We get many questions surrounding machine vision and the design, build, integration process for custom vision inspection systems. For more specific questions or further information regarding vision systems, please contact EPIC 314-714-1580.
A vision system or a vision inspection system usually consists of at least one smart camera that captures images and includes automated software to analyze those images at rapid speeds. Various sensors or brackets are is used in combination with the camera and automation to perform automated quality checks or control a process. Vision systems are used in manufacturing environments to perform a variety of tasks including: inspecting items as they are assembled or formed; inspecting packaging; verifying correct labeling; monitoring process outputs and adjusting inputs; locating objects or parts; and so forth.
There are an increasing number of non-manufacturing applications for vision systems. Self-driving cars, lane detection, and other vehicle applications use similar smart cameras to identify objects, roadways, and other features of a vehicles environment. Computer vision algorithms assist with mobile smart phone deposits and social media photo identification as well.
Computer vision refers to the branch of artificial intelligence that allows computers to “see.” Our vision systems are an example of computer vision. The camera “looks” at the different objects in a system process to perform quality assurance and product verification. Computer vision is used in a variety of industries, including production and manufacturing.
The price of vision inspection systems vary depending on the different applications of the system. Factors that increase cost include:
- The speed of inspection. Higher speeds demand more capable systems and often add costs.
- The properties of the items that are being inspected. Clear vessels are harder to inspect than solid colored objects. Small features are harder to detect than various small, inconsistent defects, etc.
- The type of environment the vision inspection systems are going into. Dust, poor lighting, and other environmental factors may require more equipment to ensure the camera can always capture usable images.
- The amount of features you are inspecting at one time. More features, such as ingredients, barcodes, defects, etc., may require more programming or equipment. Each inspection will require expert programming from a vision inspection specialist to train the algorithm to appropriately pass and fail objects at various orientations or variances on the defect.
- The type of inspection being done and the pass/fail rates of the inspections. Some inspections are harder to do than others, and the tighter the pass/fail parameters, the more programming is required.
- The scope of the project. Is this a one-off application or part of larger roll-out? The first system is always more expensive than subsequent versions because the amount of unknowns to be engineered is higher on the first system.
EPIC follows the steps below to create your custom vision system:
- Step 1: Project scoping: Whether your team has already completed this step before contacting EPIC, we will ensure that you have a concept ready that anticipates all potential challenges and accurately establishes the project details and scope of work.
- Step 2: Lab Testing & Front End Engineering (FEE): Usually with some of your sample products, we set up a test stand in our lab and begin determining the key factors for lighting, angle, etc. that will ensure a consistent and successful inspection. Repeatability and consistency are the goals of any good vision system design. We also determine an accurate budget and project timeline during this phase.
- Step 3: Modeling and Programming: At this stage, the programming, mechanical and electrical design is completed in-house by EPIC’s vision engineers. Expert vision programmers “train” cameras to see the defects consistently and hit the pass/fail rates required for repeatable and accurate inspection. We also design brackets and other hardware at this stage.
- Step 4: Fabrication: At this step the physical fabrication of the vision system begins, including the custom brackets, frames and assemblies crafted in-house to create a fully integrated machine. Vision systems can be built to fit with existing factory equipment or as stand-alone systems.
- Step 5: Integration and training: Once the vision system is completely fabricated, EPIC takes the process to completion with a turnkey installation process that includes integration into your plant’s existing programs and control programming. The integration process also includes onsite training, support, and safety assurance for your employees.
Discussing your vision systems needs to create a custom plan for you is what we do. Contact an EPIC vision expert at 314-714-1580, or fill out a contact form with your application details.
We are vision system specialists focused solely on providing solutions that are custom designed, programmed, and fully automated. Complete vision systems from EPIC are tailored to address your specific needs, deliver the best achievable pass/fail rates, and reduce liability.
EPIC is experienced at offering vision systems that require:
- Customized solutions
- A High degree of precision
- High speed/high production rate applications
- Stringent pass/fail rates
- Improved repeatability (GRR)
- Detailed and documented system designs that can be repeated to multiple lines and/or plant locations.
Our vision systems are quality, purpose-built systems with a long life, low maintenance, and reliable functioning.
EPIC is NOT a fit for projects that require:
- Quick, cheap camera installation
- Reselling of a camera or equipment components with no programming or engineered design
- Simple application for a DIY project
- A specific system for which another company already has a low-cost vision package