Quality Innovations: Software Simplifies Complex Measurements
December 1, 2006
Vision systems must automate the optical inspection process. Driven by this need, eBx software from Ram Optical Instrumentation Inc. (Rochester, NY) has dual-monitor support, optional touch-panel interface, and simplified editing capabilities for writing and using measurement routines. “Using vision technology to measure a manufactured part accurately and automatically with optics is very common today,” says Mark Glowacky, president of Ram Optical Instrumentation Inc. “So, our technology has brought accessibility to this automated technology through three areas-usability, reliability and productivity.” With this software, operators can create part routines for fully automatic, unattended measurements with accuracy and repeatability.
Usability and reliabilityTraditionally, usability of new technologies too often has been deemed secondary. Glowacky says when VCRs first came out, people were just happy to see the image on their TV and did not care that they could not program them. Technology must be both accessible and usable.
Software usability is becoming increasingly important for all products. Prompted by the sheer economic demands from customers, if software is not usable, people do not come back to it. “With 10,000 systems in place, we can talk to users and learn from their feedback which features and functions aid usability,” Glowacky says. “We are always learning more about usability. We’ve combined all we’ve learned from procedures and techniques into one package.”
Increased productivityTo increase productivity, dual-monitor support gives a larger view of the part model and more access to the graphical user interface to aid the measurement process. Two screens provide a larger area to run more applications with which operators can interact.
Glowacky observes growing convergence of information from multiple CPUs. CPUs are being asked to do more with data communications and interact with the Internet. No longer are computers being asked to perform only in single-task orientation.
Operators can process more and have greater productivity gains from two monitors. “Microsoft has done research and has found that two monitors help users’ perception and ability to multitask,” Glowacky says. “During measurement system operation, operators are simultaneously fed the image, the model, the program listing and the measured values. The software also can simultaneously display process control charts and general data fitting against the model. Spreading that information across dual monitors lets operators observe and understand what is going on in the measurement process.”
With a touch-screen monitor, operators can interact with something other than a mouse and keyboard. A mouse may not be the most appropriate pointing device for a computer in a manufacturing environment. Interacting with the system on the shop floor without a mouse or keyboard frees space and minimizes the risk of system inaccessibility from a dropped or broken mouse or keyboard.
Another productivity improvement is a full-text editor. The software allows operators to edit data and programs through direct interaction with a text listing of the measurement routine. Along with a global editor and a re-teach mode, the enhanced full-text editor gives operators another method to access their measurement routines. This eases changing existing routines for part design changes without requiring complete rewrites.
Other features include full field-of-view image processing, smart-edge detection, real-time graphic display of measurements and a graphical interface for point-and-click access to measuring functions. Color-coded displays automatically can indicate if measurements are in or out of specification.
TECHNOLOGY CONTACTSFor more information on eBx software, contact:
Ram Optical Instrumentation Inc.
1175 North St.
Rochester, NY 14621
- Software usability is becoming increasingly important for all products.
- Operators can process more and have greater productivity gains from two monitors.
- The software allows operators to edit data and programs through direct interaction with a text listing of the measurement routine.