A turnkey system allows you to leave the vision system to the expert, which often results in a more reliable system and better results. It is becoming a trend to hire an experienced integrator to design a turnkey vision system. Quality magazine recently interviewed one of EPIC’s Vision Project Managers, Chris Walker, for an article about Turnkey Machine Vision Systems. Walker says asking if you should use a vision expert is like asking “Do you want the system to be successful?”

Quality Magazine compares do-it-yourself vision system installation with attempting to save money by caulking your bathtub. Something that looks easy at first glance may turn out to be a lot more complicated and costly down the road.


1. Knowledge of Cameras, Lighting and Optics:

Lighting, color, line scan or area scan, lens requirements are all types of considerations when determining the vision requirements.

A turnkey machine vision system, as the name implies, is built to custom specifications and is delivered ready to go. A turnkey system may seem more costly upfront, but with the costs come the experience of a system integrator who has vast knowledge of cameras, lighting and optics. A vision specialist will be able to properly assess the use of a smart camera, lens requirements and image resolution which can all make or break a vision system.

2. Previous Application Experience:

A vision expert has worked with image filters, 2D and 3D pattern matching and all types of mechanical, electrical issues to determine the feasibility of the project.

“Right away, an expert in Machine Vision integration will be able to point out a variety of potential pitfalls, mechanical or electrical issues/constraints, application feasibility, product fixturing problems, and many other “unexpected” problems,” says Walker. The previous application experience a machine vision expert carries is invaluable.

3. Knowledge of System Integration:

From former experience, the vision expert understands how to integrate the communication controls to match the existing controls.

With this experience comes the ability to fully integrate the system using existing controls (i.e. Ethernet TCP/IP, Profibus, Modbus, and Serial) and determine the programing for tracking or rejecting, how to trigger the camera and what type of data storage is needed.

4. Mechanical and Electrical Design Knowledge:

A properly designed system is innovative and built correctly to justify the upfront costs.

Knowledge of mechanical and electrical design is important for this reason. For example, when completing mechanical design Chris recommends “centerlining” – a technique that enables continuous improvement, and resolution of problems due to variability, to achieve production consistency.

5. Experience in System Maintenance Requirements:

An expert can train someone at the plant or factory on the nuances of the system.

This prevents having to shut down the system or hire an additional engineer. On-going support and training is another benefit of using a vision expert. When the project is finished, a vision system expert is able to ensure that the end-user is properly trained to know the basics, like proper lens cleaning. Recommendations on preventative maintenance, product setup, alignment, calibration and troubleshooting provided by an expert will make a big difference in a systems success.


EPIC is a machine vision systems integrator located in St. Louis, MO that specializes in custom part and product inspection and process automation and control. To learn more about turnkey vision solutions, visit our packaging inspection page or contact an engineer today.

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