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Canon launches 3D machine vision system

Canon has announced its entry into the machine vision market with the global launch of a 3D vision system for industrial robots.

The company, which is associated more with consumer cameras, has released three models – RV300, RV500 and RV1100 – capable of high-speed, high-accuracy 3D recognition of objects for robotic pick-and-place applications.

The smart 3D machine vision head encompasses a sensor, pattern projector, and 3D recognition software, the latter Canon developed through its research and development of cameras and business machines.

The launch reflects the growing industrial vision market – the AIA reported 22 per cent growth in North American sales of machine vision systems and components in the first quarter of 2015, while the European machine vision industry grew 16 per cent in 2014, according to the VDMA.

According to an International Federation of Robotics (IFR) survey, more than 225,000 robots were newly installed in 2014, a rise of 27 per cent compared to the previous year.

Canon put 2014 global sales of 2D and 3D machine vision systems for use with industrial robots at approximately $22 million, and the company expects further growth in the market driven by the need for production automation.

Canon's cameras project a pattern onto parts to acquire 3D data. According to the company, its 3D vision systems can recognise parts with curved features, as well as intricately structured parts and those with few distinguishing characteristics.

The RV300 can recognise randomly piled parts as small as 10mm2, with an error tolerance of less than 0.1mm2. The systems take approximately 1.8 seconds to recognise randomly arranged small-scale parts in 3D.

The cameras add to the growing number of companies offering 3D vision solutionsOdos Imaging won the Vision Award for its 3D time-of-flight imager at last year’s Vision show in Stuttgart.

CAD data can be inputted into the camera, and the Canon system can use computer-generated images to learn automatically how to identify the parts. Since no complicated programming is necessary, users can easily re-register parts in accordance with changes in type and shape of parts to be supplied in production.

The RV300, RV500, and RV1100 models are expected to be available on 1 October 2015.

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