Whether you’re new to machine vision or not, there are many options for vision inspection systems today. It can be hard to choose. This guide will help you select the right system by highlighting the 5 things to look for in an inspection system and partner.
1. Project Management
As with any project, project management and communication are critical to reach success. You want a partner that values a strong relationship with its clients and will collaborate with you. Make sure your partner assigns you a dedicated project manager. That will streamline all project communication. Whether it’s changes or issues with the schedule, installation, scope, or cost you should never be in the dark.
Other key components to look for in a good vision system integrator include:
Look for a partner with a feasibility lab as they help to further develop the scope and specifications of your project by determining the ideal lighting, lens, camera, and equipment selection and arrangement. This is done through the development of a test version of the recommended inspection system and examining its abilities.
Front-end engineering helps everyone involved with the project to deeply understand the overall goals and objectives of the inspection system. This phase of the project will help determine essential components and guarantee the following:
- Specific success criteria
- Necessary and desired system features
- Facility standards, processes, and preferences
- Comprehensive quote and implementation strategy
- Scope remains on time and on budget
2. Knowledge & Experience
Every machine vision system is unique and will present its own technical challenges. You know this and so should the organization designing and integrating your system. That’s why it’s so important to find the right partner with the knowledge and experience to solve your specific problems. Anyone can say they have the expertise, but can they clearly demonstrate a thorough understanding of your industry, the challenges you encounter, and propose methods for improvement? Ask questions. Ask for references, and better yet, follow up on them. You can even ask to see previous examples of work completed. The right organization will have practical experience and be able to demonstrate their abilities.
3. Technical Support & Documentation
Like we said before, every inspection system will have its technical challenges. Look for a partner that will support and help you by providing guidance, manuals, and other documentation that you may need to be successful. Be sure to confirm all support services that are accessible to you to ensure a smooth process throughout the entire project and beyond.
4. Equipment & Tools
It goes without saying but look for the appropriate equipment fit for your system and its goals. A vision inspection system goes beyond just cameras, but selecting the right enclosure, lights, and tools are also integral in your vision system performing inspections reliably and accurately.
Camera and Enclosure(s)
Protect your camera and allow it to perform at its best. Look for an inspection system that is constructed surrounded by a strong metal case. These are created to endure elements in your facility such as dust and moisture without needing a separate enclosure. If your vision system may be exposed to more harsh elements, or perhaps requires regular wash-downs, an external enclosure fit for the environment may be necessary.
Your needs, facility, and production line are unique and require lighting best fit to help the camera make its inspection effectively and efficiently. Your partner should provide a variety of lighting options and help recommend which is best for achieving the goals in your facility. Depending on your objectives you may need ring lights to provide a soft, even illumination, dark field lights to expose surface defects, or back lights for a greater contrast of the background and the part or package.
Part Location Software Tool
Part location software is vital to any vision inspection system as it helps determine a pass or fail by analyzing a part or package within the camera’s field of view. Look for a part location software tool that can quickly compare the model image(s) to the actual objects from the assembly line whether the part or packages orientation to the camera may be vary, its distance, the shadows or reflections that may or may not be present, the line speed, and other variations in appearance that may occur.
Look for a stand that will stay in alignment and succeed on your production line. A stand-alone welded vision stand can guarantee that your inspections are accurate. No matter the size of the product, it locks the equipment like cameras and lights in place so you will always have the correct angles and distance.
5. Networking & Communication
Look for a vision system that has the proper operator interface panel and networking capabilities. Networking helps the system share information, communicate results, and communicate with PLCs and automation devices. Select an operator interface panel that has an instinctive, touch-screen user-interface. This will allow for an easy, quick, implementation as well as the efficient monitoring and control of the system without needing a PC. With the right networking and panel, you can optimize performance and make better decisions for your operation.
We understand there are many considerations when it comes to selecting a vision system, and that they are useless if they don’t reliably perform the inspection(s) you need. Get a vision system designed for your line by experts. If you are ready to choose a partner, contact EPIC today.
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