General Questions on Smart Cameras and Vision Sensors
Until a few years ago, a vision sensor was the simpler version of a smart camera. For example, a vision sensor of the smart camera was inferior in all respects in terms of specification and only solved simple OK and NOK applications. In recent years, however, image processing solutions have developed greatly, meaning that the terms are now often used interchangeably. The historically “simple” vision sensor is now similar to the previous smart camera in terms of functionality. In contrast, applications that could only be solved with PC-based systems in the past are now easily handled by smart cameras.
A vision system or image processing system consists of a large number of individual components. In addition to the camera, lens, analysis module (PC) and illumination, these also basically include image processing software. Vision systems are used to solve a wide range of tasks and enable companies from a wide range of industries to ensure fast and highly automated production. For every application, it is important to ensure that the individual parts are perfectly matched to each other.
When integrating a smart camera into an existing system, it is an advantage that the camera does not require a new control cabinet, as the image is evaluated directly in the camera. Compared to the smart camera, the composition of a PC-based image processing system is more complex and takes up significantly more space due to the numerous components.
In the majority of image processing tasks, the parameters object size and working distance are fixed. In these cases, C mount lenses with fixed focal distance and manually adjustable focus are preferred.
However, if the object size and/or the working distance in an application are variable, the focus of the lens must be adjusted quickly. The application software should ideally perform this adjustment dynamically using auto-focus. To do this, the focus must be motorized. Here you will find wenglor cameras with an integrated autofocus lens.
A gyroscope or position sensor is used to measure the orientation and rotational speed of an object in a space. In addition to the many possible applications in aviation and on the high seas, such a sensor installed in a smart camera is also used for continuous position monitoring. This ensures that unwanted changes in the camera position can be detected and eliminated. In the wenglor portfolio, the smart camera B60 has a gyroscope function.
There are different types of illumination filters: Angle changers are small optical diffusers that scatter the light emitted by the lighting module and thus increase the beam angle. They are used to reduce bright light spots in the image and prevent overexposure.
However, polarization filters that polarize the light emitted by illumination, i.e. move it in one direction of oscillation, are most widely used. Polarization filters are accessories for illumination and cameras that can improve contrast in the image by reducing gloss and reflections. They are often used in combination in applications with glossy or transparent materials (such as glass or PET bottles).
Lens filters are mounted in front of lenses and ensure that interfering wavelength ranges of the light spectrum – in most cases ambient light – are suppressed. The basic idea is to enhance the contrast of the resulting image, similar to the use of colored illumination to lighten or darken colored features in the image.
Convenient plug-and-play adapters are available for connection of external illumination, which significantly reduce the cabling requirements. A connection overview can be found on product page ZDCG004.
In robot vision applications, the camera can be mounted statically above the application or directly on the robot.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Smart Camera B60
During the development of the smart camera B60, particular emphasis was placed on proximity to the customer and the highest quality. In a direct comparison, the outstanding computing power of the B60, which results in faster application cycle rates, should be highlighted. Users also benefit from a complete framework with numerous vision tools, standardized industrial interfaces and web-based visualization.
The status LEDs on both sides continuously show the current device status. If, for example, the light bars light up in blue, there is no fault and the camera is running in normal operation. Refer to the operating instructions for the meaning of the different colored display for the operating status.
The smart camera B60 has a button that makes convenient functions available. A short press (≤1 sec.) triggers image recording. Pressing and holding (3–6 sec.) activates the localizer and field of view marking, which make it easier to find the network device and align the camera during installation. If the camera is no longer found in the network, pressing it for 10–15 seconds triggers a reset of the network settings, after which the machine vision device can be reached again via the standard IP address 192.168.100.1.
The six LEDs next to the button of the B60 are I/O status LEDs and indicate the switching status of the input or output. The I/O status LED shows whether an input or output is switched directly on the device. In the event of a fault, it is thus possible to quickly and easily check whether the inputs or outputs switch as expected, the device is precisely configured and the control system is correctly programmed.
The Smart Camera B60 has three ports: Power I/O, RTE and LAN. In addition to the power supply and the serial interface, a total of six GPIOs are available via the M12×1, 12-pin power I/O connection. Above the M12×1, 8-pin (x-coded) RTE connector is Industrial Ethernet (e.g. PROFINET), while the 8-pin (x-coded) LAN plug, also M12×1, can be used for quick parameterization via 1-GBit Ethernet. Power over Ethernet (PoE) functionality means only one cable is required to operate the camera.
The term piezo refers to the piezoelectric element installed in the auto-focus module of the B60, which is set into a standing wave movement by a high-frequency electrical voltage. This can be converted into a thrust force for a linear movement and thus ensures the focus setting. In addition to the low susceptibility to temperature fluctuations, the advantages of this technology include very fast focusing speeds, high precision and quiet adjustment.
Yes, the B60 detects if it has been adjusted while switched off and reports the position change as soon as it has started up again.
The smart camera B60 is available in C mount and auto-focus versions. In the case of the autofocus model, one of the lighting modules that can be ordered separately is generally suitable for ideal illumination of the image processing application. For C mount equipment, it is advisable to use external illumination.
No, the smart camera B60 is not an open Linux camera. It is supplied with wenglor uniVision 3 pre-installed image processing software. In the uniVision Script software package, programming in HDevelop with the HALCON image processing library is possible. The HDevEngine runs directly on the smart camera B60 and HALCON scripts can be integrated seamlessly into the project.
No, the smart camera B60 cannot be freely programmed. The camera is supplied with the pre-installed wenglor uniVision 3 image processing software. In the uniVision Script software package, programming in HDevelop with the HALCON image processing library is possible. The HDevEngine runs directly on the smart camera B60 and HALCON scripts can be integrated seamlessly into the project.
The smart camera B60 offers a wide range of installation options for stable and reliable installation in industrial environments.
- Cost-efficient mounting system Z60Z001 for round profiles
- Mounting on aluminum profiles via the M8 thread of heat sink Z60K001
- Increased flexibility in alignment with mounting system ZVZZ001
- Adapter ZVZC002, ZVZC003 and ZVZC004 for direct mounting of illumination and camera on aluminum profiles.
- Mounting adapter ZVZC001 for robot vision applications with universal robots and as mounting for calibration plates
The Smart Camera B60 can be supplied with uniVision 3 software and its functionality can be expanded with additional modules at any time. The uniVision Script license (DNNL019 or DNNL020) enables the use of the state-of-the-art image processing library HALCON. It is not possible to use other third-party software.
The smart camera B60 has numerous interfaces for the specific requirements of the industry. These include 6 digital I/Os, Ethernet (TCP/IP, UDP) and Industrial Ethernet (PROFINET, EtherNet/IP).
The B60 Robot Vision DNNL021 license can also be used to activate the interface to robot controls.
Calibration plates are used in measuring applications to clean up optical distortion and ensure precise conversion from pixel to millimeter values. This takes place in the wenglor uniVision 3 software via the Image Calibration module.
In addition, a calibration plate enables simple and fast calibration in robot vision applications. This process also involves coordinate matching, thus eliminating the distortion caused by the optics. For precise calibration, the calibration plate should be completely in the camera’s visual field and cover at least half of the visual field. Paper-printed calibration patterns result in inaccurate calibration. Opaque panels (e.g. ZVZJ001) are suitable for incident light applications, transparent (e.g. ZVZJ005) for transmitted light applications.
No, the smart camera B60 is supplied with wenglor uniVision 3 pre-installed image processing software. In the uniVision Script software package, programming in HDevelop with the HALCON image processing library is possible. The HDevEngine runs directly on the smart camera B60 and HALCON scripts can be integrated seamlessly into the project.
The use of a heat sink is recommended for high cycle rates (i.e. checking many objects within a very short time), high resolutions or computationally intensive evaluations.
A calibration object is required for calibrating the camera and robot in pick-and-place applications. Professional, rigid and temperature-resistant calibration objects are available in different sizes. Alternatively, you can also print out the calibration sample yourself (PDF download). For the calibration routine, various positions must be taught in in which the camera sees the calibration object so that the relationship between the camera and robot is determined.
If the relationship between the camera and robot does not change, recalibration is not necessary.
Relevant accessories for robot vision applications are available, for example for mounting the camera directly on the robot.