind that involve plastics and glass are packaging and biomedical. For bottling and packaging, reliable and fast throughput is a common requirement. In this area, we're seeing customers seek truly deterministic machine vision software so they can guarantee their inspection will keep up with their production line. For life science and medical applications, accuracy is obviously very important. Whether a user is inspecting coronary stents for defects or calibrating glass syringes for volume, the accuracy of the measurements takes precedence over the speed. These customers are not typically machine vision experts, so they use configurable software tools, such as NI Vision Builder, to quickly build and benchmark applications to ensure product reliability and quality.
David Cochrane, DALSA: The opportunities for DALSA are in the inspection of high-performance polymers and glass used in the flat panel display industry. TFT LCD production is expected to grow at rates greater than 20% through 2010. High-performance materials used in the electronics industry are also requiring inspection.
Dr. Phil Heil, DVT: Material tracking and inspection continues to be a major need that is filled by our products. Combining the power of traditional inspections with Optical Character Recognition, verification and barcode reading allows SmartImage sensors to complete a number of tasks and send that information to plant control systems through an Ethernet network or the Internet. The access control and logging features present on all of our systems make them especially useful to pharmaceutical customers.