Machine vision for quality assurance - multidimensional sensor technology
Industrial solutions for processes
The digitalisation of production requires the use of sensors that function like multi-dimensional sensory organs. Fraunhofer IPMS is developing microscanning mirrors that will enable robots to perceive objects in their environment in a similar way to human vision. This would enable industrial robots to take on even more demanding tasks and react adequately to their environment.
A Fraunhofer IPMS research team is pursuing the approach of a "scanning eye", which is intended to enable machine vision in three dimensions. The scanning mirror module functions as a scanning eye that can record high-resolution images in all three spatial axes. The scientists use the LiDAR principle (Light Detection and Ranging) for this: the scanner mirror modulates the light of a laser and detects the reflected signals; at the same time, a time-of-flight measurement of the light between the object and the detector is carried out.
The robust MEMS scanners are very easy to integrate due to their high degree of miniaturisation. In the field of automated industrial production, the small scanner mirror modules can be implemented in robot arms, for example, so that the robots are able to permanently detect their surroundings, recognise upcoming work steps and monitor the quality of their work. The robot eye operates fully automatically. In addition to optical perception, the robot eye can be extended with additional functionalities. For example, a non-destructive material test of the products can be realised with the help of infrared spectroscopy or a sensory detection of the environment can be carried out by means of quantum cascade laser spectroscopy. This detects the spectral fingerprint of substances, making them precisely identifiable.
This type of sensor technology is used, among other things, in the quality monitoring of drinking water, the testing of medicines in the pharmaceutical industry, the remote monitoring of industrial plants, the leakage monitoring of pipelines or the detection of hazardous substances.