Samantha Frost, 04-18-2012
Connectivity is essential to vision and ID applications as a means to share data, support decision-making and enable highly-efficient integrated processes. Networking enables vision systems to transmit pass/fail results to PCs for analysis, or communicate directly with PLCs, robots and other factory automation devices in an integrated process control system.
It’s important to find a system that supports the complete set of standard networking protocols:
• TCP/IP client/server enables vision and ID systems to easily share results data with other systems and control devices over Ethernet without any code development.
• DNS (Domain Name Service) allows you to assign each vision or ID system a meaningful name, such as “Bottling Line System 1,” instead of having to use a numeric IP address.
• FTP (File Transfer Protocol) allows inspection images to be stored on the network for later analysis.
• Telnet is an Internet standard protocol that enables remote login and connection from host devices.
• DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) allows a vision or ID system to automatically receive its network IP address from a server, enabling true plug-and-play performance.
• SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) enables you to immediately receive an e-mail on your PC or cell phone when a problem occurs on the production line.
To integrate a vision or ID system with the PLCs, robots and other automation devices in your plant, it is important to find a system that supports Industrial Ethernet protocols that enable vision and ID systems to be linked to the most popular PLCs and other devices over a single Ethernet cable, eliminating the need for complex wiring schemes and costly network gateways. It is also critical that your system supports industrial protocols such as Fieldbus networks (a protocol gateway accessory is usually needed to add a vision or ID system to a Fieldbus network) and the RS-232 serial protocols which is needed to communicate with most robot controllers.