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Industrial Photonics
Industrial Photonics is your global resource on lasers, sensors, machine vision and automation systems for materials processing, process control and production.

EDITORIAL COMMENT
Latest Issue
Oct 2018

3D Vision is Making Warehouse Work Safer

MICHAEL D. WHEELER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, michael.wheeler@photonics.com
Moving pallets from one corner of a warehouse to another can be taxing and mundane for human workers. But a new generation of autonomous industrial forklifts is making quick work of the job and sidelining human drivers, freeing them to do more value-added tasks. That’s in large part thanks to advances in 3D vision.

Mike WheelerAs Contributing Editor Hank Hogan writes in this month’s cover story, “3D Sensing Bolsters Robotic Guidance,” 3D cameras can quickly locate the pockets of the pallet where the forklift should slide the forks. Gathering this information with a 3D camera results in faster and more certain accomplishment of the task, improving both speed and safety of the operation.

Falling prices for 3D cameras has led to their use in a growing number of unique applications, including service applications where a robot arm is offering a customer a drink or another object. Depth sensing is important in getting the item safely to its target. But as the arm nears its destination, the arm or object it’s holding can block the view. That’s where a 3D sensor can offer a close-up view, improving safety and performance.

Also in this issue:

• One of the shortcomings of CO2 lasers, which emit at 10.6 µm, and fiber lasers, which emit at 1 µm, is that they aren’t particularly well-suited for certain industrial welding applications. Now, a new generation high-power lasers emitting in the blue region is proving highly effective. NUBURU’s Jean-Michel Pelaprat, Mathew Finuf, Robert Fritz, and Mark Zediker offer details in “For Welding Certain Metals, Blue Lasers Offer the Advantage,” (read article).

• Ease of installation and integration in applications such as tire inspection make turnkey vision systems attractive, as Leoni Engineering’s Nick Tebeau explains in “From Vision-Guided Robotics to Smart Cameras, Turnkey Systems Offer Versatility,” (read article).

• As of September, a new regulation requires all Class II medical devices to bear a unique device identifier (UDI) marker. This mandate encompasses numerous single-use stainless steel tools and devices, creating a need to produce high-contrast marks in the metal that can be easily discerned by automated readers. That’s led to an increased need for ultrashort-pulse lasers. Don’t miss “Ultrashort-Pulse Lasers Leave Their Mark,” by Coherent’s Thorsten Ferbach (read article).

Finally, this month marks our last edition of Industrial Photonics. In its place — and just in time for Automate in Chicago — we’re rolling out Vision Spectra, a new publication from Photonics Media chronicling how vision is enabling Industry 4.0. The first issue appears in April!


With best regards,

Editor-in-Chief
Michael D. Wheeler
 
Mike Wheeler
An accomplished journalist and editor, Michael Wheeler oversees Photonic Media's editorial operations, spanning print, online, and video. He also serves as editor of Vision Spectra, chronicling advances in the rapidly expanding machine vision/inspection sector.
Chris Bergonzi
Managing Editor Chris Bergonzi has more than 35 years of experience editing, managing, and writing for consumer publications and peer-reviewed journals covering business, management, technology, and science.
Susan Petrie
Susan Petrie is Senior Editor of Photonics Spectra and has two decades of experience with print and digital publications. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Bennington College.
 
Justine Murphy
Senior Editor Justine Murphy is an award-winning journalist with 20 years of experience in newspaper and magazine publishing, marketing, and public relations. She is editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics and produces industry-focused podcasts.
Autum Pylant
News Editor Autum C. Pylant is an Air Force Veteran with 10+ years of award-winning broadcast journalism experience. She is responsible for the steady flow of news and new product announcements to web and print and is the producer of the Light Matters video.
Robin Riley
Multimedia/Web Editor Robin Riley has 30+ years of experience in communications and marketing for a range of technical industries. She is a regular contributor to web content and social media, and organizes and produces custom and editorial webinars.
 
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics, and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
Hank Hogan
Contributing Editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing Editor Marie Freebody is a freelance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
 
 
Faroow Ahmed Freebody
Farooq Ahmed has covered the physical and biological sciences for over a decade. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Columbia University.
 
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