The standardized Cognex In-Sight Explorer software platform is available across the entire range of Vision systems from low-end to high end.
In the selection of image processing systems, investment decisions are often based on the hardware technology. The current customer requirements show that the software platform of the systems are of great strategic importance. Thus in addition to the selection of image processing software, the user interfaces and their image processing tools must be included in the investment decision. Cognex offers a complete solultion in the area of Machine Vision.
Cognex has set the bar very high with regard to ease of use. In this, the world-wide leading provider of industrial image processing solutions not only concentrates on the hardware, but also covers the entire application range from low-end to mid-range to high-end with a comprehensive, user-friendly user interface. For example, the EasyBuilder configuration environent enables easy introduction to the standard applications of image processing within the Cognex In-Sight Explorer software. More challenging tasks can be undertaken using the spreadsheet view also from within the In-Sight Explorer software. The user only has to familiarise with the In-Sight Explorer software platform and can then use all of the tools they need from simple step by step setup process to powerful and flexible vision spreadsheet for more difficult applications
As Cognex’s experiences show, many users would like to expand and deepen the use of their Vision technology over time, and increase performance. This usually means that the entire Vision structure needs to be rethought, with the result that completely new, sometimes very complex systems are installed. John Keating, Director of In-Sight Product Marketing at Cognex, explains the dilemma: “For expansions of Vision applications, users want to work with their same tried and trusted software, because they have built up expertise and already work with it efficiently. New software, on the other hand, requires an increased expense in its introduction.”
Therefore, Cognex has focussed on the modularity of its solutions in addition to ease of use. Cognex In-Sight Explorer software can be used with many products and is scalable in regard to the functions available. This means flexibility, above all when the Vision application needs to be expanded, from the use of the easy beginner’s camera, which can be quickly and easily configured with Easybuilder, to the use of a more challenging system based on freely configurable spreadsheets. These are tables for programming the camera for a complete image processing application.
Software is becoming strategically more important
Flexibility and user-friendliness without loss of performance capacity are important criteria for beginners in image processing, which Cognex can fulfil with its reliable In-Sight Explorer software. On the hardware side, the user has a choice of a large number of easy to use image processing sensors with the In-Sight 2000 series. John Keating comments: “The user can start with the very compact In-Sight 2000 Easy-to-Use sensor, and grow pursuant to their requirements, without leaving the trusted, reliable software platform. Thus the Vision solution always fits with the application, even when the challenges mount.”
The series works perfectly with the In-Sight Explorer, overall a solution that is very easy to learn. Users have trusted the reliability of the In-Sight systems for over 20 years. This trust should not be lost during a system upgrade. For this reason, Cognex has decided on flexible standardization for the In-Sight Explorer platform: The combination of software and hardware can cover everything modularly from low-end to high-end, and thus supports nearly all applications. In addition, the software also offers sophisticated functions and configuration options for experienced users depending on the performance required, in order to efficiently and reliably master even the most difficult applications.
The Easybuilder interface, the practical and simple tool provided in the Cognex In-Sight Explorer software is designed for first time users and beginners, and offers easy step-by-step set-up of the application. With this, even inexperienced users can quickly achieve a reliable survey activity in nearly any production environment. Programming knowledge is not required. Thus applications can be implemented and started in the shortest period of time. John Keating says: “In contrast to our competition, we offer a seamless transition from the low-end to the high-end ranges with our flexible solution.
This flexibility is required when requirements rise, such as with more challenging image processing applications, where one uses not only partial recognition, but an immediate comparison of image data or a rapid read-out of codes and immediate verification of the data is required. In these cases, In-Sight Explorer is flexible enough to support even higher performance Cognex cameras such as the In-Sight 7000 and to offer functionalities accordingly. Thus experienced users can also perform more complex image processing applications thanks to expanded configuration options. Advanced users can use the capacity and flexibility of spreadsheets in In-Sight Explorer to program solutions for the most difficult applications, with a much reduced number of hardware platforms.
The hardware of tomorrow must fit in with the software of today
The In-Sight 2000 series uses In-Sight Explorer for the set-up and monitoring of image processing inspections. The camera has integrated high-performance image generation with in-line changeable lenses and a patent pending LED ring light, which creates even, diffuse light over the entire image and makes expensive external lighting unnecessary. Customers can easily replace the lens and change the colour of the integrated ring light.
Even the new, recently introduced In-Sight 7000 system of the second generation (G2) uses the In-Sight Explorer platform for the set-up and monitoring of image processing platforms. In this series, the advanced user can use spreadsheet views for specific requirements. The system includes a complete set of high-performance In-Sight image processing tools, including the PatMax RedLine for reliable part location, SurfaceFX feature extraction technology for optimal image generation and OCRMax for optical character recognition. Thus In-Sight users achieve maximum performance in inspection tasks, while at the same time keeping errors to a minimum.
In-Sight 7000 (G2) is a high-performance image processing system equipped with many functions. With its versatility, it is suitable for rapid and precise inspections of the most diverse parts, regardless of industry. Thanks to its compact size, it fits in seamlessly to production lines with limited space. The improved performance keeps pace with increasing line speeds. The modular design of the In-Sight 7000 has over 400 different field configurations, and makes it the most flexible image processing system. A large selection of illumination modules, optical filters and polarizers can be switched in and out without problems to fulfil the special requirements of an application. The broad palette of field changeable C-mount and S-mount lenses as well as industrial autofocus lens options increase the versatility.
Standardization in the Vision sector is a strategic decision.
For companies, standardization to one software platform means future-proofing technology and reliability in production. There are hardly any down times, because the systems can be rapidly substituted for an upgrade. John Keating comments: “Now you can acquire replacement parts within 48 hours. The replacement devices can be easily exchanged and rapidly configured, because the settings are assumed from the prior system.” The expense in personnel and time is reduced because the work with the same user interface enables high efficiency without a great deal of training in any stage of development. The in-house expertise in the operation of the Vision systems reduces support costs.
In terms of long-term corporate strategy, the standardization of image processing and its underlying software platform is a sensible step in automation, which many companies are already using. Cognex technology offers protection for your investment, because the industry leaders will also offer state-of-the-art hardware and software in the future. A guarantee for this is Cognex’ continual investment in research and development. A total of 900 patents prove this, and establish Cognex as a technology leader. In addition, the company is represented by 500 partners in 30 countries, and thus provides established on-site support anywhere in the world.