Real-Time 3D Positioning Software

March 8, 2010
Cognex program expands potential for vision-guided robotics, assembly, inspection
Cognex 3D-LocateTM vision software delivers accurate, real-time, 3D position information that enables automation equipment to work with a wider variety of parts, and improves vision performance in challenging applications such as logistics, robot-guided de-palletizing and precision assembly.

Cognex Corp’s new 3D-LocateTM software is a companion program to machine vision and sensor devices, with functions that expand the capabilities of devices for vision-guided robotics, assembly, and inspection. It supplies accurate, real-time, three-dimensional position information that allows automation equipment to work with a wider variety of parts, including items that are stacked or tilted. Using 3D-Locate can improve vision performance for logistics, robot-guided de-palletizing, precision assembly, and similar applications may eliminate the need for expensive mechanical fixtures or measurement devices.

Typical applications for 3D-LocateTM software include single-cameral arrangements that need more data than a 2D reading supplies; robot-mounted single or stereo camera guidance systems; work cells with multiple fixed-mount cameras (eliminating mechanical fixtures); or, dimensioning, sorting, and picking operations.

Cognex 3D-Locate also can be combined with Cognex code reading, gauging, and inspection tools. It uses multiple sets of two-dimensional features found by Cognex’s patented geometric pattern matching tool, PatMax®, to determine an object’s three-dimensional orientation. PatMax tolerates non-uniform lighting and remains reliable even when patterns are partly covered, ensuring accurate part location even in challenging settings and conditions. Cognex 3D-Locate also can use input from other Cognex location tools, such as SearchMaxTM and PatFlex®, to help determine part orientation.

High-precision calibration tools that adjust for optical distortion and camera position, and synchronize cameras with moving elements like robot grippers, enhance the software’s performance. PC-based 3D-Locate can handle high-throughput applications, and users have the option to choose from a wide range of industrial cameras.

“Many 3D vision packages fail to meet customer expectations in the field because the systems cannot deliver reliable, repeatable results,” states Markku Jaaskelainen, Cognex executive vice president and business unit manager for Vision Software. “With 3D-Locate, Cognex has leveraged more than a decade of experience in 3D applications to create a robust, general purpose tool that can be used for a wide variety of applications.”