NI Embedded Vision Systems are rugged automation controllers that combine industrial camera connectivity with open communication and multicore performance. They are designed to acquire and process images from multiple cameras and offer options for connecting to IEEE 1394, GigE Vision, Base-configuration Camera Link, and DirectShow-compliant USB cameras.
The NI EVS-1464 and EVS-1463 also feature a fanless design and industrial temperature rating, making them ready for the demanding conditions of manufacturing by reducing maintenance requirements and increasing reliability. With the Windows 7 OS, you can take advantage of the latest Windows technology and make it possible to develop directly on the deployment system while eliminating the need for a separate PC for the operator interface.
- Multicamera industrial inspection
- Manufacturing and production applications requiring visual inspection
- Line-scan camera systems for inspecting continuous webs and discrete parts for defects (with Camera Link or GigE Vision connectivity)
- Image logging and streaming for product traceability and event capture for root cause failure analysis (with 80 GB storage expandable with CompactFlash cards and external IEEE 1394 drives)
Also, the 2 GB of RAM offer the performance needed for handling larger amounts of image data and user interfaces.
Figure 1. NI EVS-1464 with Line-Scan, Area-Scan, and Infrared Cameras
With a large variety of digital I/O and industrial communication options, this system can communicate and integrate with a wide range of automation devices including programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human machine interfaces (HMIs), industrial robot arms, sensors, motion drives, and actuators. More information is included later in the Industrial Communications and Onboard Digital I/O section of this article.
2. Camera Selection
The EVS-1464 works with any IIDC-compliant IEEE 1394 camera, GigE Vision-compliant Ethernet camera, and DirectShow-compliant USB camera. The EVS-1463 can acquire from multiple GigE Vision cameras, one Base-configuration Camera Link camera, and any DirectShow-compliant USB camera. The camera connectivity enables the use of a variety of image sensor types, including infrared (thermal), line-scan, color, area-scan, and 3D laser triangulation.
The Windows 7 OS, along with the NI Vision Acquisition Software driver package, offers the most up-to-date and highest performance support for supported cameras among all Windows OS options.
NI Embedded Vision Systems provide a low-cost way to simultaneously acquire and process images from several cameras to inspect parts from multiple angles, increase overall system resolution, and use several specialty cameras at the same time (color, monochrome, infrared, line-scan, and so on). With two IEEE 1394b ports (EVS-1464 only) and a second Gigabit Ethernet port, you can even use hubs to connect several IEEE 1394a/b and GigE Vision cameras to a single port, limited only by the bandwidth requirements of your application.
3. Rugged Industrial Design
The NI Embedded Vision System was designed for harsh industrial environments. It is fanless and passively cooled, and the industrially rated operating temperature range of 0 to 45 °C ensures that uptime is kept at a maximum. The two Windows-based options run with 2 GB of RAM and an 80 GB solid-state hard drive, to which you can add more storage using external IEEE 1394 drives (EVS-1464 only) and solid-state CompactFlash.
Figure 2. NI EVS-1464 Connectivity Options
4. Industrial Communications and Onboard Digital I/O
The EVS-1464 has 29 reconfigurable digital I/O lines – 15 digital input lines, of which 13 are isolated 24 V lines and two are dedicated TTL lines, and 14 digital output lines, of which four are isolated 24 V and 10 are dedicated TTL. The EVS-1463 comes with four TTL and two isolated inputs. These lines feature built-in functionality for communicating with external devices, such as reading from a quadrature encoder, generating strobe pulses, triggering, and writing/reading from digital lines. Using these signals, you can dynamically control your lighting or cameras, synchronize with a conveyor belt, or integrate NI Embedded Vision Systems with PLCs.
In addition, the systems can send commands and data to other devices, such as PLCs and operator interfaces, using industrial protocols such as EtherNet/IP, RS232, Modbus serial, and Modbus/TCP. With enterprise connectivity, you can also monitor the inspection results, view images, or store data in databases for statistical process control. In addition, MXI-Express connectivity on all NI Embedded Vision Systems provides deterministic integration for waveform data and supports a variety of I/O in high-channel-count systems.
Customized I/O with the LabVIEW FPGA Module
The EVS-1464 has a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) directly connected to the digital I/O lines. If your application requires precise timing or custom I/O behavior, you can use the LabVIEW FPGA Module to reconfigure the digital I/O lines to achieve additional functionality such as custom triggers, timing, PWM outputs, encoder-based queued pulse generators, customer digital protocols, and high-speed counters.
5. Configure or Program Your Inspection
With the National Instruments machine vision software approach, you can choose to configure your inspection with easy-to-use stand-alone NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI) software or to program it for more advanced customization using the NI Vision Development Module. Both options take advantage of the hundreds of built-in machine vision and image processing functions to enhance images, check for presence, locate features, identify objects, and measure parts.
Figure 3.(a) Vision Builder for Automated Inspection Configuration Interface
(b) LabVIEW Project Explorer, Front Panel, and Block Diagram for Vision Application
With NI vision software and LabVIEW, NI Embedded Vision Systems take full advantage of their multicore processors by automatically balancing the computational load on each core. LabVIEW Version 2009 and later also offers easy ways for you to control and define how specified tasks should run on specific processor cores, with the default settings automatically running independent, parallel loops on separate cores.
In addition, many image processing algorithms in the Vision Development Module and Vision Builder AI are already optimized for multicore implementations. These algorithms automatically make use of parallel processors when present to deliver increased performance, and this process is completely abstracted to the user. Algorithms optimized for multicore implementations in the 2009 software include the following (for a full list, see the read me files for vision software):
- Particle analysis (includes 80 particle measurements)
- Particle analysis report (includes 11 of the most common particle measurements)
- Convex hull
- Particle filter
- Cross correlation
- Concentric rake
- Gray morphology
- Image absolute difference
- Image addition
- Image complex division
- Image complex multiplication
- Image division
- Image expansion
- Image logical AND
- Image logical OR
- Image logical XOR
- Image multiplication
- Image resampling
- Image subtraction
- Image symmetry
- Nth order
National Instruments uses the same configuration software (Vision Builder AI) and programming software (Vision Development Module) across the entire NI vision hardware portfolio. So after learning just one set of vision software, you can easily reduce time and cost to maintain your systems or build new applications while enjoying the freedom to choose the suitable hardware for each application, be it a PC, an NI Embedded Vision System, or an NI Smart Camera. All NI vision software comes with NI Vision Acquisition Software, a collection of drivers for IEEE 1394 and GigE Vision cameras that scales to support a larger range of camera types for use with other NI vision hardware.
Figure 4. NI vision software scales to support all NI vision hardware for
easy development and maintenance of vision systems.
6. Related Links
How-To Tutorial: Getting Started with the Windows-Based NI Embedded Vision System