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With the release of Microscan's AutoVISION 2.0 software, our simplified machine vision suite is now equipped with even more features to make setting up and deploying vision inspection jobs - from simple to complex - even easier. One new feature is Microscan Link, AutoVISION's one-click connectivity tool that enables seamless integration of a machine vision inspection job into any automation system. From a single PLC to a network of machine vision cameras, Microscan Link establishes the line of communication between AutoVISION and the entire factory floor.


The Basics of Microscan Link


Microscan Link's name speaks for itself - the point is to link data between a machine vision job and other parts of the automation system. Basically, Microscan Link allows input and output data to be communicated within and across the system. For example, inspection data may be captured by the vision system and reported back to a PLC (like in this video), or commands may be sent from an operator via an HMI to the vision system to adjust inspection tolerances. This data exchange helps define the parameters for the vision job: what to inspect, when, how, why, and where. With complete control over these parameters, a user has total flexibility to adapt the vision job to changes in the inspection environment or according to new requirements.

Microscan Link allows parameter data to be exchanged:

  1. Between machine vision tools: For example, using one Decode Tool to set the match string data for another Decode Tool.

  2. Between machine vision tools and external systems (like a PLC or PC).

  3. Between machine vision inspection jobs, or even between cameras.


How Does It Work?

The magic of Microscan Link lies at its core, the Global Data Block. The Global Data Block can be thought of as a large piece of memory shared between one of the three pairs listed above. Data can be written to or read from the Global Data Block, allowing data exchange across the automation system using any of Microscan Link's Global Data Services:

      - The job (the AutoVISION job file, .avp)
      - EtherNet/IP
      - I/O System
    - RS-232 and Ethernet Commands

You can think of this communication process as it is outlined by the image below, where an AutoVISION smart camera running a machine vision job is connected to the Global Data Block, which is in turn connected to another element of the automation system, like an external PC or a second smart camera.


The Global Data Services provide a connection to the Global Data Block, through which most machine vision parameters can be communicated. The Global Data Block offers several slots for the various data values captured by AutoVISION's machine vision tools:

      - 200 Boolean Values (status flags)
      - 200 Integers (16-bit numbers)
      - 200 Long Integers ( 32-bit numbers)
      - 200 Floating Point Numbers
      - 200 Strings
    - And several more host parameters

    Depending on the type of data that is captured by a machine vision tool, the appropriate slot above will be used to map this data into the Global Data Block. For instance, the Decode Tool captures string data - therefore, a String slot would be used to map this data to the Global Data Block.

    The true beauty of Microscan Link is how simple it is to connect machine vision tool parameters from within the AutoVISION software interface. No protocol knowledge is needed. To establish a link to the Global Data Block, just click the " Link" icon next to your AutoVISION tool and select a slot from the list provided.


    Now when the inspection job in this video is run, the Locate Tool will send a value of " True" to a Boolean slot in the Global Data Block because the logo that we are trying to locate is present. An external PLC, for example, could then read this value from the same Boolean slot of the Global Data Block to use as necessary.

    Why Is Microscan Link Important?


    Because Microscan Link enables information about a vision job to be exchanged network-wide, manufacturers are afforded tremendous flexibility when it comes to integrating and controlling machine vision inspection. When the requirements of your inspection job change, it is not necessary to reprogram each individual machine vision camera on your line. Instead, commands can be sent to multiple cameras to update the inspection parameters remotely from a single control system. For example, when all cameras on a line are connected via Microscan Link to one industrial control system, an operator could use an HMI to easily change the inspected count value or alignment angle to match the product currently being produced in the manufacturing line.

    What's the bottom line? Microscan Link makes the integration of machine vision into any automation system extremely easy. AutoVISION and Microscan Link work together to provide seamless factory-wide communication through one simple software interface and one-click connectivity. The result is huge time savings for the user - less time spent integrating, managing, and adjusting the system for any unexpected variation and NO time wasted building a complex vision job into your system using a machine vision programming interface. Time saved by avoiding these particular vision job hassles means that cost savings will be quick to follow, and ultimately automation is doing what it's supposed to do even better - save time and money. Microscan Link, and the entire Microscan AutoVISION suite, offers users the next level of machine vision technology for optimizing their automation systems and, in turn, their production performance.

    Have a project requiring machine vision inspection, or wondering how AutoVISION can help improve the efficiency of your operations? Our project experts are standing by to offer free evaluations for any project.

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