There's a lot of movement of late in the machine vision area -- and it's headed up. Recently, the Vision trade fair and VDMA Machine Vision Association hosted a round-table discussion in Germany that covered the state of the industry and future opportunities. The declining price tag and growing demand for efficiency were identified as trends behind the segment's growth. Applications in industrial inspection, vision-guided robots, medical imaging, 3D mapping, and unmanned systems are pushing the market further.
Participants from both Allied Vision Technologies and the Automated Imaging Association cite re-shoring and reindustrialization in North America and the strength of the automotive industry in the US as instrumental to the growth of the machine vision industry in that country.
Regardless of where the participants were from globally, the message was the same: Costs are coming down, and growing applications are pushing adoption.
One example of a recent announcement in the area is the unveiling of Advantech's Power over Ethernet (PoE) and USB3 camera controllers for vision inspection. The two devices, the AIIS-1240 and AIIS-1440, are used to aim automated optical inspection (AOI) to include packaging, label, wafer, and alignment applications that use vision.
The AIIS-1240 uses an RJ45 cable as a connection for data and electrical power. The device provides 15.4 watts of power max to 100 meters, compared with USB2.0's 2.5 watts to 5 meters. An i210 LAN controller by Intel features IEEE 1588 PTP so that frames from two or more PoE cameras can be synchronized. It's also compatible with GigE vision cameras commonly used for industrial vision.
The AIIS-1440 features a dedicated USB3 controller on each vision channel that is compliant with USB 3.0 SuperSpeed. Data can be transferred at up to 5 Gbit/s compared with 480 Mbit/s with USB 2.0. It is also compatible with USB3 vision cameras.
Both devices feature rich I/O interfaces, including four PoE or four USB3 vision channels, 40-bit digital I/O, four USB3.0, four USB2.0, and six serial ports. The two serial ports on the front panel can be configured as RS-232, RS-422, or RS-485 via BIOS settings. The interfaces support a variety of peripheral devices.
I'm hoping that re-shoring and re-industrialization will move demand for machine vision in the US, as I doubt vision will be the only beneficiary. Are you seeing additional signs of re-industrialization lately?
— Carolyn Mathas is a freelance blogger and editor for EE Times' Industrial Control Designline