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Machine Vision in the Age of Industry 4.0
The author:SIPO  Time:2018-04-02  Read: 143


How to adapt machine vision to "Industry 4.0" and future smart factories? VDMA and OPC jointly introduced the "OPC Unified Architecture Machine Vision Supporting Specification", which aims to achieve seamless integration of machine vision systems with production control and IT systems through OPC UA.

At "AUTOMATICA", June 21-24, 2016, VDMA Machine Vision (German Machinery and Equipment Manufacturers Association - Machine Vision Professional Association) and OPC Foundation (OPC Foundation) A memorandum of understanding was signed on the preparation of the "OPC UA Machine Vision Companion Specification".


VDMA Machine Vision's Board of Directors is responsible for the standard release Dr. Klaus-Henning Noffz said, "We want to make machine vision adaptable to 'Industry 4.0' and future factory production. The aim is to adopt OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA' ), Direct integration of machine vision systems into production control and IT systems."

1. Open the interface to the user-level machine vision system

As early as last summer, VDMA Machine Vision had made the decision when it led an international study. Its purpose is to explain which standards are more important for future industries. According to Dr. Horst Heinol-Heikkinen, board member of VDMA Machine Vision, “The industrial camera interface technology and communication and networking standards required for various types of machine vision components in the system are well established, which greatly facilitates system integration. There is only a common interface for machine vision systems at the user level."

VDMA Machine Vision intends to solve this problem by introducing the “OPC Unified Architecture Machine Vision Supporting Specification”. They have already started a preliminary discussion on this, and the main topic is what information, data, functions and services need to be integrated through OPC UA in the production network.

2. Machine Vision: When the Machine Learns to Observe and Think

Machine vision systems have become an integral part of industrial production. They can perform high-quality tests, guide the machine, control the process, identify components, read the code, and provide valuable data for optimal production. In terms of the amount of information collected and interpreted in the production process, no component can match the machine vision system. “In my opinion, it is a key technology for the successful realization of 'Industry 4.0',” said Dr. Noffz.

Heinol-Heikkinen added, "After all possibilities are used to standardize the integration of machine vision, it is not just a set of inspection systems, but a truly production-optimized control system."

According to Stefan Hoppe, vice president of the OPC Foundation, "The OPC Foundation provides industry interoperability standards for the integration of various types of horizontal and vertical information from sensors to enterprises. OPC UA has initially focused on the industrial automation market. On the other hand, because the OPC UA model is completely independent of the vendor and operating system, it will soon be adopted as an interoperable solution by other markets and fields."

In the "Industry 4.0" initiative in Germany, OPC UA technology has been identified as the recommended communication technology. The German Federal Information Security Agency (BSI) released a very positive opinion after conducting a comprehensive analysis of the data security of OPC UA. VDMA Machine Vision also recognized the potential of OPC UA - to collaborate on the development of specifications to enable the simple and secure connection of machine vision systems to control and to extend this technology to the entire IT space. ”

3. Implementing barrier-free communication for Industry 4.0

Many other organizations have begun to use OPC UA information modeling capabilities to achieve seamless integration of systems between information silos. Machine and equipment manufacturers first need to describe the data and interfaces used, and then later configure the security certificate to achieve availability or provide protection. Integrate different transport mechanisms to deliver information and data in the best possible way in different situations such as workshops and even cloud computing.

More and more VDMA professional protocols are starting to focus on OPU UA. VDMA is developing a set of guidelines called "Industrie 4.0 communication with OPC UA" that aims to provide support and implementation advice for the mechanical engineering industry on the integration process. According to Dr. Christian Mosch, who is responsible for the "VDMA Industry 4.0 Forum," "The preparation of this guideline is intended to explicitly support OPC UA as the communication protocol for 'Industry 4.0'. In the context of 'Industry 4.0', it is hoped that SMEs will The threshold for establishing and expanding industrial communications will be reduced."

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