Black Box Explains Machine Vision
Machine vision technology—the image-based automatic inspection process—has matured greatly and is now becoming an indispensable tool in manufacturing to increase quality and profitability. USB 3.0,
with its 5-Gbps throughput and ability to send power and data over the same line, has greatly contributed to this growth.
What is machine vision?
Machine vision is a system often used in assembly line applications that incorporates cameras, computers, software, and other hardware to automatically take pictures and inspect materials.
Machine vision uses a small industrial camera and lights mounted near an assembly line to take pictures of product as it passes. The images are then analyzed by software to determine if various aspects of the product meet acceptable specifications. For instance, if a label is misplaced, the bottle will be rejected. All of this is done at incredibly high speeds—fractions of a second.
Machine vision is an indispensable tool for quality assurance, sorting, and material handling in every industry, including electronics, food processing, pharmaceuticals, packaging, automotive, etc. It is an economical way to make sure sub-spec product is rejected. Machine vision can be used to inspect for geometry, placement, packaging, labeling, seal integrity, finish, color, pattern, bar code, and almost any other parameter.
USB 3.0 and machine vision
USB 3.0 brings a number of advantages to machine vision systems. Because of its 5-Gbps throughput, ten times more than USB 2.0, it eliminates problems of stability and low latency for image transmission
and camera control. USB 3.0 enables the transmission of higher-resolution, higher-frame rate video with no loss of quality.
USB 3.0 also sends data and power on the same line. This is enough to power a camera without worrying about a separate power supply or power line. In addition, compared to older systems, USB 3.0 is plug-and-play, making it easy to swap out cameras and other hardware, such as USB 3.0 extenders, hubs, and other devices.