Machine vision and automation merging

Industry experts agree that the importance and innovation potential of machine vision for automated production will continue to increase. "The machine vision specification published in mid-2018, i.e. the Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture Companion Specification (OPC UA Vision), is promoting the innovation process in the machine vision industry," said Florian Niethammer, VISION Project Manager. A large number of the more than 460 exhibitors at VISION will present their solutions for machine vision in Industry 4.0 from 6 to 8 November 2018.

One language for Industry 4.0 communication in future

OPC UA Vision is an open, Ethernet-based standard for communication and data exchange in networked systems. The new standard is supported by nearly every relevant automation manufacturer and allows machines in smart factories to speak the same language. Dr. Christian Mosch from the VDMA Industry 4.0 Forum describes the significance of the standard as follows: "Publication of the OPC UA Companion Specification for machine vision is an important step towards cross-manufacturer interoperability in mechanical engineering. Industry 4.0 communication in future will be based on this development and will be enhanced still further.“

Quicker development for greater efficiency

According to Dr. Horst Heinol-Heikkinen, Chairman of the OPC UA Vision Initiative of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) and Managing Director of Asentics, the advantages for users are easier configuration and integration in existing automation systems. "Interoperability is the key to differentiation of our products in a networked Industry 4.0 world," said Dr Heinol-Heikkinen.

Karlheinz Hohm, Vice President R&D Industrial Automation at Isra Vision, also regards the current activities relating to OPC UA Vision in a positive light: "Easier integration of machine vision in automation makes production processes more efficient and also more flexible. Since no expert knowledge whatsoever is needed for integration and use, users can quickly and easily automate their production themselves.“ The VISION exhibitor has already been offering plug & automate products for easier integration of machine vision in automation for some years now and was awarded the Innovation Prize of German industry in this respect in 2015.

Photo : OPC UA Vision increases the opportunities for the exchange of information between different machine vision systems and between the machine vision system and the machine control unit, line controllers, software systems or to SCADA, MES and ERP systems. (Photo source: Asentics)

VISION, the leading world trade fair for machine vision, will take place this year in Stuttgart from 6 to 8 November 2018. Held every two years, the trade fair covers the entire spectrum of machine vision technology. In addition to first-class exhibitors, VISION has always been characterised by its strong international character and a varied accompanying programme: one permanent fixture at the trade fair will also be held again this year, i.e. the "Industrial VISION Days", the world's largest talk forum for machine vision. Other highlights include the "Integration Area", the special show on "International Machine Vision Standards" under the aegis of the EMVA, and the IPC4 Vision stand showcasing industrial PCs (IPCs).