The Heart and Eyes of Automation

In the modern age, machine vision is at the heart of most automation processes. From guiding robots to reading barcodes on components, to conducting precise measurements and quality inspections, machine vision helps drive manufacturing processes, tracking, sorting packages, and numerous other applications. The package that arrives at your doorstep is one of millions of packages routed and sorted through postal facilities thanks to robust barcode-reading systems every day.

A lot of these vision applications cannot be solved with simple camera setups; they require specialized optics and lighting, robust algorithms, and well-packaged embedded form factors that can operate reliably in harsh industrial environments.

For over four decades, Cognex has been delivering solutions to machine vision problems in automotive, consumer electronics, logistics, packaging, and many other sectors. Its embedded devices drive these processes through high-quality vision data that interfaces with PLCs and other automation systems.

An Untapped Wealth of Data

Vision systems are quite literally seeing into your factory floor. They generate the most data on the factory floor but in the majority of applications, this data is discarded once the control decisions have been made. The main reason for this is connectivity. Connecting and collecting data at each step is challenging. The sheer volume of data makes it impractical and cost-prohibitive to transport to central storage or the cloud.

The Cognex Edge Intelligence platform aims to solve this issue. Edge Intelligence empowers factories to leverage this high-quality vision data by managing device networks and their data at the edge. The process-critical runtime operations are performed in embedded machine vision cameras, while the edge solution helps manage device configurations and data collection strategies that drive additional applications inside and outside the plant.

A few of the benefits of this approach include the ability to:

  • Consistently configure and calibrate multi-camera solutions in an efficient and scalable manner.

  • Perform additional vision tasks from a centralized vantage point that merges information from multiple camera views.

  • Collect images and their associated result meta-data for review and post-processing.

  • Track system-wide configuration changes to ensure consistent operation compliance.

  • Post-process, store, and selectively forward data to other systems.

  • Monitor and compare performance across lines.

  • Run additional layers of vision processing for further image selection, training, and troubleshooting.

  • Provide remote access for troubleshooting and support.

Integrating Edge Intelligence and Tulip

The integration of Edge Intelligence with Tulip Interfaces provides turnkey connectivity to systems and applications. The Tulip Frontline Operations Platform can use additional information from the factory floor and customer systems (e.g. MES, WMS) to further contextualize the data. Through its point-and-click interfaces, the platform empowers customers to quickly develop their own applications without requiring external integration projects.

Using Edge Intelligence with Tulip is a simple three-step process:

  1. Navigate to the Edge Intelligence settings to select what devices and data to forward along with the address of the Tulip service.

  2. Build custom applications in the Tulip platform.

  3. Deploy the new applications to the frontline.

Vision at the Frontline

Integrating Tulip with Cognex products, including Edge Intelligence, provides a seamless way to bring powerful machine vision data to your frontline. Through Tulip, you can contextualize the real-time data collected by Cognex devices to give meaningful insights about your operations. Leveraging vision, Tulip and Cognex support a holistic view of production, quality, and machine health for your operators.