Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Should it seen or hidden?

A live image I mean. Should one be displayed at the vision station, or should the system run headless?

When Cognex brought out the Insight smart camera I seem to remember them talking about how it can run without a monitor, just outputting pass and fail results as appropriate. The problem with this is that there’s no obvious indication that the system is running. I suspect I’m like most people in that I like to see a live image, if only to know that the system is functioning on some basic level.

But getting an image means putting a PC out on the line, and not everyone wants to do that. So what’s the alternative?

Cognex have recently upgraded their
VisionView product, which goes some way towards fixing this problem, but not everyone is convinced. There’s been some interesting discussion on the Cognex SMARTLIST board about just this point and Rick Anderson, Sales/Applications Engineer at RR Floody Company in Illinois, made some very good points about the issues involved. As I’m lazy, I’m not to rewrite his posting, but will instead cut-n-paste it here, (with full acknowledgement to Rick.)

“VisionView is not designed to be a sophisticated interface solution where you can program the cameras on the plant floor. VisionView is a layer of protection that allows your operators to see the images, offer image corrective actions, and interact with planned controls that you design into the Custom View interface. VisionView by design does not give you access to the program environment. Your operators are safe from getting into the programming area, and you are safe from their curious minds. The price for a VisionView interface is about $ 1250. Now let's look at your cost without the VisionView ... a PoE switch is over $ 300, you have to pay for a box
(larger) and you have to setup the PC for your plant application, Now IT has to get involved protecting the PC, you have to load the Explorer software, you have to clean up the setup, yes you are using plant floor space, your operators now have a place where they can play solitaire, etd.
If you analyze the true cost of using a PC to display an image, you will discover that the cost of the PC is much much more that the burdened cost of using the VisionView. You subject your plant to risk every time you install a new PC on your plant floor, the VisionView does not open your plant to risk. The system is not accessible to tampering or the loading of foreign programs. With the VisionView you setup an IP address and plug in the box ... it is that easy. If you do a true cost analysis that involves both hardware, labor, risk and maintenance ... you will discover that you can achieve a very significant savings by using the VisionView systems.

“In a perfect world your cameras are connected to a plant network where you can make changes to the "program" from your desk. The VisionView is setup at the operation to give you a quality image and to give the operator an interface box protecting your solution from operator tampering. You can get the quality image without dragging a laptop onto the plant floor. You leave an open Ethernet port on your switch just in case you want to log into the system on the floor.”

So there you have it; it is possible to put an informative user interface out on the plant floor without surrendering your systems to enthusiastic amateur vision specialists

1 comment:

Passion for Vision said...

The enhancements to VisioView go beyond just the ability to see what is going on - there is also a password protected option of changing the parameters right on the factory floor - without a PC.

So, you are still protected from people who want to play with the system, but you can change over the line to a different product and train for new parts from the touch screen on the VisionView.

Heather S.