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Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

Traditional Vision Systems vs Light Section Technology

Posted by Gerry Paci on Thu, Oct 03, 2019

Conventional camera-based vision systems and light section sensors can be applied to range of applications. While vision systems are a more traditional solution, they can be expensive and complex for simple presence or absence detection tasks. In contrast, light section technology is a more economical alternative that offers a simple “yes/no” result for detection, monitoring, or protection applications. Whether for advanced measurement tasks, part verification, or profile comparison, these technologies can provide the results you need for your application.

Automated machine vision is ideal for advanced inspection tasks because it works continuously and provides quick, objective measurement results. Most often used on assembly lines, machine vision systems can be programmed to check position, color, size, shape, and presence. The systems inspect parts faster, in larger quantities, and with more reliable inspection results than human inspectors. This optimizes processes and reduces costs.

In contrast, light section sensors are based on the triangulation principle and are easy to set up using a USB converter and software. For profile matching, for example, the sensors project a laser line onto an object to detect a line profile. The radiation that is diffusely reflected by the object passes through a lens and is shown on an image sensor. Since the image sensor and laser projector are positioned relative to one another at a fixed angle, the image information can be used to determine the dimensions of the object to be detected. Many images of the object’s height profile are captured during this process.

Sensors that use light section technology, like SmartRunner sensors from Pepperl+Fuchs, are highly precise, resistant to extraneous light, and operate reliably, regardless of the color and surface texture of target objects. The easy-to-use sensors can detect and match profiles, dimensions, and presence in applications where complex measurement results are not necessary. While vision systems typically need external lighting to create contrast in no- / low-contrast environments (e.g., black target on a black background), light section sensors do not require external lighting and work especially well in applications with low contrast. Contrast and color are irrelevant since light section technology depends on a line profile (something that has depth/height).

Traditional vision systems and light section sensors are designed for different types of industrial vision tasks. Vision systems are ideal for advanced tasks that require comprehensive data, while light section sensors are less complex and can be easily installed in applications where a “yes/no” result is sufficient. No matter which of these technologies is right for your application, Pepperl+Fuchs and its subsidiary VMT have the appropriate solution.

To learn more about light section technology, visit us online or at booth D45037 at FABTECH 2019.

Topics: light section sensor, vision system

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