This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
SOFTWARE A code-free zone

MVTec is the latest soſtware company to introduce a platform for building machine vision applications without programming. Greg Blackman explores why soſtware ease-of-use is such a big issue


he factories of the future are predicted to be highly automated affairs, relying on

data from lots of sensors and vast computing resources to analyse and make sense of it all. Machine vision is one type of sensor that would play a role in these smart factories, but while vision is a key automation tool, it is still relatively unyielding when it comes to variation in production environments. On 1 June 2015, MVTec Soſtware

will release its Merlic soſtware platform for building machine vision applications without programming. Te package joins the likes of Matrox Design Assistant from Matrox Imaging and Teledyne Dalsa’s iNspect and Sherlock programs, all of which are designed to make a machine vision application easy to create without any coding. ‘Tanks to its intuitive usability,

Merlic facilitates much faster implementation of applications that used to have to be developed with a great deal of effort,’ commented

Torsten Daus, product manager for Merlic at MVTec Soſtware. ‘It is not so much a matter of handling additional or entirely new tasks, but rather the way in which they are handled, especially with respect to efficiency and work acceleration.’ It’s this programming effort

needed to create a machine vision application that can make vision inflexible, especially when it comes to short production cycles and changing parts – coding for multiple inspection procedures can be time consuming and costly. And it’s just these sorts of automated manufacturing lines that machine vision will have to handle in the factories of the future. Daus said: ‘Today, machine

vision is not commonly used in several flexible production

Merlic’s image-centred user interface enables the creation of machine vision applications without programming knowledge

The ideal interface

would be similar to instructing a human worker on what measures to take… to make a solution

processes or when dealing with frequently changing, low-volume workpieces, because the cost of development and constant adaptation is simply too high. However, these areas are the future of industrial manufacturing.’ Tis is

just one area that would benefit from

more intuitive vision soſtware, but there are many other non- industrial applications that would also gain – Daus listed service robotics, autonomous vehicles and agricultural technology, as three potential areas. A lot of work is going into

making machine vision soſtware for the non-expert user. Ben Dawson at Teledyne Dalsa commented that ‘most of our soſtware effort is in making machine vision soſtware easier to use for the non- programmer’. Teledyne Dalsa’s iNspect soſtware

Teledyne Dalsa’s iNspect software. Users can drag-and-drop tools onto an image to create a vision application

14 Imaging and Machine Vision Europe • April/May 2015

has a graphical user interface where users drag-and-drop ‘tools’, such as callipers, onto an image to build an application quickly. Te company’s Sherlock soſtware also has a

graphical programming interface where elements are dragged and dropped into an instruction tree. Merlic operates in a similar

manner using graphical tools to build up a vision application, while Matrox Design Assistant is an integrated development environment (IDE) where the user constructs flowcharts instead of programming. ‘Machine vision soſtware can be

seen to fall into of one of two broad categories,’ explained Pierantonio Boriero, product line manager at Matrox Imaging. ‘Firstly, the library or SDK, and, secondly, the integrated development environment where development is performed graphically and interactively.’ Te former requires traditional

computer programming which can be laborious and, noted Boriero, even overwhelming. ‘Developing the overall application this way, with not only the vision task but also with a user interface, automation equipment interactions, and enterprise communication can require combining several application programming interfaces from different vendors and coding some functionality from the ground up,’ he said. ‘Tis has led to the creation of the IDE, like Matrox


Teledyne Dalsa

MVTec Software

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44