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Five Edge Inspection Techniques in Machine Vision Technology

Finding an edge is one of the most critical functions in machine vision systems, whose algorithms comb through the pixels in a digital image in search of lines, arcs and geometric shapes. Software translates this data into edges, which tell machine vision software which areas to focus on and which ones to ignore.

Thus, edge-inspection tools bear a substantial responsibility for the accuracy and efficiency of machine vision systems. The fundamentals of edge inspection tools illustrate some of the core functions of machine vision.

How Edge Detection Works in a Factory Setting

Here’s a common edge-inspection scenario based on Cognex’s machine vision software:

A completed piston assembly must be inserted into a V-8 engine block. A machine vision application takes a photograph of the piston assembly and uses machine vision algorithms to identify its edges. Another picture finds the edges within the engine to block that reveal the piston assembly’s installation location.

Edge-inspection tools are configured to direct the machine vision system to focus its attention on specific areas of the piston assembly and engine block while filtering out everything else. This is crucial because computer processors must scan every pixel within an image, which requires processing time and energy. The system runs best if it scans only the required pixels.

In our example, a machine vision system uses edge inspection data to set up a quality-control application that scans images of the piston assembly and engine block for evidence of defects. Once they pass inspection, they proceed down the assembly line to a robot arm that uses edge-inspection data to tell the robot exactly where to place the piston within the engine block.

Operations like this play out in almost infinite variety, given the widespread prevalence of machine vision technology in distribution centers and factory automation.

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