3D Vision Systems

3D machine vision systems are able to not only see their environment but calculate where an object is located, as well as its orientation. These systems are typically comprised of multiple cameras or one or more laser displacement sensors.

Applications using laser displacement sensors include surface inspection and volume measurement and produce 3D results with as few as a single camera. The object or camera, in these situations, must be moved to scan the entire product similar to line scanning. A height map is then generated from the displacement of the reflected lasers' location on an object. With a calibrated offset laser, displacement sensors can measure parameters such as surface height and planarity with accuracy within 20 μm.

Multi-camera setups used in 3D vision applications take a different approach. These systems deploy laser triangulation to create a point cloud, or a digitized model of an object’s shape and location. Point clouds provide highly accurate and reliable inspection results.

3D mapping also accounts for unexpected variables, such as changes in contrast, color, lighting, and position. So this type of machine vision is ideal for metrology, guidance, and defect detection applications that require high precision while tolerating variations in environment and objects under analysis.

By adding an extra dimension to image analysis, manufacturers automate applications once considered too challenging for traditional automation, while gaining all the benefits and features of 2D vision. These benefits include:

  • Quality improvements
  • Defect prevention
  • Compliance with traceability requirements
  • Waste reduction
  • Yield increase
  • Productivity boost


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