Image processing extends the perception of machines. The more intelligent the eyes of the machine are integrated in the control, the greater their benefits.

Integrate image processing systems intelligently

For many machine builders, image processing is already a useful and versatile add-on to the innovation model. Eckelmann's image processing systems are characterized by their high degree of integration and practicality.
The following illustration shows the schematic structure of an image processing solution that interacts directly with the real-time control system.

What does an image processing system do?

Industrial image processing is the purposeful use of imaging sensors in machinery and equipment. It includes the automatic generation, interpretation and storage of images, image data and image sequences (videos) using appropriate hardware and software.

An image processing system essentially includes:

  • Camera or vision sensor
  • Optics
  • Lighting
  • Evaluation PC
  • Image processing software

Eckelmann uses established image processing software from various manufacturers for application development. Such program libraries provide a large repertoire of image processing and machine vision algorithms and accelerate engineering. Thus, there are powerful algorithms for geometric image transformations, image enhancements, 3D image processing, pattern recognition (morphological operations), image segmentation, tools for OCR / OCV, code identification, color operations, etc.

Eckelmann also has tried-and-tested solution packages for image processing on machine tools, which provide frequently required functions, such as:

  • Visualization of machine, workpiece or tool
  • Live image display and point & teach function to assist in programming image processing
  • Position detection for optical alignment / position correction of the workpiece in the machine coordinate system
  • High-precision measurement of workpieces or parts
  • Automatic calibration of axle systems and tools
  • Reading and verification of optical information on workpieces or packaging by OCR or code reading, braille
  • High-precision contour and seam tracking
  • ...

Many other examples of application-specific image processing functions can also be found under applications.

Extremely versatile: tasks for image processing

The application possibilities for image processing are extremely versatile. In the following, we give you an overview of the most common tasks in machine automation and the automation of material flow & handling:

  • Automatic optical inspection (AOI), recognition of defects on surfaces, damage and assembly errors
  • Optical alignment and position correction (of workpieces)
  • 2D and 3D surveying
  • Counting
  • Analysis of movements
  • Reading codes, e.g. barcodes, data matrix, color codes, etc.
  • OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and OCV (Optical Character Verification), characters on labels and workpieces, readability check
  • Detection / classification and sorting of workpieces, components, etc.
  • Detecting and comparing object features
  • Completeness check
  • Object tracking
  • Collecting statistical information and storing image credits, e.g. for the quality documentation
Arno Dewald, Eckelmann AG