Canadian vision

Vision control system finds ready application

Comments Off on Canadian vision August 8, 2008
by Steve Purwitsky

Homegrown Canadian technology and innovation is always a pleasure to write about, but it’s something we don’t see nearly enough of these days. A case in point is a vision control system developed by a Markham, Ont.-based Global Controls. The system is applicable to a wide variety of industries and according to one satisfied user, Van-Rob Stamping Inc., it’s Canadian technology at its best.

Global Controls was formed some seven years ago, essentially evolving out of Canavision Technologies Ltd., a company that boasts a 15-year history developing image processing algorithms for the purpose of automating inspection tasks that would otherwise be performed by the human eye.

“We are the only Canadian company we know of that has built vision control solutions not using third party software to establish a tool library,” Global Controls sales manager Michael Owens says. “Further, we are the only vision focused company that provides the turnkey automation and direct support thereafter.”

Owens believes the implementation of a vision technology system is often misunderstood, resulting in the system being abandoned before the real benefits are realized.

“When purchasing a system, you need to look further than the cost of the camera, lens and cable,” he says. “In reality, a potential user often does not have the image processing background needed to set up the system. This results in a misguided and costly setup and leads to difficulties in recovering data that can take many months to rectify. Unfortunately, the end result is that the time needed to design, implement and support the system becomes too expensive and the vision system is shelved.

“Simply put, purchasing off-the-shelf vision systems may not hold all the answers for a dependable and cost-effective system” he adds.

Assemble the facts
Before installing a vision system, the following questions should be asked:
• Who is going to implement the technology?
• How long will it take to implement?
• How easy is it for company personnel to learn “the system”?

According to Owens, Global Controls has an edge in that it designs, installs and supports its vision systems with on-site and online support to minimize any impact
to production.

“We sell a solution that, by definition, is a win-win situation for everyone involved and, in our opinion, is the only way industry is going to survive in North America as it competes against low labour cost centres in the developing world,” he concludes.