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How can machine vision benefit my company?

Machine vision systems provide numerous benefits and can be justified in many ways. Among the many benefits are:
- Greater understanding and control of production process
- Scrap reduction and scrap disposal costs
-  Labor and inventory reduction associated with rework
- Avoiding adding value to defective product
- Improving machine uptime
- Capital productivity costs associated with product returns and warranty repairs
- Improved labor utilization associated with production, inspection, and process control
- Improved consistency of the product delivered and customer satisfaction

ROIs for machine vision systems are often measured in months, and the long-term payback will far exceed the initial investment. For more detailed information on the benefits of machine vision, CONTACT I-CUBE


When should I consider using machine vision?

You should consider using machine vision if your inspection task is well-defined and repetitive, and must be fast and highly precise (e.g. requires accurate measurements or decisions). You may wish to stick with human inspectors if your task requires flexible, low-speed, low-precision inspection, or if the task is not well-defined (subjective) or changes frequently. The vast majority of industrial inspection tasks can benefit from machine vision technology.

Can you tell me whether or not this application is feasible?

I-CUBE offers free evaluations and, in many cases, demos of your machine vision application. The best way to get started is to request our "Machine Vision Application Requirements Checklist". Once completed, simply return it to us along with sample parts and/or images, and we will begin our application evaluation.

What sorts of applications has I-CUBE done?

I-CUBE has been involved in many different applications in numerous industries, including inspection systems for food, electronic devices, and the new United States currency. For a partial list of machine vision applications, refer to our Projects page.

Which vision systems does I-CUBE support?

I-CUBE is an authorized system integrator for IMAGE PRO PLUS, MOTION TRACK, VISION, VISION GAUGE, EPIX, and others. We have over 19 years experience developing machine vision applications using a wide range of vision platforms. In addition, we can integrate vision equipment from other manufacturers.

Are there any notable new machine vision technologies?

There have been many significant advances in machine vision in recent years and the technology continues to improve rapidly. The price-performance ratio of current machine vision systems is far superior to those of even a few years ago. I-Cube is committed to supporting the latest and most powerful technologies in the industry. 

Are there trade organizations for more information on machine vision?

Yes, two prominent organizations are the Machine Vision Association of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME/MVA) and the Automated Imaging Association (AIA). The premier industry trade shows are the International Robots & Vision Show (June 5-7, 2001 in Chicago, IL), The Vision Show East (October 30-November 1, 2001 in Boston, MA), and Photonics Boston (formerly Photonics East, October 28-31, 2001 in Newton, MA).


Are there trade journals which cover machine vision technology?

Yes, both Vision Systems Design and Advanced Imaging have extensive coverage of imaging and vision technologies. Other journals with periodic machine vision coverage include Photonics Spectra, Robotics World, Sensors, and Managing Automation.

UK company the new Google of image searching

Source: scenta
images © Photographer: Valdore | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Finding the perfect picture online once depended on the webmaster’s description of the image, but not anymore thanks to a new British development.

A high-tech Cambridge start-up company, Imense Ltd, has announced that new investment has helped them become the ‘Google’ of image searching with their new revolutionary technology.

To test the software, they’ve made an unexpected partnership with a group of particle physicists using a massive computer grid.

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the funding body, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), describes how this happened: “We actively encourage the researchers we fund to consider the wider applications of the work they do. In this case, computing problems that had to be addressed for particle physics can also be used to solve other challenges with large amounts of data.

“The Council’s Knowledge Exchange Service put the two teams together and provided modest funding to start them off – the new investment attracted by Imense represents a ten-fold return on the initial development funds.”

Images online

Images and video make up over 70 per cent of the digital data available on the internet, an estimated 15 billion images, but traditional search engines can’t index this information directly, instead relying on text descriptions entered by hand.

Imense’s key innovation is a new form of image retrieval that automatically analyses images in terms of their content, without the need for human generated captions.

They have also developed a powerful query language that lets people search for the images they need.

Dr David Sinclair, one of the founders of Imense Ltd, explained: “We built a prototype of our new image analysis and search technology, but simply weren’t able to test our software on a sufficiently large numbers of photos.

“We knew we could search tens of thousands of pictures, but couldn't afford to try it on hundreds of thousands or millions of images. This made it difficult for Imense to get the investment we needed to develop a commercially viable product. That’s where our partnership with the particle physics grid came in.”

Spread across 17 sites, the UK Particle Physics Grid (GridPP) has been built to analyse the petabytes (equal to one quadrillion bytes) of data expected from Europe’s newest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider.

But its 8000 computers have also been shared with other researchers, from geophysicists to biologists.

Last year, Sinclair attended a meeting arranged by STFC about grid opportunities for industry, and realized that grid technology could be the answer to Imense’s problem.

Image analysis is a naturally parallel process which fits perfectly with the capabilities of the grid used by STFC scientists to process data in particle physics.

Professor Andy Parker, Director of the eScience Centre, University of Cambridge, led the particle physics team working with Imense.

He said: “Our team helped Imense develop their software to run on the grid using a tool called Ganga, and supported them as they analysed three million images. We also dealt with issues such as security and working with grid managers at other universities, who were very helpful.

“It went very smoothly and was fascinating to see the company start-up process in action.”

Imense have now reaped the rewards of their grid experience, with an investment of more than £500,000 to help them bring a product or service to market in the coming months.

Dr Sinclair commented that the grid played a major role in this, “Our work with the Grid has let us demonstrate that our software can handle millions of images, at a time when we were a small company and couldn’t supply the computing power needed ourselves. This in turn impressed the investors we spoke to, and led to funding for our company.”

Imense plans to use the open source grid technologies from the particle physics domain in its commercial product.












I-Cube.   All rights reserved.  Revised: February 18, 2008 .