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What problem does the product solve?

In automation applications, image processing has traditionally been handled separately and has often been outsourced to external system integrators. Meanwhile, PLC programmers have branched out into numerous disciplines, including motion control, safety technology, measurement technology and robotics. It is possible to combine all of those functions in a single control system on one computer today. However, image processing has typically remained in a black box on a separate high-performance computer, with specific configuration tools and programming languages, or it is directly implemented in specially configured smart cameras. The downside to using a separate computer is that even the smallest changes require input from a specialist instead of the PLC programmer, resulting in avoidable investment and operating costs. In addition, the communication between image processing and the control system has to be regulated, which is an error-prone process.

TwinCAT Vision combines image processing and PLC control in one system. The configuration, especially of the cameras, is carried out in the same tool as the configuration of fieldbuses and motion axes. For programming, the familiar PLC programming languages can be used. In this way, substantial savings of engineering costs can be achieved, since there is no need to learn special programming languages, and no special configuration tool is required. The challenges of communication between image processing and control are not only eliminated, but image processing and control components can directly communicate with each other.

What’s new/innovative about it?

TwinCAT Vision allows real-time image processing for PLC programmers.

Does the product have a USP?

TwinCAT Vision combines image processing and PLC control in one system.

What is the product’s main benefit for the customer?

With TwinCAT Vision, machine builders can fully integrate image processing tasks into the central control system, paving the way for more advanced machine designs that are capable of satisfying tomorrow’s marketplace demands, and offer enhanced competitiveness and investment security.

In what way does the product contribute to integrated processes and/or Industrie 4.0?

Integrating PLC, motion control, measurement technology and machine vision functionality with IoT and analytics on a single control platform makes Industrie 4.0 applications much easier to implement. TwinCAT Vision integrates image processing into the PLC control system.