New 3D Machine Vision Technology Shows Promise for Boosting Manufacturing Processes

New 3D Machine Vision Technology Shows Promise for Boosting Manufacturing Processes3D machine vision guided robots can do exciting things never dreamed of before with their visionless and 2D-vision forerunners. A 3D machine vision system adds something resembling consciousness to an entire scene that 2D vision can’t provide. So, 3D vision systems offer manufacturers unprecedented flexibility for more dynamic performance and accuracy. 

2D vision programming workarounds do let robots work in 3D space. But if you’ve ever had to wear an eye patch, you know how it can affect your depth perception. Your brain tries to fill in the gaps, but it can’t accommodate all the scenarios where binocular vision serves you best. 2D vision systems are crippled in much the same way.

How 3D Machine Vision Is Possible

There are two main types of 3D machine vision systems available today. One type involves the use of multiple cameras, which can provide part orientation information that 2D vision cannot. To accomplish this, multiple are cameras mounted at different locations. Real-time image processing allows the triangulation of an object’s location in 3D space.

The other type of 3D machine vision requires just a single 3D camera and one or more laser displacement sensors. The displacement of the reflected lasers' location on an object is used to generate a heightmap. With the help of a calibrated offset laser, sensors measure parameters such as planarity and surface height.

3D Machine Vision Offers Benefits to Manufacturing

Automated visual inspection, part identification, and component measurement have long been used in the automotive, aerospace, and semiconductor industries. But, 3D machine vision allows for greater control and accuracy than ever before. 3D vision helps a robot pick, stack, and hold objects perfectly within 3D space. When parts need to be pulled from pallets, bins, or racks, robots with 3D machine vision are up to the task.

3D machine vision robots are aware of six degrees of freedom compared to only three degrees for 2D vision. This is crucial to gripping an item the right way for a manufacturing process. With 3D imaging, a robot can even understand the strength it needs to grab an object. And once it properly takes hold of it, the robot can orient the item exactly as needed for a manufacturing process.

The technology can also be used for inspection, such as defining defects in products. 3D robotic guidance systems can be used to identify human counterparts more accurately. With a better understanding of where human counterparts are located and what they’re doing, robots can collaborate with them on common tasks.