Free Project


Machine vision is not quite an "off-the-shelf" or "end-user technology" In order for machine vision to be successful, it requires competent integration within the target process or system. This is sometimes simple, but often more difficult that it would seem. Successful systems integration requires comprehensive technological expertise in a wide range of engineering, optical science and computer science.

Understanding and proper application of the optical and lighting techniques used in machine vision can make or break the success of a project. Although a person can take a 1 day workshop on machine vision lighting, it is the years of experience of applying these techniques and image analysis tricks that make Machine Vision a very specialized field in engineering.

Examples of machine vision lighting techniques: SME MVA Lighting and Optics Guide

Currently machine vision technology can be classified into 5 different solutions; Smart Sensor, Smart Camera, PC-Based, Line Scan, 3D.

Smart Sensors:

Affordable sensor with an imaging chip designed to replace photoelectric sensors for more reliable inspection and part detection. Abilities are limited to edge, intensity and contrast detection/triggering.
Cognex Checker Smart Sensor
Very limited toolset.

Smart Cameras:

Rugged all-in-in system that has an embedded operating system, vision software and imaging sensor. Although not as flexible as a PC-based system, Smart Cameras can perform a large number of the tasks that a PC system is capable of.
Cognex Insight Micro Smart Camera
Often maintainable by production maintenance staff. For single or dual camera systems, cheaper then PC system.
Flexibility to inspect multiple products on the same smart camera is often difficult. Limited User Interface


An interface card (Firewire, Ethernet, Cameralink, etc) connects the PC with the camera. All the vision tool processing occurs on CPU. Results are posted via an interface card either with a physical I/O or protocol like RSLinx, Profibus, etc.
Cognex VisionPro PC-Based Vision
Faster than a smart camera. High end pattern, color and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tools available. Highly customizable User Interface.
Software development creates a longer lead time to system installation. Environmental controlled enclosure often required.

Line Scan:

A PC-based system capable of acquiring images from continuous or cylindrical surfaces. Unlike area scan cameras, which generate frames and have longer exposure times in order to capture the entire field of view, line scan image acquisition is made pixel line by pixel line. Often used in manufacturing of steel, aluminum, rubber, paper, plastics, textiles, etc.
Line Scan Machine Vision
Very high resolution images possible.
Specialized knowledge and equipment required to implement such technology.

3D Vision:

A PC-based system that utilizes 2 or more cameras or 1 camera with a laser line. Used in robotic guidance systems and gauging applications that are not possible with a single fixed camera.
3D Machine Vision

Our Machine Vision Solutions:

We integrate the following machine vision Smart Cameras and PC Toolkits:

  • Cognex VisionPro info
  • Cognex Insight info
  • IPD - iNspect info
  • IPD - Sherlock info
  • Acuity
  • DVT
  • Xcaliper