Monday, March 18, 2013

Does the brand of vision system matter?

In “A vision system selection case study” posted back on March 10th I shared a link to a somewhat unremarkable machine vision case study. This concerned a company that had decided to go with Omron for its vision.

Now Omron make a decent vision sensor, although I wouldn’t describe them as being “leading edge” in terms of capabilities or technology. In fact without looking at the spec sheet I’d lump them in with the low end Keyence and SICK systems, possibly Cognex Checker too. In short, I didn’t give much thought as to why Omron was the “answer to a maiden’s prayer,” as some might say.

But reader David Dechow did, and he commented too. Click the link to read his whole post, but the gist of it is this: it’s unlikely there was anything so special about the task or the Omron system that meant no other system would work.

I think this is a very important point, and I tend to agree. Within a product class – say, vision sensors – there’s little to choose in terms of capabilities. Sure, some might be easier to set up than others, and some may have a steeper learning curve, but it’s my experience that with skilled implementation they can all do the job.

And it follows from this that if a task demands a higher-level set of tools – advanced pattern matching, for example, then no sensor is going to do the job and you’ll need to look at high-end smart cameras or possible go to a PC-based system.

I could probably turn this in to Brian’s Rule of Vision System Selection, which would say: define the capabilities needed for the vision task, then search among that class of products for the one that best meets your needs. Or something like that.

By the way, I’m sure most of you already know David Dechow, but if not, let me give a little shout-out to him and his company, Aptúra Machine Vision Solutions. Browse his site and you’ll see David knows his stuff.

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