Laser World of Photonics to host machine vision pavilion

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Cameras and image processing systems are virtually ubiquitous in modern manufacturing processes. Numerous industries use them to ensure quality and optimize processes. Because optical image processing systems are capable of more accurate and higher stamina scrutiny than humans, imaging systematically detects sources of error.

LASER World of PHOTONICS, the world’s leading trade fair, will shine a spotlight on this growth industry in June 2015 – as a dedicated exhibition segment and accompanied by a comprehensive supporting program. A dedicated “Machine Vision Pavilion” and practical lecture series invite visitors to discover modern image processing technology in all its diversity. Taking place in parallel under the umbrella of the World of Photonics Congress is the high-powered SPIE Optical Metrology Conference.

Imaging is part and parcel of modern manufacturing in the same way as laser systems. Both ensure flawless products and perfect processes. Since lasers and image processing are such a strong combination, they will be joining forces at the LASER World of PHOTONICS in Munich from 22 to 25 June 2015. And because image processing is also taking metrology and testing by storm thanks to 3D systems with accuracies in the order of microns, measurement and testing technology rounds off the leading international trade fair's core topic.

Imaging is on trend - and setting trends

Industrial image processing is growing inexorably: in Germany alone, the sector's turnover has risen from 230 million to 1.6 billion Euro since 1995. Double-digit growth is expected again in 2014. Underpinning the success are imaging systems' increasing capability and versatility coupled with ever greater simplicity of use. Standardized interfaces enable different manufacturers' cameras, light sources and computers to be networked on a plug&play basis. That means users can combine optimal modules for their individual applications from the growing offering of high performance components that will be on show at the LASER World of PHOTONICS.

This enables productivity gains through imaging to be achieved at lower cost. Since the cameras pick up the most minute process variances and the underlying principles behind recurring errors, users can take early countervailing action. That minimizes rejections and prevents further finishing or even delivery of defective parts with all the consequential costs. Instead of monitoring random samples, camera control confers real-time, hundred percent quality control directly on the production line.  Combined with very high cycle rates. This is made possible by breathtaking bandwidth increases in standards such as USB 3 Vision with 400 megabytes per second (Mbytes/s), CoaXPress (up to 3,600 Mbytes/s) or CameraLink HS (up to 2,100 Mbytes/s) and ever more sophisticated algorithms.

LASER World of PHOTONICS offers an insight into the diversity of the imaging world

The breadth of applications is enormous: high speed cameras provide image-by-image visibility of ongoing processes in milliseconds. Other camera systems identify the slightest geometric distortion of complex components, the moment special light sources apply fringe patterns. Robots use lighting tricks such as this to identify the position of small dispersed elements. Even shiny surfaces and glass, which long marked the boundary for image processors, have lost their ability to instill fear thanks to optimized light sources and indirect analysis of reflections. 3D systems are on trend: they scan shapes with micron accuracy, enabling for example accurate volumetric analyses. In food factories, systems such as these determine the shape of individual salami or hams, thus calculating the exact weight of the individual slices even before they are cut and packed. Other imaging systems bathe processes in infra-red or ultraviolet light to make the invisible visible. Terahertz image processing affords profound insights into components without damaging them. This method is applied by aircraft and automotive manufacturers to search for air voids or microcracks in fiber-reinforced plastics.

Imaging also prominent in the supporting program

Exhibitors at the LASER World of PHOTONICS 2015 are contributing to the breadth of applications with innovative camera systems, light sources and optical components: these applications range from production control in micro-systems technology to high-tech sensors for space missions, from traffic monitoring to detecting an individual car's surroundings.

The “Machine Vision Pavilion” is where trade fair visitors can explore the benefits of complete imaging systems and new subcontracting solutions. Industry experts and practitioners will be talking about the performance of modern imaging systems at the Photonics Forum in Hall A2: The two and a half hour lecture series deal with “Contact-Free 3D Measurement Methods Ranging from Laser-Scanning to Imaging”, “Terahertz Spectroscopy and Inspection in Industrial Applications” and “High Coherence Metrology from Long-Distance to Nanoscale Dimensions”. At the same time there will be discussion of the latest inventions and applications in the optical measurement technology field at the World of Photonics Congress under the SPIE Optical Metrology umbrella. The conference will focus in particular on videometrics and machine-vision applications in industrial design, production technology, process monitoring, maintenance and service as well as vehicle navigation.