Vision Systems

What Exactly Is a Vision System?

A vision system, also known as machine vision, is a type of technology that uses images to generate data and analysis that can be used to provide guidance for operators and even to make independent decisions.

Vision systems use automation to first generate an image and then extract the necessary information from that image. While a well-trained human being can manually examine a line of items to spot any defects or absences, a well-trained vision system can utilize additional tools like infrared and filters to perform this process much more quickly and efficiently and with significantly less errors.

In high-stakes manufacturing scenarios like catching flaws in foods before they reach consumers, an intelligent and well-calibrated vision system is the only real solution.

How Do Vision Systems Work?

Vision systems refer to a wide variety of technologies that include software, hardware, and integrated systems. These systems are often combined and customized into one seamless vision system that customers can use to transform their operations.

These systems first generate images of a given scenario and then analyze and extract data from these images. The vision system can then make a decision, or set of decisions, based on the images.

This information can be a simple good or bad determination, like identifying if a potato has mold or not, or a more complex set of information like the location, orientation, and identity of an object. There are almost limitless applications for visions systems and they serve an important role in many manufacturing systems.

Vision System Graphic Scanning Eye

How Can I Use a Vision System?

Just as there are many different types of vision systems, there are even more ways to utilize these tools to revolutionize your production. These applications include:

  • Detecting flaws and missing pieces. Whether finding a missing screw long before a device falls apart in a customer’s hands or identifying that a vegetable has gone bad long before a customer’s stomach has a chance to, a well-implemented vision system can see more than the human eye ever could.
  • Providing high levels of quality control. A product may be perfectly safe and perfectly functional, but it may not be perfectly uniform.

A vision system’s ability to detect even slight differences can help you to ensure that your customers value you for your standards and uniformity.

  • Predicting problems down the road. Real-time data provided by vision systems can tell you which products are more likely to have problems and identify where to invest in improvements. Are products made with certain alternative materials or processes frequently caught by your vision system? This data can help you make high-level decisions.
  • Identifying differences between batches and other types of information. For instance, if the items in one batch are slightly and imperceptibly more faded than the previous batch, these items may be perfectly acceptable for sale if this is unnoticeable, but this information can trigger a helpful notification to refill ink.
  • Reviewing components of the production process itself. For instance, a vision system can help to identify if machine and tools parts are becoming worn out and provide notifications to check or replace certain machine parts. Vision systems can provide quality control for the production as well as the product.

Many Systems, Infinite Applications

City Buzzing Light Connecting Lines

There are many types of vision systems that work in different ways. The mechanics of these different systems operate based on what need they are filling. Some of these different vision systems include:

  • 1D vision systems that only evaluate one line of pixels instead of an entire image. This system specializes in detecting small differences and defects in continuous material processing.
  • 2D vision systems that generate 2D images for analysis. A simple digital camera could technically be a part of a 2D vision system. There are area scan systems and line scan systems. In an area scan system, a sensor generates a single frame image at once, like a camera taking a photo. In a line scan system an image is created with lines of pixels that are added on top of each other to make the final precise image.
  • 3D vision systems that usually use multiple cameras and combine these different image angles into one three-dimensional image. 3D vision systems can provide full data on an item’s location, size, orientation, and more. 3D vision systems allow specific detection abilities and real-time update capabilities that are not possible with 1D and 2D systems.
  • Standalone vision systems are more standardized and easier to quickly set up and start using. These systems tend to be less expensive because they are not customized to the situation. This makes it easier for a production to purchase a greater number of these standalone vision systems and immediately start working with them. Although these systems are less customized at the outset, they’re still able to be fully customized and adjusted later on.
  • Various vision system software and hardware that includes vision controllers that manage all the inputs and outputs for a vision system in one resilient package, barcode imaging hardware and software, customization software that runs on common programming languages that your team can build on, and much more.

Transform Your Operation by Adding A Fresh Pair of Eyes

Vision systems have virtually limitless applications and benefits. Their ability to perceive and analyze data far exceeds the capabilities of human beings, and that data is the key to your company’s future.

So, you can continue performing your operations in the same traditional way with little to no data, flexibility, or the power to make predictions, or you can evolve with cutting edge tools that set you apart from your competitors and allow you to compete energetically on a global stage.

The choice is yours. It’s about vision.

Reach out to learn more about how B2E Automation's solutions can help transform your business.