Adaptable and cost-effective solutions developed by the Machine Vision cluster
Over 80 industrial and academic partners are developing 23 new innovative solutions for real-life industrial problems in the EUTIST-IMV initiative. In this article three of them are presented.
Optical-fibre sensors detect the movement of intruders
Following terrorist attacks and attempted atrocities in recent years, the demand for security products has increased all over the world. Organisations have begun to ask for products with progressively more demanding specifications to secure the perimeters of their establishments. The Fence Guard system, developed by Finnish technology providers Multitec Finland, CCD Photonics and Hungarian partner Electro Technics can detect the motion of intruders across various terrains using hidden, fibre-optic cables. Fibre-optic cable has many advantages for security applications:
The Fence Guard system is based on the passage of laser light through an optical fibre. The optical medium acts as a filter which transforms the intensity- and polarisation of the light, if there are changes in the micro-bending states of the fibre cable. Back scattering of light is also taken into account. Changes through micro-bending can be detected using electronic imaging devices at both ends of the fibre cable.
More information on this project is available at www.multitecfinland.fi and at the cluster web site. You may also meet the project partners at the EUTIST-IMV cluster booth at Control 2003 (Germany) and Automaatio 2003.
Picture 1: Optical fibre installed under the road.
Automatic optical inspection system for the production of Multilayer Chip Carriers
The reliability of printed electronic devices such as Multilayer Chip Carriers (LTCC), Integrated Hybrid Technology (HIC), and Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) depends on quality controls immediately after each stage of the printing process. APIS, developed by ICR (Germany), CSAI s.r.l (Italy) and VIA electronic GmbH (Germany), is an optical inspection system for the automatic detection of flaws on printed and punched green LTCC devices. APIS makes innovative use of commercially available hardware modules. It offers a highly flexible integrated software solution for hardware control, image processing and failure analysis. Because of its modular design, APIS can be used either as a stand-alone system or it can be deployed at the various stages of production. APIS has been developed especially to control the quality of LTCC products and can be used to:
According to Mr. Bartnitzek, R&D Manager at Via electronic (the end-user partner of the project), the system developed is first of its kind in the market: "We use visual inspection and microscope for quality inspection. When density and complexity is increased, more accurate inspection system is needed. The systems in the market, are expensive and based on a scanner or CCD cameras. This system we are developing in the APIS projects is novel to the market, because of its low price and flexibility."
More information on this project is available at www.icrjena.de/apis.html and at the cluster web site.
Picture 2:APIS: Flaws on printed green LTCC tapes: Vias filling (circles) are too near to the printed line segments (left). Printing flaw on line segments (right).
X-ray tomography used in the production of timber
ULTRA is a small-scale test system to evaluate the potential of x-ray tomography for use in the production and grading of timber. It uses x-ray tomographic techniques to create 3D reconstructions of logs and the commercial viability of such a system. The principal benefits of a commercial system based on x-ray tomography are expected include an increased yield of 10% in value from raw material, better grading of the final product, a reduction of waste by 5% and better working conditions for machine operators.
Technology providers VTT Building and Transport , SR-Instruments, Invers and end-user partner Raunio Sawmill are developing together a near industrial-scale laboratory test programme that applies existing technology, combining tomographic technology with sawing optimisation software, to define the optimal sawing parameters and to evaluate the performance and cost for each potential application. Logs are imaged using a one-direction shape scanner and x-ray scanner. One pass of the object to be measured through the system provides a 2D image at a specific detection angle. This procedure is repeated for as many scanning angles as are required. Existing algorithms and software have been modified to fit the requirements of image analysis for logs. The reconstructed 3D images extract the essential features. The final output is a mathematical description of the logs giving precise details of their outer shapes and internal properties. More information on this technology is available at www.sr-instruments.com.
Mr. Virtanen from Raunio Sawmill finds the system being developed within the ULTRA project novel and interesting: "There have been some trial systems that exploit x-ray measurement technology and topographic analysis to grade timber, but they have not been viable for industrial use.”
Picture3: Surface of a log and its tomographic reconstruction.
EUTIST-IMV - European Commission supported initiative to help European companies to innovative and improve their business by using machine vision technology
EUTIST-IMV is a three-year machine vision cluster going till the end of this year. The goal of this initiative is to help European companies to innovate and improve their businesses by using machine vision technology and to disseminate the results of these projects to European wide audience of potential users. The approved projects in the cluster had to meet the requirements of process integration. Integrated Machine Vision (IMV) systems bring major benefits to industry by enabling better quality control, measurement and monitoring. The applications cover different industries and different technologies even beyond visible light, like MRI, x-ray and IR.
EUTIST-IMV cluster and its sub-projects are present in several international exhibitions, such as Automaatio 2003 and Scanautomatic 03. More details are available at the cluster web site.