On the face of it, easy. But on closer inspection, challenging.

That’s oil drum internal inspection

When a customer asked us to provide a camera that would allow them to inspect the insides of new oil drums at the end of the production line, we made the assumption that any reasonably small camera would be good enough for the task.

However, the standard oil drum has a 2″ aperture at the top through which any camera assembly would need to fit. There are many small cameras on the market that would fit through a 2″ aperture. But taking into account the operational requirements that meant attaching the camera to an existing probe that also has to fit through the same space, meant that the majority of small industrial cameras are too big.


In addition, the specification was made more challenging because:

  • Every centimetre of the internals of the drum had to be inspected, requiring more than one camera
  • The cameras had to enter the drum and exit within 30 seconds
  • The live images needed to be displayed on a large screen
  • High resolution images were required so that the smallest objects could be detected
  • Allowing for routing around and through a moving production line, the cable distance was around 15 metres
  • The whole process had to be semi-automated so that the operators only have to watch the screen

There is one camera in our portfolio which stood out as the best candidate. Cable run had to be minimal and so power over ethernet was an obvious choice, meaning the miniature power over ethernet cameras from The Imaging Source were an ideal choice.


The cameras mounted at 180 degrees, with LED strip lights and M12 miniature lenses

Then the next problem became apparent, standard lenses are bigger than the width of the body of the camera, so we had to go to small lenses. Fortunately there is an M12 lens adapter available from The Imaging Source that converts the C mount to an M12 mount. Now we just had to find fish eye lenses with a wide enough angle to view each end of the drum.

Finally, how to illuminate. Standard lighting couldn’t be used as there was nowhere to put it. We came up with the idea of using LED strips which work off 12V DC. These attach to the side of the camera and as they are low power they don’t get very warm.

Once we’d cracked the camera and lighting problem, we then had to display the live images on the big screen. For this we used Scorpion Image Sentinel, designed for uncompressed image capture at live video speeds.

What the inside of an oil drum looks like!


Engage the tractor beam….

… and any other Star Trek style quotes I can think of to promote the exciting venue at the National Space Centre in Leicester to learn about the latest in the world of industrial imaging and image processing!

On the 13th of March 2012 we’re running a seminar to present a new range of cameras from The Imaging Source. Without going into too much detail – you should come to the seminar – these are the key words:

PoE, Small footprint, new cmos, high framerate, low cost, highly competitive, high resolution

This event is for those who are concerned with imaging and image processing and is relevant for all levels of knowledge.  This is an opportunity to get a hands-on demonstration of the full range of TIS cameras – including the zoom and autofocus models as well as the forthcoming range of small Power over Ethernet (PoE) GigE Cameras.

Follow this link to find out more


Scorpion Technical Day – A Runaway Success!

December’s technical day at Brooklands Park was well attended with a good response in delegate feedback.

Both existing and new Scorpion Vision integrators joined us for the day, as well as a number of prospective end users from Thor presents at the Technical daymanufacturing companies who were drawn by an interest in finding out how 3D machine vision  could benefit their production.

Paul Wilson and Thor Vollset gave presentations on Scorpion Vision Software with Thor giving a particularly interesting talk on recent Scorpion installations including a very high speed fish egg sorting system!

The event was also well attended by Sony with presentations by Dino Bonometti and Alexis Teissie with support by other Sony luminaries. On display were a number of Sony camera products, including the latest Smart camera by Sony, running a Scorpion demonstration connected to a second (GigE) camera. This demonstration was probably the first of it’s kind with the Smartcamera interfaced directly to the second camera without the need for a PC.

Sony camera displaysDelegates also had the opportunity to see Scorpion with live video streamed from both Sony 2 megapixel GigE cameras and VGA machine vision cameras.

So, a successful event and one which highlighted the excellent combination of Scorpion Vision Software and cameras from Sony. Watch this space for more events in 2010!


Sony Technology Day – Thursday 10th December @ Brooklands Museum

Here’s advance notification of a forthcoming industry event to be held at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey UK. Brooklands Museum

A long timepartner of Sony (Image Sensing Solutions Europe), Tordivel placed a strong emphasis from the early days on using Sony cameras for the more challenging applications (high speed can inspection is one example) and created special packages, bundling Sony cameras with Scorpion Vision Software.

The relationship continues and to promote the latest and greatest in Sony technology, Sony are sponsoring a special machine vision technology day at a venue close their HQ. Our involvement is as the organiser and catalyst, as a camera needs good software (and software needs a good camera).

Watch this space and keep an eye open for more information about this special event which should be of great interest to machine vision engineers. If you’re in the industry and don’t2nd Generation Smart Camera currently use Sony products or Scorpion Vision Software, you are urged to come along even if it’s just to keep up up with industry happenings. The main focus will be on the Sony Smartcamera running Scorpion Vision Software but there will also be the opportunity to take a close look at the new range of Sony Gigabit Ethernet machine vision cameras as well as the SNC series of network cameras more traditionally used in CCTV applications. Why are we showing you these?  It’s an example of convergence from two distinct areas within the field of imaging technology.

Of course, there will be the opportunity to see the traditional stable mates of Sony Imaging, with the newest Sony Firewire machine vision devices such as the XCD-V60, XCD-SX90 and XCD-U100 cameras.

If you’re already using Sony and Scorpion, then you’ll have a chance to meet both Sony and Tordivel lumineries, plus the chance to get valuable advice from the some of the best machine vision engineers.

To register early (advisable), click here.


New Support for IP Cameras in Scorpion Vision Software

We’ve just added support for Sony’s SNC-CS20 and SNC-CM120 network cameras. In fact any IP camera using the same network protocols will probably work (but have not been tested).Simultaneous view of Scorpion Vision + Live Video from Network Camera

Network, or IP cameras are more traditionally used in remote CCTV monitoring for security purposes. Until now, there has been relatively small crossover from the world of security to the high performance world of machine vision where constants are critical. There are exceptions of course but these are mainly related to that of automatic number plate recognition systems, or ANPR.

Machine vision systems that are measuring continuously and feeding back live data or making pass/fail decisions based on pre-determined tolerances require, it could be argued, higher specification devices than are available to the CCTV market. A fundamental consideration for in-line machine vision systems is the control of illumination. Fluctuating light can make the pixel values in an image change and cause false or inaccurate readings. A badly implemented vision system can be troublesome if these constants aren’t achieved. Good clear images with perfect illumination is in fact the foundation on which the building blocks of robust machine vision systems are cemented.

With the latest Scorpion machine vision software, certain benefits of the CCTV world are brought into the machine vision world. The Sony network camera with built-in auto-iris and auto-focus can minimise the impact of varying light. Scorpion Vision Software can exploit this fact  and so this is a compelling package for some machine vision applications.

Indeed, when high performance imaging isn’t critical, then a number of aspects can be considered:

  • Reading text
  • Reading numbers
  • Measuring areas
  • Measuring distances
  • Locating objects
  • Counting objects

Then of course, there is the real possibility of using powerful machine vision software in security applications – utilising an existing IP camera network!