Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vision-based tool protection

I don’t want you getting the idea that I’m secretly working for Teledyne Dalsa, but here’s another interesting story about an application of their BOA smart cameras. It comes from the February 2012 pages of Control design magazine and is titled, “Avoid a Pressing Problem”.

Most smart camera applications seem to be for product quality control, but in this case the goal was to protect expensive tooling and prevent unplanned downtime. You can read the article for the details; my goal here is to open your eyes to a whole new class of vision-based cost reduction opportunities.

With mold tooling costing tens of thousands of dollars and equipment utilization paramount in hitting cost targets, I’m surprised more effort isn’t put in to these types of applications. Of course, it’s often very difficult to get a good view of the tooling, and the environment can be pretty camera-unfriendly, but I’ve long wondered about some kind of scanner – one of those CIS-type sensors perhaps – that would check everything is shipshape with the tooling between cycles.

This BOA system doesn’t get that fancy, but it shows it can be done.

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