Bringing Vision to the Smart Factory

8 月 23, 2023 CONNECTOR

Embedded vision systems are becoming part of everyday life.  The development of autonomous cars has caught the headlines, and the use of visual systems will play a key role in their future success.  Embedded vision will be combined with other sensors to provide guidance for the vehicle.  Systems such as lidar (light direction and ranging) will measure distance, and the embedded vision systems will provide object recognition.  With this technology, the vehicle will be able to identify potential obstacles and react accordingly. 

The automotive industry, with its headline-grabbing developments, represents the most public example of embedded vision systems for collision avoidance.  However, the same technology has a range of applications in the industrial world.  As operators are employing more autonomous robots in the factory environment, the need for collision avoidance grows.   Embedded vision systems will allow factory robots to identify potential hazards and act in the most appropriate way.  This will keep the factory safe whilst maintaining the best possible efficiency. 

Keeping Everyone Safe

Embedded vision systems also have applications with the area of machine safety.  The task of providing safe working areas continues to grow in complexity as manufacturing plants become more flexible.  Not only do machines have to detect possible hazards, but it is also vital for them to understand the nature of the hazard in real time so that the right action can be taken to prevent accidents.  It is only with the sophistication of modern embedded vision systems that this has become truly possible.

Embedded vision systems also bring benefits to the efficient production line.  On any production line, one of the key tasks it quality control.  If the only source of quality control is manual inspection, manufacturers are forced to choose between random sampling or 100% inspection.  The first method tries to predict the quality of the entire batch based upon a random selection of products.  This is process introduces fewer delays but can risk the release of faulty products if the sample is too small.  The alternative – 100% inspection – is considerably slower and therefore makes the process more expensive.

Integration into the Smart Factory

As a solution, the sophistication of modern embedded vision systems allows automated, 100% visual inspection.  Each item can be imaged by a dedicated camera and its dimensions compared to the standard in real time.  The result is that faulty products can be identified immediately and discarded (or retained for further analysis).  This immediate inspection also provides important data that can be used to understand maintenance needs and even predict future failures. 

This use of data is at the heart of the smart factory concept.  For example, vision systems might identify a rising trend in faults from a molding machine, which could suggest the need for corrective maintenance.  This information can be correlated with other data collected from the same machine, including temperatures and energy consumption.  By analyzing all the associated data, the maintenance of the machine can be planned before a major failure occurs, which in turn minimizes the disruption to production.

New Applications

Embedded vision systems are continually being developed to make them smaller, more cost effective and more capable.  Their ease of use makes them an increasingly effective solution for a wide range of applications in the smart factory, from logistics to safety.  They will form part of the factory network and share data to increase the integration of all systems. 

Samtec manufactures a range of connectors that are ideal for the data requirements of the smart factory.  From high density, board-to-board connectors like the AcceleRate® family to high-performance RF connectors, the Samtec range has a fantastic selection of connectors that are ideal for the integration of embedded vision systems. 

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