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Fast compact vision system

08 November 2013

Targeted at applications in high-speed manufacturing machines, and able to be integrated with PLCs, motion controllers and robotic control systems, the new FH compact vision system from Omron has a high-speed image bus, four-core processing, a new and exceptionally efficient vision algorithm and fast EtherCAT communications. Users can achieve shorter machine cycle times, even in difficult operating conditions.

A quad-core processor is a chip with four independent units called cores that read and execute central processing unit (CPU) instructions. The individual cores can run multiple instructions at the same time, increasing the overall speed for programs compatible with parallel processing.

Although it's tempting to suppose that a quad-core processor would operate twice as fast as a dual-core processor and four times as fast as a single-core processor, things don't always work out that simply: results vary depending on the habits of the computer user, the nature of the programs being run, and the compatibility of the processor with other hardware in the system as a whole. The best results are usually seen when running many programs simultaneously, or in situations that require massive, brute-force arithmetic calculations such as 3-D (three-dimensional) graphics, virtual reality, robot control or compression of CD or DVD data into portable movies.

Because of their efficient image handling, the new vision systems can support multiple high-resolution cameras with no degradation of performance or image capture speed. This allows them to handle the most complex of inspection tasks and, in some applications, it also means that a single vision controller can be used where previously several would have been needed, which makes possible substantial cost savings.

At the heart of the new FH vision controllers is Omron’s innovative Shape Search III vision algorithm. Up to nine times faster when carrying out searches than conventional algorithms, Shape Search III allows fast, precise measurements to be made even if images are out of focus, or if the targets are randomly positioned, randomly rotated or overlapping. This is achievable without user-dependent calibration, meaning easy to set up and operation.