Machine Vision Systems- The Importance of Lighting

Machine vision systems are critical components of quality control processes throughout manufacturing. They provide crucial inspections and measurements that must be both accurate and repeatable. Environmental variables will affect the performance of the imaging system. Frequently overlooked is the importance of having consistent lighting within the system.

Machine vision systems do not assess the object itself but rather the image of the object. Therefore it is imperative to get the correct lighting arrangement for the application. This will allow the camera to capture all image details necessary to make accurate measurements. Information that is completely missing from the image can never be recovered by analysis algorithms. The image is influenced surface characteristics, the wavelength of the light and the direction of the light. A number of lighting configurations including back lighting, bright field or dark field illumination and the use of diffuse and dome illumination have been developed to solve these challenges. However, getting the correct illumination configuration is only the initial part of the solution. Ensuring that the lighting remains consistent over time is essential to making repeatable measurements.

Lighting can gradually be impacted by a number of factors such as:

  • The age of the light
  • The temperature of the light
  • The stability of the power supply
  • Changes in ambient light
  • Synchronization of pulsed lighting and camera exposure
  • Physical position of the light

A properly functioning vision system depends on cameras, lights and analysis algorithms all working at peak efficiency. Machine Vision Systems must be maintained and should be “tuned up” on a regular basis. If your system is not performing as it used to or as you require, protect your investment and improve quality control by contacting AS&E to schedule a service call.

 

What is IT/OT Integration?

Also known as IT/OT convergence, IT/OT integration can be something of a buzzword, providing a veneer of technological gleam to otherwise straightforward manufacturing improvement projects.

But, when implemented properly, IT/OT convergence is transformative, joining two traditionally separate practices to create true operational efficiencies and cost savings.

Identified in the mid-2000s by Gartner Inc., IT/OT integration melds the software, monitoring abilities and communication capabilities of information technology with the equipment and manufacturing demands of operational technology.

Because information technology and operational technology historically have been developed, maintained and utilized by two nearly opposite branches of a company, IT/OT integration requires top-to-bottom buy-in, consistent communication and clearly defined requirements, goals and benefits to succeed.

When well planned and implemented, IT/OT convergence offers a wide range of benefits, including improvements in:

  • Performance and production
  • Cross-organization decision making
  • Alignment of operational areas with overall business goals
  • Environmental and regulatory reporting and compliance

Cost reductions are another benefit of IT/OT integration, thanks to efficiency gains and optimization in:

  • Operational processes
  • Asset maintenance
  • Workforce management

Because integration projects can require sweeping changes, many organizations will identify an initial operation that would benefit the most from IT/OT convergence and begin there will full implementation.

Examples of effective, operation-specific IT/OT integration include:

    • Machine Visions Solution for Surface and Web Inspections
    • Continuous Casting Process Control and Instrumentation
    • Slag Pot Management Productivity Optimization

Because of the technical, operational and organizational challenges inherent in IT/OT integration, companies often call upon a specialist firm, like AS&E, to develop and implement their projects.

AS&E has the experience, expertise and insight to create the right solution to meet your operation’s needs. Contact us now to learn how.