MVPro: How was the VISION show for your company?
Jools Hudson: The Vision Show provided Gardasoft with a fantastic opportunity to show our new technologies and have lots of face-to-face discussions with end users. We had some great product displays on the stand and were able to explain to many visitors the real benefits our controllers can provide in most applications. We normally expect a few visitors to have extremely challenging lighting requirements and this year was no exception! Of course the show also provided an excellent platform to launch our new OLED panel controller, the Fast Pulse lighting controller and our new VTS strobe light for traffic applications. These all generated a lot of interest. We also brought along a simple display on machine vision connectivity which was the focus of much discussion.
MVPro: What did you focus on at VISION?
Jools Hudson: The launch of our new products was, of course, a major activity but we also took the opportunity to highlight the wider applications of our control technology. We brought along a nice demonstration to show our lens controller rapidly adjusting the focus of a liquid lenses and another display which showed how two different light sources can be pulsed in synchronization with a line scan camera to produce an interlaced image. Here the odd lines of the sensor correspond to an image of the object from the first light and the even lines to an image from the second light. The two individual images can be extracted in software.
The new OLED and Rapid Pulse lighting controllers that we launched at VISION open up exciting new opportunities in machine vision. Firstly our new OLED controller extends Gardasoft control technology to OLED illumination. OLED panels are an important lighting development for machine vision applications because they give an exceptionally stable and uniform light intensity across the width of the panel. However their complex physical properties present significant driving challenges. These have been overcome in our new dual channel OLED controller which provides an independent precision constant-current output with high stability and high resolution in each channel. Current output is up to 2A in continuous operation and up to 10A in pulsed mode, while Gardasoft Safesense technology allows safe overdriving of the OLED panels.
In addition, our new FP220 series represents a new generation of controllers featuring new technology that allows much faster pulsing (up to 20KHz on the FP220 and 100KHz on the FP220F). These new controllers are perfectly suited for high power, high brightness systems and can accommodate flexible power supply voltages and can be used even with 24V lights. The new, industry leading technology provides sub-microsecond current control in the FP200.
We also showed our new VTS range of LED strobe illumination sources for Intelligent Traffic monitoring solutions such as ANPR, Red Light Violation, Open Road Tolling, Multi-Occupancy Tolling and Weigh-in Motion systems. With a choice of infrared wavelengths, the VTS series features fully integrated internal timing, intensity control, trigger input and long distance communications. This gives reproducible timing, power and brightness for every image, whatever the vehicle speed, which is critical for reliable measurement.
The launch of our new products was, of course, a major activity but we also took the opportunity to highlight the wider applications of our control technology.
MVPro: How important is the choice of lighting to a system’s effectiveness?
Jools Hudson: The correct choice of lighting is essential for good machine vision performance but precise control of that lighting is every bit as important. In the first instance accurate lighting control brings the consistency n illumination intensity needed for reliable, reproducible machine vision measurements. But more than that, high performance lighting controllers allow flexible and innovative lighting schemes to be implemented. LEDS can be run in excess of their maximum rating for short periods of time for increased light output. Strobing the light allows the imaging of objects, at high speeds. Flexibility in lighting controller and camera triggering opens a wide range of illumination sequencing options which can involve multiple lights an/or multiple cameras. The example of creating an interlaced image with a single camera and two independent lights that we showed at VISION is just one example of this capability.
MVPro: As we approach the new year, what plans do you have for 2019?
Jools Hudson: Obviously we will be working closely with our worldwide network of distributors and system integrator colleagues to help our new products become established in the marketplace. Our campaign to establish a broader understanding of the importance of accurate light control for machine vision implementations will also continue. Our customers are always demanding greater speed, higher power and enhanced integration, which will continue to be the focus of our development team.
MVPro: What do you think the main trends for machine vision will be from now until the next VISION?
Jools Hudson: We saw at VISION the continued high levels of interest in embedded vision, deep learning and Industry 4.0. An underlying trend for all of these is the level of integration needed for the different vision components. Standardisation is an important part of this process and there will be more and more developments utilising Genicam. It will also be interesting to see the level of usage of deep learning and machine learning solutions.
MVPro: What excites you about the industry’s prospects over the coming years?
Jools Hudson: The machine vision industry is blossoming out to encompass many non-traditional industries and applications. Some of these applications are likely to develop into very high-volume, consumer applications and attract very large technology companies that have not previously been in the machine vision world. These applications may make use of advanced techniques such as machine learning and may stimulate an increased level of company acquisition within machine vision. However, there will always be a need for the more specialist, bespoke solutions that Gardasoft can provide.
Jools Hudson runs strategic marketing for Gardasoft Vision Jools specialises in marketing high technology and is a Chartered Engineer. An electronics engineer by training, Jools spent some years designing hardware and software for large projects at Racal and Dowty, then after completing an MBA at Cranfield University she moved on to apply her knowledge to define the market and product strategy of technology. In recent years, Jools has been responsible for marketing, sales and technical support functions for instrumentation and imaging companies including Thorlabs and Zeiss Microscopy.