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Automatic Test, Optimization and Verification System for Vision System

26 October 2011 - Cognex Corporation has introduced a new feature for its In-Sight vision systems that allows manufacturers to easily and automatically test the vision system and verify that it is functioning correctly. This new functionality called TestRun is available only with In-Sight vision systems and gives users increased confidence in the validity of their vision inspection results. Now, users can confirm program changes by quickly checking against the “baseline” configuration.

TestRun also makes it easy for system integrators and OEMs to demonstrate that the vision system meets the acceptance criteria when the system is installed at the end user’s facility. And, machine operators can minimize bad results by easily checking that the vision hardware is performing properly.  In addition to testing system functionality, TestRun assists quality managers to identify “borderline” inspections and to refine pass/fail criteria.

Achieving consistent vision system performance depends on maintaining consistent image quality. Vision programs can contain many setup parameters. TestRun assigns range limits to these parameters, and when it executes, confirms that the current setup parameters are within the expected limits.

In image inspection, TestRun provides application validation against an image database.  A library of “challenge” images includes examples of “good” parts and “bad” parts. Reference images of bad parts can be further graded by the specific defect(s) present in the part. When TestRun executes, each image in the library is evaluated by the current vision program. TestRun confirms that the results from the current vision program match the “expected” results.

Consistent results from a vision program depend on consistent image acquisition quality. Hardware tests measure the integrity of the image acquired by the vision system by checking factors such as the focus, position, and the illumination of the current system.

“For OEMs and systems integrators, TestRun ensures that the machines they manufacture and the systems they develop will continue to provide the required functionality when their clients’ conditions change,” said Bhaskar Banerjee, Cognex Vision Systems Business Unit Manager. “Machine operators can now manage a myriad of changes on the factory floor and maintain the reliability of their inspection systems with little effort.  TestRun logs changes and provides validation after any change or regular checkup, helping quality managers avoid costly and lengthy validation processes.”

Users can set up a test routine configuration with TestRun in In-Sight Explorer 4.6 or later using a simple TestRun Setup Wizard—no special spreadsheet programming required.  After set-up, TestRun routines can be performed from In-Sight Explorer to verify the test routine or to check program changes. Detailed results may be viewed in the In-Sight Explorer Palette pane.

The VisionView operator interface is used to execute TestRun on the shop floor. TestRun alerts the operator if there are any conditions that could negatively impact the operation of the vision system. With the TestRun Plug-in, an operator can perform the test routines on all systems attached to the VisionView—there is no custom HMI programming or setup required. The Plug-in automatically detects the presence of the TestRun configuration on cameras.

“TestRun builds maximum confidence in the inspection system.  Bad results can be minimized because operators can easily check the vision system,” said Banerjee, “If the operator changes the program, TestRun ensures that the changes do not break any other program functionality.  TestRun offers confirmable, documented testing saved to log files that can confirm system performance after a new project has been deployed.”

TestRun functionality is available now.

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