Quality Magazine

Quality Innovations: 3-D Inspection in Color

January 1, 2011
The ColorRanger E combines color and 3-D in a single high-speed camera.

The ColorRanger provides quality inspection and grading based on both 3-D shape and color. Source: Sick


At the Vision show in Stuttgart, Germany, last year, a jury consisting of machine vision experts choose the ColorRanger E from Sick AG (Waldkirch, Germany) as the winner of the prestigious Award for Applied Machine Vision, which recognizes outstanding products or processes.

This multi-imaging solution combines color and three-dimensional (3-D) capabilities in one high-speed camera, eliminating the need for multiple cameras and reducing the overall cost of hardware and integration. The calibrated 3-D data provides measurements in real-world units such as millimeters, which alleviates much of the complexity of calibrating the system in the field.

“The major advantage of the ColorRanger 3-D camera is the ability to simultaneously acquire high resolution 3-D height data along with red-green-blue (RGB) color data with one camera,” says Jim Anderson, vision product manager, Sick. “The camera uses a multiscan technique to get multiple images from one camera and at a high rate of speed. In the case of color and 3-D data, the ColorRanger can acquire it at a rate of 11,000 scans per second.”

Depending on the application requirements, the multiscan technology offers different measurement configurations for 3-D shape, RGB color, monochrome, contrast and laser scatter with a light source for each component that provides the suitable light characteristics. When using the multiscan setup, the image quality of each measurement can be tuned independently with its own set of parameters.

According to Anderson, the ColorRanger helps customers overcome many of the obstacles that normally face multicamera vision systems. Because all of the images are created from a single camera, the alignment of images and timing of the system becomes a more manageable task.

Also, the data is in a format that works with several leading machine vision software packages, making the analysis a procedure that operators and integrators will be familiar with even though they are now working with 3-D data as opposed to two-dimensional (2-D) grayscale.

The concept for the ColorRanger was a result of listening to customers and taking a look at the industry need for a high-speed 3-D camera that also provides high-quality RGB color images. While there are other systems available in the 3-D scanning market, they incorporate multiple cameras that capture different data components, for example, a line scan color camera and a separate camera for 3-D laser triangulation. Anderson says that more components create more points of failure and add to the complexity and potentially the size of the overall scanning system.

So far, the ColorRanger has been well-received and customers who have traditionally been using only 3-D systems are starting to look at how to incorporate the color data to enhance the functionality of their systems without major redesigns.

Since the multiscan technology is flexible, the ColorRanger can be used in a variety of applications by editing the configuration file. Potential applications that use color imaging and 3-D include wood processing, quality assurance of electronic assemblies and fill and color verification in pharmaceutical production.





For more information, contact:

Sick

6900 W. 110th St.

Minneapolis, MN 55438

(952) 829-4728

www.sickusa.com



Specifications

High-speed 3-D with color up to 11 kilohertz (kHz)

Up to 3,072 pixels full color resolution

On-chip color channel white balancing

Spatially corrected color output

In-machine 3-D calibration tool

GigE interface

High flexibility in configuration

Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor