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03.11.2011, SCHOTT AG, Mainz

More channels, lower costs

The “SCHOTT Multichannel Illumination System” offers an effective standard solution for controlling line scan cameras and illumination in industrial image processing
More efficient optical surface inspections: The “SCHOTT Multichannel Illumination System” that features standard components is the world’s first commercial solution that allows for up to eight illumination levels to be captured with only a single monochrome camera line
More efficient optical surface inspections: The “SCHOTT Multichannel Illumination System” that features standard components is the world’s first commercial solution that allows for up to eight illumination levels to be captured with only a single monochrome camera line
Mainz (Germany), November 3, 2011 – With automatic optical surface inspections of materials like glass, metal, plastics, wood and paper, accurate detection of defects can often only be achieved by producing several inspection images at various illumination intensities. SCHOTT will be unveiling an innovation for use in this area at VISION 2011. The “SCHOTT Multichannel Illumination System”, a concept that is based on standard components, is the world’s first commercially available solution that is capable of capturing up to eight illumination levels with only a single monochrome camera line. This means it is no longer necessary to spend high sums of money on expensive hardware or developing proprietary software.

Regardless of whether it’s a scratch, bubble, inclusion, coating defect or pinhole, each type of material defect requires its own special type of illumination in order for it to be displayed clearly. Modern machine vision systems rely on special bright field or dark field light sources here, but also diffuse and directional lighting in various colors. The accuracy of detection and reliability of testing can be improved significantly by using a combination of these types of illumination arrangements.

The solutions used in the past have certain disadvantages, however. For example, it really doesn’t make much sense to use a separate camera line for each type of illumination. This only incurs high costs and means more time must be spent on setting up the system, evaluating the image data and general maintenance. Color line scan cameras that are capable of recording several different illumination scenarios that vary in color offer capabilities that are far superior. But this type of solution is much more expensive than a monochrome camera and offers only limited flexibility.

Staggered activation of various types of illumination in combination with synchronous image processing performed by a single monochrome camera offers an attractive alternative. This means it is no longer necessary to purchase more than one camera, plus the respective peripheral hardware, or painstakingly combine the images produced by individual cameras. There has always been a drawback with this technique in the past, however. No standard hardware for controlling both illumination and the camera in a synchronized manner and preparing the image data in an efficient manner has ever been commercially available. The fact that many users have been forced to consider developing their own proprietary electronics has made this approach uneconomical to begin with.

A standard frame grabber together with powerful software

Now, “SCHOTT Multichannel” promises to close this gap. This solution uses a specially programmed standard frame grabber from Silicon Software as its central control element. It can switch between up to eight types of illumination at staggered intervals and synchronize the exposure times of the line camera all at the same time. The resulting image can initially be considered a mixture of the various recording sequences. Then, the frame grabber rearranges these to allow for individual images to be accessed efficiently without increasing the load on the processor.

Moreover, the system offers all of the normal functions commonly found in line and image triggers. If a bank that features several cameras is used instead of only one camera, the frame grabber will synchronize any number of additional frame grabbers. Furthermore, the system is extremely flexible thanks to the fact that each component can be set with microsecond accuracy. “SCHOTT Multichannel” is the world’s first commercially available solution that delivers such high performance using standard components,” notes Michael Stelzl from the Development Corporate Machinery and Production Technology department at SCHOTT.

The service package developed by SCHOTT also includes an intuitive software-based user interface for resetting system parameters and, as an option, 100% compatible “High Brightness LED Light Line” lights, which the company will also be unveiling at “Vision 2011”. “The high-performance components from SCHOTT, the hardware supplied by Silicon Software and the extensive software development kit that it comes with make it extremely easy to introduce this solution to an existing software environment. Users can select from a range of complementary standard hardware and software components depending on their own personal needs and thus develop cost-effective multichannel applications of their own without having to spend a lot of time on development,” Stelzl emphasizes. Interfaces are already available for most of the image processing libraries currently on the market.

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SCHOTT is an international technology group with more than 125 years of experience in the areas of specialty glasses and materials and advanced technologies. SCHOTT ranks number one in the world with many of its products. Its core markets are the household appliance, solar power, pharmaceuticals, electronics, optics, transportation and architecture industries. The company is strongly committed to contributing to its customers’ success and making SCHOTT an important part of people’s lives with high-quality products and intelligent solutions. SCHOTT is committed to managing its business in a sustainable manner and supporting its employees, society and the environment. The SCHOTT Group maintains close proximity to its customers with manufacturing and sales units in all major markets. Its workforce of around 17,500 employees generated worldwide sales of approximately 2.9 billion euros for the 2009/2010 fiscal year. SCHOTT AG, with its headquarters in Mainz (Germany) is owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation.

SCHOTT Lighting and Imaging, a Business Unit of the international technology company SCHOTT AG offers a broad range of lighting and image transmission solutions especially for customers in the core industries automotive, aviation, medical, machine vision, and security technology. Innovative lighting solutions and combinations of light and image transmission are being developed onthe basis of LED technology and fiber optics.

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Picture ID 135892: More efficient optical surface inspections: The “SCHOTT Multichannel Illumination System” that features standard components is the world’s first commercial solution that allows for up to eight illumination levels to be captured with only a single monochrome camera line. Photo: SCHOTT.

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Press contact
SCHOTT AG
Andreas Uthmann
Marketing Lighting and Imaging
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 (0)6131 66 4088
Fax: +49 (0)6131 66 7846
Further information
SCHOTT AG
Klaus Bernhard Hofmann
Leiter Corporate Public Relations
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Germany
Phone: +49 6131/66-3662
Fax: +49 3641/2888-9140
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