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

Article ID: 78
Last updated: 13 Oct, 2010

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.

Like most of you that have had any dealings with vision systems, I am sure all of you agree that what makes or breaks ANY vision system is the lighting you choose to use in your application. Lighting is very important with anything you try and do with vision systems. It's something that you must learn from application to application or pick up advice from those vision vendors that know something about lighting. If you remove the lighting variable from any vision system, you are left with a "system" stand alone. I believe each vision system has its pros and cons, but I'll save that discussion for another day.

I have used a Keyence vision system before, the CV-701 and CV-501 systems. I was pretty happy with the turn out of both systems. I do remember some pit falls I had with past CV-701 systems. It was very sensitive to voltage spikes and I had some problems with the unit not powering up until I installed a dedicated 24 VDC power supply. I am happy to report I did not have any of those repeat problems with the CV-2100.

I'd like to thank Keyence for some of the pictures in this article.

Keyence introduced this CV-2100 system awhile ago, and finally I had a chance to try a unit out. Right away I noticed a lot of improvements since the last time I used one of these vision systems. Keyence finally added an easy way to backup your programs on some kind of a portable media. I was glad to see the compact flash slot on the CV-2100. Now I can easily backup my programs without having to drag out a serial cable using the old method. I did have some problems getting my SanDisk brand compact flash card to work, because it was formatted FAT32. I found out from Keyence that your compact flash cards need to be formatted FAT16 to be compatible with the CV-2100. Keyence claims that not all cards will work. However, I used a SanDisk and Lexmark brand card with no problems formatted FAT16. Using an old Windows 2000 laptop, I slipped my compact flash card into a PCMCIA reader I have for my laptop and formatted the cards with ease. I do have some stupidity tricks to share with you. Keyence has a door cover switch on the front of the compact flash slot. This means you MUST close the door before you can read and write to the card. I probably spent about a day and half wondering what was wrong with my compact flash cards, and I almost broke down and bought a Keyence brand compact flash card thinking that there was something wrong and I would be stuck buying a Keyence brand card, when in fact all I had to do was close the door cover who would have thought. It's a very tiny switch indeed. Make sure you close the door after you insert the card. It's easy to forget that step, but your controller will not read and write until that door cover is closed.

The new controller also supports Ethernet. My application did not require me to use the Ethernet port, but I have found Ethernet to be a real plus in gathering data from other vision systems that have Ethernet ports on them. I can also see a big benefit with vision communicating with robots, PLCs or other SCADA systems using the Ethernet port.

I also liked the new menu system in the new camera, it's hard to show you all the new menus, not that a Keyence vision system wasn't already easy to use, but it's even "easier to use. Pretty user friendly if I had to just walk up to this system and make something work. I could probably teach anyone how this camera works in less than four hours. (With the proper lighting for the application.)

I found the I/O more robust. There are a lot of new signals to hand shake digitally with the new CV-2100 system. I also did not have any power problems installing my first unit like the old CV-701, nor did I have any issues with the system powering up and blacking out. Even with the more I/O signals than before, I did find some issues hand shaking digitally with the camera. My application was 15 inspection windows on one camera and 15 inspection windows on another camera. The controller can only output 16 window conditions at a time through the ribbon cable I/O, then it must hand shake or switch states, and change the outputs for the last 17 though 30 window states. This meant digging into the timing diagrams in the back of the manual pretty deep. I wanted to find some digital hand shaking signals to tell the camera controller when I was ready for the data to switch, when in fact I found none. Basically the camera controller gives you the data when the vision controller is ready to give it to you. If you are not ready for it, oh well, it's going to give the data to you anyway. There are mentions of a hand shake method in the controller, but all that really boils down to is you can send a signal to the controller after the first 16 bits of window status have been sent earlier than the timing diagram and the controller will immediately give you the last 16 bits of window status. If you do not hand shake with the controller, the controller will give the first 16 bits of window status, and then wait an amount of time you have defined in the system settings, then the controller will automatically give you the last 16 bits of window status. Sound confusing? Basically, make sure you're PLC is ready to process all that information and capture it away in some storage registers or latch some bits on in the PLC to keep track of it all. It took me awhile to write some ladder logic to interface with this timing method being that I had 30 windows of inspection pass or fail data I wanted to know about. For you Keyence PLC users out there, you can interface with the camera direct to a Keyence PLC, but I wasn't using a Keyence PLC to try out that feature. I used the good old ribbon cable and digital I/O method to interface to a GE PLC. The ribbon cable has smaller wires like most ribbon cables I've seen on just about anything. To help out the assembly guys, I picked up a 34-pin Weidmuller breakout module for this system. Just to make it easier to attach wires to the controller I/O and wire up signals to my GE PLC.

Controlling and programming the new CV-2100 was pretty much the same as before. I am still not sure if I like the little controller used to program the vision system. I found myself slipping a lot trying to press the center button and rolling it either to left, right, top or bottom when I didn't really want to. But I do like the new magnet in the back of the controller; you can stick it just about anywhere.

I went ahead and splurged for the panel mount 8.4� screen that Keyence sells. It uses a standard RCA video cable to receive a video signal from the camera controller. Expect to pay a premium for this screen for its size considering you can purchase a 15� LCD SVGA screen for under $300 now-a-days. It would be nice if the new CV-2100 had a SVGA port rather than a RCA video jack.

Ok so now let's talk about the CV-022 camera. Wow was this tiny camera a life saver! There is not another vision system on the market that could have done what we did with TWO CV-022 cameras. Let me try and explain our vision application. Our task was to inspect insert pins before over molding. Rather than looking at the pins themselves, we dreamed up this fixture tooling that we would carry on a robot arm and set the fixture tooling down top of the pins then look at our fixture tooling rather than the pins themselves. So really what we are looking at in our vision application is a pre-made fixture with "heads" on each man-made pin. We created a "stadium seating" effect to be able to view all the pins. Because of the field of view, and fish-eye problem using close-up lenses, we had to cram TWO CV-022 cameras side-by-side to be able to view our 5 x 6 spring loaded matrix. One camera looked at three rows of 5 x 3, and the other camera looked at the other 5 x 3 matrix. Using some fabricated calibration tooling, all this application required was one edge tool set for each pin top fixture to measure the distance the pin had traveled. Since we are looking at our own fixture, never before have I had the luxury of a consistent part. Our fixture never changes and always looks exactly the same to the vision system, we just have to keep taking a picture of the man-made pin heads and reporting back a "Y" direction in pixels of each head location on the screen. We had no problem with light fluxuations, or parts varying from inspection to inspection because we are looking at the same fixture over and over. It was kind of a nice change in pace not to have to fight the lighting variable setting up this inspection system.


The cameras are tiny if you haven't seen them yet. Of course since they are so small, you can only get lenses for them at Keyence. If you need some extension tubes, you'll also have to order those from Keyence as well. As far as I know they make a 5mm and 10mm extension tube. Make sure you order them early; Keyence had a rough time delivering the extension tubes to us, but no problems of delivery on any other items. Being that the lens are so small, the only way to adjust focus is to begin unscrewing the lens from the camera until you have focus, then using the jam nut on the end of the camera, tighten against the lens wherever you stop. Kind of a weird way of focusing the camera, but the jam nut does lock the lens pretty good. The CV-022 camera does have a power unit that you'll need to mount close by. It's called a CV-022U. Since we mounted our camera on a robot that is a highly flexible device, and we were concerned with having to replace the cables. We ended up mounting the CV-022U units on the robot end-of-arm tooling as well because the CV-022 cables are not quick disconnect near the camera. We did not want to flex the cable from the camera to the CV-022U unit, so we wrapped the extra cabling around the EOAT a few times. From the CV-022U unit, we ordered an extension cable of 5 meters that plugs into the controller in a junction box under the machine. This 5 meter extension cable is the cable that gets flexed all the time with robot motion. Should that cable fail, the customer only needs to replace the extension cable and not the CV-022 camera with the fixed pig tail cable that connects to the CV-022U power unit.

I noticed that the vision system was very fast and living up to its name "High Speed". I was able to acquire two camera system images in 49ms. That is very fast indeed compared to some vision systems, but I really wasn't doing anything too complex either. One of the biggest things this vision system has over most on the market is the ability to connect two cameras to one controller. Your initial investment is one controller, one camera, and one screen with some lighting. If you get in a jam like I did, and need an additional camera, all you need to do is purchase the camera only, and plug it into camera port #2. It doesn't get any more cost effective than that. I really like this tiny CV-022 camera since we had to carry the cameras around on a robot arm and the duel camera setup had always been a nice feature even back in the CV-701 days.

In summary, Keyence has made some very nice improvements all around with their CV-2100 system. I am glad I have used a CV-701 system before so I know that Keyence has done a good job trying to improve their products. I like the new compact flash port, so you can save your work easy on some media you can carry with you. The new CV-022 camera definitely opens up some more possibilities for some applications most people haven't seen yet. The Keyence system is a little bit too easy to use for me. I can understand there is a fine line to dance around with vision systems and marketing to a certain audience. I like my vision systems a little more complex, something down the lines of a spreadsheet method but this is just my opinion. I definitely believe if you don't have any prior vision system experience that you can pickup this system with the proper lighting and do up a nice vision system application within a couple of days. But if you already have vision experience and need to able to do complex logic formulas, convert a pixel number into an understandable real world unit of measurement or even make a nice easy to use custom display for a machine operator, you probably will have a tough time finding those features in the CV-701 or CV-2100 system that can be easily done. Cost wise this system is on the low end of the spectrum, but you're getting a great deal of value and ease of programming with that low end price. I still dislike the RCA video output on the CV-2100, just because I like mounting a 15" LCD for a 1/3 of the cost of the 8.4" panel mount monitor that Keyence sells.

Learning curve rating:
Curve 0 = Walk in the park.
Curve 10 = Get out the scholastic cap and crash in the classroom.

I think that with a small amount of reading in the manual most people could get this unit up and running within one to two days and integrated into a standard PLC with no problems at all.


Article ID: 78
Last updated: 13 Oct, 2010
Revision: 1
Views: 11894
Comments: 1
This article was:   Helpful | Not helpful
First Experience - Cognex In-sight 1000 Vision Sensor     

paco guerrero | 12 Mar, 2010 12:00 AM
Let me tell you that the first competitor for Keyence is SHARP (which are a high performance vision system ), is not cognex ,or matrox or any other stand along camera.
Just like Keyence, Sharp has also the little tiny camera, (so, Keyence is not the only in that market), both systems are very powerful and has a fast imaging processing time.

You also can connect up to 4 cameras in one Sharp controller, and you can connect a monitor or a screen , using a VGA port or RCA video.

The only think, that, I don’t like about Keyence is the cost, due to, when you buy lights, you need buy the controller for lighting and 24VDC power supply, and that is not cheap. and with \""sharp\"" you dont need that. the cost of the controller an cameras is lower than keyence.
Check the web site from sharp.
Posted: 8 years 2 months ago   | Permalink

First Experience - Cognex In-sight 1000 Vision Sensor