Vision Sensors for Inspection, Packaging and Robotics

Oct. 24, 2023
Pepperl+Fuchs’ VOS 2D and SmartRunner Explorer 3D vision sensors highlight onboard processing and pre-calibrated capabilities for immediate use.

Use of industrial vision sensing technologies continues to expand for four key reasons: increasing ease of use, lower cost factors and the ability to increase throughput and quality. As a result, vision sensors are fast becoming integral aspects of numerous automation material handling applications, as Pepperl+Fuchs noted at Pack Expo 2023.

The components of Pepperl+Fuchs’ VOS 2D universal vision series—which includes the sensor, integrated lens and lighting, and protective cover—can be flexibly combined depending on the application requirements to meet a range of uses across industry. The VOS1000 has a 640 × 480 pixel resolution, the VOS2000 has a 1,280 × 960 pixel resolution and the VOS5000 has a 2560 x 2048 pixel resolution. The higher resolutions of the VOS2000 and VOS5000 allow for use of the sensors as C-mount variants using special lenses and system lighting connected via a pulse output to handle measurement tasks with critical lighting requirements over large distances with high accuracy.

Pepperl+Fuchs points out that the VOS sensors onboard processing capabilities means that an external PC is not required for image data processing. As noted by Perry Hudson, packaging market manager at Pepperl+Fuchs, the VOS series can be used for positioning, barcode reading and quality control.

The IP65-rated SmartRunner Explorer 3D is a raw data vision sensor from Pepperl+Fuchs designed for more complex applications that require detailed contour detection, including inspection of goods on conveyor belts, robotic pick-and-place applications and even collision avoidance for automated guided vehicles (AGVs). The high chip resolution used in the SmartRunner Explorer 3D means that even very small objects and their properties can be mapped using the depth information in the z direction and sensor’s integrated Ethernet Gigabit interface allows for 2D and 3D images to be generated quickly without data loss. Another key feature of this sensor is that it is deliver pre-calibrated for immediate use.

Hudson demonstrated how the SmartRunner Explorer 3D with stereo vision technology can be used to create a point cloud of products in a tray or a carton on a conveyor to improve quality control applications with either humans doing the picking and sorting or a delta robot. The SmartRunner Explorer 3D with time-of-flight technology has a larger measuring range for applications where fast response times are essential, such as with AGV collision avoidance. Pepperl+Fuchs says the 940-nanometer infrared light on time-of-flight sensor is not sensitive to ambient light, meaning that it can be used indoors and outdoors.

In the video below, Pepperl+Fuchs’ Perry Hudson explains the company’s new 2D and 3D vision sensors as well as its IO-Link communications which support EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Profinet, OPC UA and MQTT.

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