Using the Powerlink asynchronous channel, this type of non-real-time data can be communicated using standard TCP/IP communications. This same channel is used to transmit the camera picture back to the controller because users often not only want to communicate with the camera and transmit data back and forth. But often the customer wants to have an image of the product, especially to view defects.
The In-Sight 7000 series from Cognex offers built-in support for the Ethernet POWERLINK protocol. Applications no longer require a parallel network for image processing, and can process data and image data using a single medium. (Source: Cognex)
“Using this same channel, a picture is saved on the controller and the controller can display the image from the camera,” said Stricker. “This two-channel communication with the real-time and non-real-time communications running side by side is unique. By supporting both types of communications, it eliminates the need to disconnect the camera from the network, and then connect to a laptop. Plus many times, the cameras are installed within the machine and the user doesn’t have easy access.”
One Powerlink innovation developed as a result of the project improved handling of asynchronous data. While the protocol supports both cyclic and asynchronous channels, the way Powerlink worked in the past was limited to talking to one asynchronous channel at a time. On one cycle, the protocol would talk to node one, then the next cycle to node two, node three, and so on. As a result in many applications, the entire cycle time would not be utilized.
“The need for TCP/IP communication in vision applications requires optimizing the asynchronous channel because the data transmission needs are large,” said Stricker. “A change in the Powerlink specification now allows users send to more than one node during a cycle, and make it possible to send multiple asynchronous frames in one cycle.”
Al thanks for covering this topic and this particular advance. I'm not surprised Cognex is at the forefront; their engineers (and management) tend to think about systems and networks, not just cameras.
a.saji, I used to cover machine vision for another publication, and noticed that Cognex was one of the few camera makes who seemed to consider more than just the camera and what it's immediately attached to. That said, I've also heard complaints like Jim_E's about their barcode readers.
I have to hand it to Cognex, especially the marketing department as they really know how to brag about their products. I've used Cognex cameras with great success for image analysis and their software is first rate. Very easy to setup for pattern detection and other stuff.
That said, their barcode reading isn't that great, regardless what they ads might say. We had them come in and demo a system and it was going to take four of their expensive cameras to cover the field of view to read what we needed, and they still had some problems. I'd trust a more experienced barcode reading company for serious barcode reading. (I used to work for one, so I feel justified in saying this....)
And, I wish that they wouldn't email me so many stinkin' ads. I get more marketing emails from Cognex than any other controls related company!
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