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First Experience - Cognex In-sight 1000 Vision Sensor

Article ID: 20
Last updated: 16 Nov, 2003

For those of you that aren't familiar with my writing style, this article is what I call my first experiences. This does not mean this product is brand new on the market, but rather the first time I've personally had an integration application using this product. I will also share my learning curve ratings at the end of my first experience articles.

I've been into the vision "seen" (as-in sight) for about one year now and I've been lucky enough to try various brands and types of vision systems on the market today. I've come to the conclusion that not all vision system are created equal. There are certainly different levels of vision capabilities within different systems. I guess I would classify them as entry level, middle of the road, and then there are high-end vision systems.

I've never used a Cognex vision system until I got an application to try one of these In-sight 1000s. In case you didn't already know, the 1000 doesn't come with the nice "gamer" type console controller, so I was disappointed right off the bat after hearing about and seeing all the hype about how you navigated through a Cognex system with a game type controller. Being an avid gamer that I am, I would have found my thumbs to controller a sure mate. But instead I had to learn the common function keys in PC Host software to navigate around in conjunction with a good old optical mouse.

Photo Courtesy of Cognex Corporation

My local Cognex representative stopped in one day to discuss my first Cognex application. He brought the In-Sight 1000 camera with him and we setup the camera to make sure the In-Sight 1000 could do the application required. As it turns out, the camera would do the trick and my Cognex representative just won himself a sale. I'll mention his name because I think he does an outstanding job representing the product he sells. If you're as lucky as I am to be in Mark Van Osdol sales area, I promise you'll get a straight up answer from Mark. Mark ended our meeting that day with some PC Host function key pointers and I was convinced that I could handle this new vision system with no problems.

With no further training or guidelines from Cognex, I always take the dive right in approach or what I've now declared to myself as a personal motto, "Just Wing It." When I got my unit, I loaded the PC Host software, which is used to connect to the In-Sight camera and develop a vision application inside the camera. This sort of reminds me of a terminal session from my laptop to the camera. The first thing I thing I noticed was that I needed to establish communication with the In-Sight 1000 camera. The connection required was ethernet. I also noticed the camera had a MAC-ID assigned printed on the label attached on the unit. Using the connection wizard that came with PC Host software and my laptop with a network card and crossover cable, I was able to assign an IP address with the supplied MAC-ID and start communication with In-Sight camera. I experienced no problems. I have to admit, I have a pretty strong background in networking so I found the configuration straight fourth and easy to do.

If you not familiar with networking, I'll offer a few tips.

Tip #1. Assign a fixed IP address to your laptop. In my case I choose 192.168.1.100 as my laptop IP address and a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0. This is done by going to your Control Panel and finding the networking icon. Then clicking on properties of your network device will get you to the area you need to set your IP address of your computer. If your network card has a default gateway setting, you can leave this blank.

Tip #2. Run the PC Host communication wizard and set the camera IP address to: 192.168.1.1. The wizard will ask you for the MAC-ID of the camera so make sure you write it down before mounting the camera. Make sure you connect to the camera using the supplied Cognex cross over adapter, or using a standard issue CAT-5 crossover cable from your friendly computer store.

Tip#3. Once you've set the IP address of the camera and set your laptop to a fixed IP address, open up a command prompt. A DOS command prompt is the easiest way to troubleshoot a network. Once you have a DOS command box open, type "ping 192.168.1.1" without the quotes, or whatever IP address you gave the In-Sight 1000 during setup. You should see a "reply" from the camera. If you see ping replies, then you have correctly setup your laptop to communicate with the In-Sight 1000 camera using Ethernet protocol. If you don't see replies, I recommend you call In-Sight technical support to help you the rest of the way.

 

The important part to understand here is that your laptop and the camera need to be in the same network mask.

192.168.1.100 (laptop)
192.168.1.1 (camera)
Are in the same network.

167.345.231.2 (laptop)
192.168.1.1 ( camera)
Are NOT in the same network.

Once your connected to your camera, you can now move on to the fun part of setting up your vision application. Another "nak" I have acquired is the use of Microsoft Excel. I feel at one with Excel. I feel I can do anything required using a combination of formulas or visual basic scripting. (See my DDE logger sheet, which requests information from a SLC 500 PLC and logs data to an Excel sheet from the downloads page at MrPLC). What I am trying to say is that I love Excel, so when I first saw the Cognex interface I found myself at home. Cognex has standard vision tools that you can insert into a cell. When you insert a vision tool, a description of what that tool will "return" to the spreadsheet is available through the help system. So basically you plop tools into cells and use the values the tools report to make decisions. In the mixture of all this is the ability to use your Excel knowledge to manipulate data to pass or fails parts. In my application, I was doing a measurement application that required me to use a vision tool to return a value in pixels between two edge lines. Once I had the pixel number in a cell, I used a standard Excel formula to calculate a conversion to millimeters. Once a millimeter reading was determined, I used Excel's Range() formula to check a part in tolerance. Having a mind set geared toward Excel makes setting up this vision very natural to my own abilities. If you are not accustomed to Excel or spreadsheets, you might find this a struggle setting up this camera. However on the flip side, if you understand and use spreadsheets on a daily bases, I think you'll find out the In-Sight camera will quickly become one of your favorites.

Even if you don't understand spreadsheets or how they work, Cognex has one of the best VIDEO tutorial cd-roms I have ever seen. I wish I had taken the time to watch the tutorial videos BEFORE I setup my vision system. Not only will you learn about how to setup the Cognex vision system watching full motion video tutorials on the cd-rom, but Cognex goes into deep explanation of the basics of setting up a vision system and more importantly video tutorials with lighting examples. Lightning is EXTERMELY important when using any vision system. So if all else fails, watch the tutorial videos that come with your first purchase support package when buying a Cognex or request the VisionGuide cd-rom FREE from the Cognex website.

I really don't have another Cognex model to compare the In-Sight 1000 to, but from what I've seen and compared to the In-Sight 3000, Cognex has not stripped away any vision tools in the 1000 package. This makes the 1000 camera just as powerful in the vision processing aspect as say the 3000 model. Where the cons of this product lay are the connection limitations. I can't say this is really a con for the package size of this camera, you can't expect a lot. It's amazing to see a camera and processing unit wrapped up into a small foot print. Of course to get any I/O out of your camera you still have to purchase a Cognex I/O breakout module. You would have to anyway to get power connected to your vision system. I only wish that this camera supported a VGA connector somewhere, but then again I suppose Cognex wouldn't sell any In-Sight 3000 units if this were the case. My only complaint about having a built in unit is probably a concern with anything that is fully integrated. If one component fails, the whole unit must be replaced. But in this day in age reliability of electronic components are high so this isn't as much of a concern to me as in the past.

As far as the vision tools available, the In-Sight has vision tools galore, I couldn't possibility write and tell you about all the neat features I saw the camera could do, that's what Cognex customer support is for. Give them a call and get your personal demo setup. Make sure you have a production ready part to hand over and some guidelines to give to your Cognex sales rep. I can tell you that I think what sets this system apart from some of the past vision systems I've dealt with in the past, is the small amount of tinkering I did to get the vision system running. I was able to figure most of the controls out on my own and setup the vision application in a relatively short amount of time. Anytime you can get something new and take it out of the box and have it going in the same day without calling and asking questions, surely in my mind deserves some merit with ease of use.

The only dislikes I had was no cool controller. It doesn't seem like it would have been that hard to add a port or connector on the I/O breakout board to add this feature and keep the In-Sight a true "In-Sight" system. I also wasn't too keen on not having some sort of a video output. That doesn't mean that I would like to have seen a SVGA port, but certainly a small BNC or RCA type video output would have been nice to connect to a normal TV. PC Host is still a DOS based application seems kind of behind times. I already mentioned it's a terminal type feeling PC Host gives. Just letting you see what the OS is running inside the camera in a terminal type connection. So really the camera is running a DOS like OS not the application on your desktop. However, I've heard wind from Cognex that a newer Windows based PC Host software is due out soon, which will make it even better. I hope Cognex has plans to release some ActiveX addins for visual basic integration. I see a trend in some of the other vision systems that makes them nice to be able to use the vision system in a custom visual basic application and then call up an ActiveX component to do what you need with the camera in your visual basic application. Being that PC Host will be windows based soon, this could be possible I guess, but we will have to wait and see.

I think that you'll be just as happy as I am with the overall vision system, and you'll be surprised at all the built in vision tools this camera can depict and display back to you. My simple part inspection application has three vision tools: Image Acquire, a default tool required on every application. Edges, found the edges based on a gray scale difference. I told it to find the distance between two edges when the color of the background is black compared to a white foreground. My last vision tool was a Blob tool, simply checked the white to black contrast and gave me a number of how many white to black contrast "blobs" it found along with an area in pixels of the blob. After that, the rest of the application was pure Excel formulas with a small bit of Cognex built in I/O controls.

Bottom line: The In-Sight camera is like giving your spreadsheet a pair of eyes then injecting some steroids to really give your spreadsheet some wicked abilities.

Learning curve rating: 

Curve 1 = Walk in the park. 
Curve 10 = Get out the scholastic cap and crash in the classroom.
 

No previous Microsoft Excel experience or network understanding?

I could see someone struggle a little bit with this unit setting an IP address and then trying to grasp the spreadsheet "flow".

 

 

 

If you are already Excel savvy and know something about networking.

What curve? This unit it straight forward. 

 

 

 


This camera is pretty much a walk in the park. You can take this unit out of the box and have it up and running before your lunch break.

 

Article ID: 20
Last updated: 16 Nov, 2003
Revision: 1
Views: 14381
Comments: 6
This article was:   Helpful | Not helpful
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First Experiences     First Experience - Keyence Vision CV-2100 with CV-022 Camera

Comments
Anonymous | 24 May, 2004 12:00 AM
Vision is my business.
DVT Rules. Cognex is NOT WERE IT'S AT.
Posted: 13 years 6 months ago   | Permalink
Chris Elston | 28 May, 2004 12:00 AM
I went ahead and approved this comment because I wanted to make a point. If your into "bashing" product then how come you didn't post your name and e-mail? At least have the guts to tell us who you are and write an article about how great DVT vision is. I am sure everyone else will be glad to hear what you have to say. Since your experienced in both, why not write an article about the pros and cons?
Posted: 13 years 6 months ago   | Permalink
David Landon Jr | 17 Dec, 2004 12:00 AM
I have yet to find a Vision system that does not work for most applications. DVT, Cognex, and even Keyence will get the job done every time as long as the application is thought out and engineered to support the weakness of each system. I have 42 Cognex InSight 1000/1000c on one platform. Each and every one works great, as long as the external lighting doesn't change too much. I could have used Keyence or DVT if I would have supported their weakness (external lighting). I prefer DVTs software over Cognex and the price of Keyence over DVT and Cognex. In my opinion, Keyence has better support than DVT and Cognex. It's up to you which one you want to use. All of them do the same job just as well os the other if the application/solution makes up for the weaknesses of each.
Posted: 12 years 11 months ago   | Permalink
A. DelAngel | 31 Aug, 2005 12:00 AM
I've been working on a DVT / IAI pick & place application for a couple of years now (using a legend 600 series DVT sensor) and I've had a horrible time trying to get the system to work reliably. With the pick up image I have a tough time with the lighting, with the place image I've had a tough time with the coordinate transformation (servo / image calibration). Logic tells me this is doable and I'm not sure how much of the problem is DVT or lighting but I've become very skeptical about vision systems. It sounds like Cognex is better at handling lighting variance but I'm SCARED to pursue it. Any Advise?
Posted: 12 years 3 months ago   | Permalink
Raju | 25 Apr, 2006 12:00 AM
Hi Delangel,
Could you please specify in more detail about the problems you get from lighting or other with cognex camera or DVT.Please mail me the problems you get with Camera in pick and place application.I am ready to help .By the way,I am doin research in the same field using cognex camera.
Raju,
Nottingham
Posted: 11 years 7 months ago   | Permalink
Jon | 29 Nov, 2006 12:00 AM
I appreciate this article. I am setting up a cognex in-sight in my garage. Some people waterski or fish. Others dance. I am going to have a look at things with a machine view camera. There are all kinds of websites that describe, for example how to dance a jig, or tie a fly, but this is the only article that offers any information for the novice on how to do this and what to expect. I certainly can't call cognex and tell them that I want to look at wild rice with a camera I bought off ebay. Do you know of any other sites on the net that have described how they set up their camera and who have maybe posted a few fotos showing what they have done? You guys are the best. I mean that sincerely.
Posted: 11 years ago   | Permalink

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First Experiences     First Experience - Keyence Vision CV-2100 with CV-022 Camera