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Automation demo helps manufacturers see clearer

27 July 2021

One year on from the product’s launch, Beckhoff UK is offering automation engineers and managers a free demo of its TwinCAT Vision software.

The add-on software, which builds on Beckhoff’s TwinCAT 3 open automation platform, allows configuration and programming of machine vision (MV) systems in the TwinCAT environment – eliminating the need for additional specialist software. The demo is available in the downloads section of the TwinCAT Vision page on the Beckhoff website, here.

TwinCAT Vision was released in the UK in summer 2020, giving engineers the ability to incorporate MV processes into their existing automation setup. MV cameras integrate into the software architecture using Beckhoff’s TF700x GigE Vision Connector, which makes the software compatible with a wide range of cameras and imaging technologies. 

Using the familiar programming languages and configuration tools of the platform, vision systems can be configured, and image processing can be programmed and executed. This makes MV systems easier to manage, while also reducing latency and improving synchronisation with other systems by bringing MV into the same control environment as motion applications, robotics and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

“In its 2020 report, the World Manufacturing Foundation made repeated mention to the importance of intelligent MV in industrial settings,” said Stephen Hayes, Managing Director of Beckhoff UK. “Vision systems play an integral role in processes such as quality assurance. The report went as far as stating that ‘to reach the full potential of [digitalisation] and Industry 4.0, manufacturers must embrace AI-powered solutions that finally close the quality control gap’, with direct reference to AI-enabled machine vision.

“The challenge with uptake so far has been partially rooted in the skills gap. The same report identified computer vision as one of the top skills sought by manufacturers, yet this specialist skillset presents a barrier to adoption. More manufacturers than ever are using MV systems, but our experience has shown that uptake would be greater if they had the capability to implement this at scale – that’s why TwinCAT Vision is an invaluable asset to manufacturers.

“TwinCAT Vision helps remove one of the barriers to MV adoption, by giving engineers the capability to control vision systems effectively with their existing skills and software tools. With the barrier removed it’s just a matter of setting up MV systems to work in harmony with other processes, which TwinCAT Vision also helps achieve with ease. This demo will help industrial businesses to realise that embracing MV is viable, practical and easier than ever before.”

Beckhoff has already supported numerous MV integrations using TwinCAT Vision, with applications ranging from production inspection for pharmaceutical quality control to rapid object detection in motion systems. 

Engineers and managers can download the TwinCAT Vision demo via the Beckhoff website. For more information on the TwinCAT 3 platform or the TwinCAT Vision add-on, speak with the Beckhoff UK team on +44 (0)1491 410539.

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