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Vision made easy with new all-in-one approach
If you know your way around a satellite navigation system, and you're comfortable with your smart phone interface, then programming Banner's new iVu vision sensors will be a breeze. If Mark Simms can program one, then anyone can.
There's no doubting that vision systems have got a whole lot easier to use over the last few years, while successive generations of intelligent sensors have got ever smarter. But for my money there's still something of a gulf between the high end sensors and the entry level vision systems, in terms of performance, ease of use, and cost.
The latest generations of sensors really can do a lot for you, but in many applications what you really need is a vision system. But the downsides of vision can be really off-putting. Programming the system generally means plugging in a laptop or using some Windows-based software which is going to mean a learning curve at the outset and have support implications down somewhere the line, even when it's only performing simple pass/fail tasks. And that's before we've even thought about the complexities of lighting. Banner, though, has taken a new approach to vision with its iVu range of products. These give you everything you need in a single, easy-to-use package, with all programming carried out on the integrated touch screen.
There's also a remote touch-screen option. This enables you to bury the vision camera deep within the production line and still have easy access for programming, or to program an array of vision cameras with a single touch screen. And the programming itself really is remarkably simple, with an on-screen menu driven system that has been developed to be completely intuitive.
The original iVu has been around for a couple of years now, but it is the new iVu Plus with its enhanced features that will really open up the possibilities for machine builders. You get the remote touch-screen option for starters, as well as Ethernet connectivity, multiple inspection storage and a new sort algorithm, making the iVu Plus models the optimal solution for environments requiring connectivity, rapid product changeover, or sorting capabilities. And all this, remember, without the need of a PC for configuration.
The iVu Plus has four algorithm types: area, which ensures that some feature, or features, are present on a part; blemish, which finds flaws on a part, such as scratches on a disc; match, which verifies that a pattern, shape or part in any orientation matches a reference pattern; and sort, the newest sensor type, which recognises and sorts different patterns such as nuts, bolts, and washers. The sort function lets users train the sensor to distinguish between as many as 10 patterns. There is also an iVu Plus bar code reading version which reads and optionally validates data within DataMatrix and most of the commonly used linear barcodes. Supported by Ethernet connectivity, the iVu Plus BCR sensor also has the ability to remotely update the data used for validation from anywhere on the Ethernet network.
Each model in the iVu range is housed in an IEC IP67 rated sensor housing, making them rugged and versatile. The camera acquires up to 100 frames per second, and the integrated ring lights are available in red, green, blue, white, and infrared (with an ultraviolet version under development). A USB 2.0 connection facilitates saving and loading configuration data, and with the free-to-download emulator, users can perform offline editing, thus potentially increasing productivity and reducing costs.
On the subject of cost, the iVu range is extremely attractive, genuinely bridging the gap between intelligent sensors and the traditional entry point for machine vision technology.
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