4 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Vision Solution

Many users find vision challenging and it can be difficult to know where to start, but there are some simple steps that can help you match the right vision solution to your application.  This article describes 4 questions to ask to help you clarify your application requirements.  

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Vision sensors and smart cameras are some of the most accessible vision technologies, especially for those just getting started with implementing vision solutions in their manufacturing processes. The following questions can help you evaluate your application requirements before making a decision: 

1. What is the speed of your application?

It is important to verify that the vision solution is suited to the speed of your application. The more conditions that need to be inspected, the longer the inspections will take. 

2. What is the distance from object to sensor?

How far away from the objects will the sensor be mounted? A vision sensor should typically be mounted less than 12” away from the target. For farther distances, a higher end system may be required. 

Definitions

Vision Sensor

A vision sensor is a self-contained device that includes vision lighting, lens, and camera in a single compact unit, which simplifies implementation. Vision sensors are available with a wide variety of lens and lighting options to match a variety of applications with one simple device.  Learn more about vision sensors.

Smart Camera

A smart camera is a vision system that can be used to solve a broad range of applications and provide advanced capabilities, such as feature measurement and flaw analysis.  Smart cameras generally require a PC for programming.  Smart cameras provide more functionality than a vision sensor, while still being a versatile, easy-to-use vision solution.  Learn more about smart cameras.

3. What size objects are you inspecting?

You will need to make sure that the object(s) fit within the viewing window of the vision sensor. Note that vision sensors have a more limited field of view compared to more expensive vision solutions. Therefore, vision sensors work best for small parts, or assemblies with small quantities of parts. If a wider field of view is needed, a smart camera may be a better option—offering more functionality while still being easy to commission and use.

4. What are you looking for?

This is the question where many people struggle when getting started with vision. You know you are looking for a “good” condition, but what counts as good? What are your true pass/fail requirements? For this, you’ll need to evaluate your tolerance for less than perfect parts.

One way to do this is to find your “best bad” part and your “worst good” part and set the tolerances for the sensor at both ends of the spectrum. Setting tolerances is essential for any vision application and will help ensure you are not wasting parts and material by rejecting parts that should be considered passable—or allowing parts through that should have been rejected.

Next Steps

After answering these questions, the next step is to try out a solution. Every vision application is unique, and it is best to try out the device in your real-world conditions to make sure it works for your application. Finally, partner with a manufacturer that offers both vision sensors and smart cameras, which makes it simpler to upgrade if needed.

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