What to Know When You Buy a Vision System for Inspection

There are always dozens of pros and cons to weigh anytime your shop has an opportunity to expand its inspection capacity. What kind of training will your staff need to operate new equipment? Will future contracts keep new equipment in use? Vision systems require their own particular considerations; they can be incredibly fast and accurate machines, but much depends on your shop’s ability to use them the right way. Vision systems are sensor-based machines that quickly measure small parts ranging in size from 200-600 mm2.

vision system

The first obstacle to optimized use of a vision system is providing the right lighting. Ordinary factory floor lighting will not be adequate due to their sensitive nature. Burnt-out, blocked, or flickering lights will cause havoc on your measurements. Sensors measure through changes in light, so these must come from the parts under inspection themselves. Otherwise, your inspections will turn up inaccurate and false results.

Field of View
Field of view is determined by working distance: the space between the part and the sensor performing measurements. The FOV should be slightly bigger than the dimensions the machine is meant to measure. The next consideration is part placement: the parts you need inspected will have to be facing the sensors. Will parts need to be adjusted to make this happen, and will the component be stationary or in motion? There are solutions to all of these scenarios, but it’s important to know in advance which ones you will need.

Flexible Software
When it comes to the metrology software you’ll use to run visions systems, there are plenty of considerations to balance. You may need to find a compromise between your current programming capabilities and flexibility across hardware. If you have well-trained, experienced programmers on hand, take advantage of their skills and opt for more programming-heavy software that will put more control in your hands. As your inspection needs expand, cross-platform capabilities will save your money and manpower in the future. The most important factor to keep in mind, though, is the appropriateness of software to your particular application.

Optical, Touch, and Laser
The good news is that multisensor systems from OGP, sold by measurement companies, offer all three of these functionalities. Contact probing may be necessary for parts with difficult-to-image elements. However, vision systems that rely on optics must be used whenever a component is made of a malleable material that will change with contact. According to CMM, optical methods are generally the best way to adapt to parts that involve areas a contact probe can’t reach. Laser scanners, meanwhile, can be used for components with high levels of complexity.

Any shop that’s considering quality assurance expansion for small parts should evaluate whether or not it would be more cost efficient to inspect pieces on the line, in-house, or by outsourcing to contractors with state-of-the-art machines. Contact metrology experts now to find out more about vision systems.