Proximity sensors, cameras, and software are working together to give manufacturing equipment environmental awareness. By sensing the environment and communicating through software, automation equipment reacts and makes decisions on its own. Consequently, machines can fit into areas once thought impossible and work closer to human workers than before.  Machine vision removes the human requirement to see failures and fix them.

The lines are blurred as to the difference between them, but generally, vision sensors tend to be simple packages while smart camera are more complex and offer more capabilities. For clarity, both are referred to as cameras systems in this article.

Two techniques for machine vision are contour sensing and pixel counting. When sensing the contour of an object, the camera system inspects an object by analyzing its shape and comparing it to similar known geometries. The pixel counters analyzes an object’s area by counting pixels. This technique also indicates shades for part matching, inspection, and orientation.

Fig. 4
The Universal Robot, a platform for automation applications, stops if someone or something bumps into it during operation. This lets it operate without caging.

>Read more by Jeff Kerns, Machine Design, July 30, 2015

Machine Vision Lets People Get Close to Robots
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