Industrial Automation

    

Blog

Marked for Life: A Glance at Some Common Direct Part Marking Methods

Direct part marking is crucial for enabling the traceability of products and the parts comprising them throughout their use. Although each method for applying direct part marks (DPMs) has advantages and disadvantages, they all share one key feature: permanence. Even continuous ink jet, which is considered a “semi-permanent” method of applying DPMs, is sufficiently long-lasting to be suitable for many applications. It’s certainly much better than putting a sticker on an item that could rub off easily.

Read More

Do Your DPMs Make the Grade? Understanding the 2D Barcode Verification Parameters in ISO 15415

Direct part marks (DPMs) and other two-dimensional codes can vary widely in their readability. From impeccably formed laser markings to unwieldy dot peen symbols hammered into steel with a worn-out stylus, it’s obvious that some codes will make the cut while others will fail. Because readability is such a major issue, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has written up some guidelines – known as ISO 15415 – that specify what a readable code should look like. It turns out that a well-formed, two-dimensional code can be described by eight different parameters.

Read More

How X-Mode Brings Out the Best in Barcodes

Barcodes have a unique challenge. Whether printed, etched, engraved or stamped onto their substrate, they’re obligated to remain readable however long traceability is required. This could be anywhere from a few hours to several decades, and the viability of the track, trace and control system depends on them throughout this time. Given that these codes carry essential data through some of the harshest manufacturing environments, it’s no wonder that even the best of them start to fade.

Read More

How CMOS Sensors and FPGAs Upped the Tempo of Smart Camera Progress

You never know where the next breakthrough in machine vision will come from. Sometimes, it will be the result of years of academic study. Other times, it will come from a simple decision to start incorporating new-and-improved technologies from regular consumer devices into high-end smart cameras. Two technologies that have taken the machine vision world by storm recently are the CMOS sensor and the FPGA. Let’s look at how these exciting technologies have supercharged the development of smart cameras.

Read More

Spin the Color Wheel: How Varying the LED Color Can Improve Machine Vision Outcomes

Manufacturers aren’t going to let inspection challenges get in the way of the artwork on their product packaging. Though it can be a challenge to read expiration dates on a variety of background colors, that’s no reason to change the color that everyone associates with their favorite box of cereal. Marketing leads the way when it comes to packaging. Machine vision just needs to adapt, as always. Fortunately, there’s a relatively simple fix. 

Read More

Lights, Camera, Algorithms: The Basics of Machine Vision Pattern Matching

We humans learn to recognize patterns from the day we first open our eyes. That’s a bird! That’s an airplane! Those are the letters A, B and C! If we couldn’t pick out specific objects from our surroundings and categorize them, our sense of sight would be of little use. Machine vision systems also need to be able to find and recognize patterns.The first step in any machine vision task is pattern matching, i.e. locating an object within the field of view based on an expected arrangement of shape attributes like edges. How does this process work?

Read More

The Coevolution of Miniscule Laser Markings and the Trusty Industrial Readers That Decode Them

Bumblebees and flowers, ants and acacia trees, industrial code readers and laser markings… What do these three pairings have in common? The answer is that they’re all examples of entities that have undergone coevolution. Granted, the latter duo isn’t exactly subject to the pressures of Darwinian natural selection out in the wild, but who’s to say that the demands of industrial automation on traceability technology aren’t at least somewhat akin to the Darwinian process? 

Read More

Like Oil and Water: How Two Non-Mixing Fluids Give Liquid Lenses Their Power

Liquid lenses are rapidly gaining popularity within the industrial sector thanks to their speed, flexibility and reliability. Let’s look at how this whimsical-sounding concept has turned into a solid technology with awe-inspiring capability.

Read More

Grasping the Importance of High-Performance, Industry-Ready Handheld Scanners

Handheld barcode scanners are essential whenever specific products, clinical samples or work-in-progress (WIP) parts need to be reliably tracked without the luxury of a fully automated system. Many things on the factory floor can be automated, but other things, such as external deliveries, are unpredictable and tricky to automate. In these situations, humans must take over the responsibilities of track, trace and control (TTC).

Read More

Track, Trace and Control: The “Past, Present, Future” Reading for Industrial Works-In-Progress

To develop smart solutions for slow-moving manufacturing systems, industrial automation experts put heavy emphasis on the concept of Track, Trace and Control (TTC). Used primarily to manage work-in-progress (WIP) components, TTC can be likened to a “past, present, future” reading for each part. It’s an essential management tool that allows manufacturers to make decisions in real time and avoid unnecessary costs in money and time.

Read More

Why Smart Cameras Are Today’s Fastest-Evolving Machine Vision Technology

The vision market is moving forward at lightning speed, and smart cameras are leading the way. These compact devices have become the focal point for technological advancements in the field of machine vision, yet PC-based machine vision systems are still more powerful. Why are vision engineers turning their attention to smart cameras?

Read More

Setting Up a Complete Machine Vision System

Machine vision systems are an essential component of industrial automation solutions. Although there is a lot of variation among machine vision systems, they all include certain essential components to perform the basic functions of capturing and processing images, and then delivering an actionable result based upon features in the visual data.

Read More