Dr. Maximilian Lückenhaus of MVTec Software GmbH in Munich discusses special features of machine vision and its many applications in his article “The Role of Machine Vision in the Automotive Industry.”
Lückenhaus identifies four key features.
1. The automotive industry is an automation driver.
According to Lückenhaus:The automotive industry began using machine vision in the early days of the technology. The evolution of that technology has been largely driven by innovation and production processes within automotive manufacturing itself.
Due to the high quality requirements, the automotive sector places a series of special demands on machine [vision]. For example, solutions must be very robust, reliable and powerful. Furthermore, enormous price pressures in the automotive and supplier industries call for competitively priced products that offer maximum value and are nevertheless suited to reduce production costs over the long term. Other vital aspects are the long-term availability of the machine vision products, including qualified support, as well as comprehensive knowledge of disparate technologies, from simple 2D measuring methods to 3D vision and image sequence analysis.
2. Machine vision is the eye of the production process.
Lückenhaus says, “Robot-assisted processes in particular benefit from the multifaceted opportunities offered by machine vision technology because it acts as something akin to the eye of the production processes in the automotive industry.”
The increased use of 3D vision technologies has increased production scenarios as well.
3. Vision technology is now determining the direction of movement in the 3D space.
3D vision applications are being used across the board in automotive manufacturing including quality assurance, identification, control of robots, and quality control at the final stage.
Multicamera usage and recorded image formations now make it possible to “move, track, and exactly localize objects that are moving in the three-dimensional space.”
Lückenhaus states, “The technology opens up a number of entirely new possibilities for the interaction between humans and machines in automated production processes.”
4. Machine vision ensures fluid and safe interaction between humans and machines.
Machine vision software can now anticipate and dictate work flow and human/machine interaction.
According to Lückenhaus:
If someone comes near this area, the machine vision software, using multiple images, knows exactly where the person is and in which direction he or she is going. The robot only stops if the paths of human and machine are expected to cross and make a collision unavoidable. This ability to react to human trajectories reduces the number of cumbersome machine stops and production interruptions. And fewer stops mean more savings for the company.
Machine vision technology is profoundly affecting processes in automotive manufacturing and has crossed over to other major industries as well. Machine vision optimizes and automates processes to ensure reliability, quality, and safety.