Light-based advancements in industrial manufacturing, assembly and automation occur at a pace about as lethargic as an F-22 Raptor jetting through the sky at an approximate 65,000-ft altitude ceiling. Although the advancements may move a few miles per hour shy of the jet’s Mach 2.25 top speed, they nonetheless seem to be propelled at supersonic rates. Technologies like electron beam welding, laser-based measurement systems and cutting-edge HUD systems produce some astonishing things. However, it’s only a matter of time until they’re succeeded by the next set of advancements that are hurtling down the pipeline at a breakneck pace.
The market-value growth for such technologies moves pretty quickly, too. Take lasers, for example. According to a recent report from BCC Research LLC, the global market for laser technology is expected to reach $11.7B in 2015 and hit $16B in 2020. The projected compound annual growth rate is 6.5 percent.
In this issue’s cover story, contributing editor Hank Hogan details how machine vision systems are advancing in terms of their technologies and applications. The advancements are numerous, and skilled end users are faced with an increasing selection of options from which to choose to complete any given job. Some tasks are best suited for general-purpose systems, while other processes require application-specific systems. There are others that may require a fusion of the two technology types. Determining what to use and how to implement it is discussed in “Choosing a Machine Vision System.” The article should help steer efforts in the right direction.
Also in this issue:
• “3D Vision for Industrial Robots,” by David Bruce, Fanuc America Corp., beginning on page 13;
• “Laser Measurement System Best Practices,” by John McCauley, Ophir-Spiricon LLC, beginning on page 16; and
• “3D Color Stereo Line-Scan Imaging — Addressing 3D Imaging Obstacles,” by Adam Mull, Datalogic Automation Inc., beginning on page 19.
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