Improve Profitablility Using Optimum Instruments

Selection of optimum image processing systems increases the speed of business in FA

As factory automation (FA) progresses, a large amount of FA devices are being introduced into production worksites. FA devices come in a wide variety and include vision systems and image processing systems that are used in inspection processes, photoelectric sensors that check for targets, pressure sensors that obtain control information such as oil pressure, PLCs that receive results from various sensors in order to control equipment, and industrial robots that carry out the actual work.

At production worksites, which change rapidly due to technological innovation, the selection and quick introduction of optimum instruments is directly linked to profitability. Hence, this section will investigate the topic of profitability improvement through the optimum development of inspection instruments from the point of view of instrument selection performed during the switch to FA.

Switching to FA quickly and efficiently

Sensors are the key aspect in switching to FA. Because they are vital for automation, vision systems, photoelectric sensors, pressure sensors, proximity sensors, and other such sensors are referred to collectively as FA sensors. To this point, we have explained sensor solutions with a focus on image processing. This section will investigate how to quickly and efficiently switch to FA from the point of view of selecting vision systems and image processing systems.

Giving consideration to matching with various devices

When selecting a vision system, it is first necessary to consider the matching with devices such as the PLC and the industrial robot. Each industrial robot uses a unique programming language that varies from one manufacturer to another, so compatibility with these languages is the key. There are many cases in which the production worksite contains devices made by multiple manufacturers with all of these devices linked to construct a single production line. Hence, work efficiency can be improved by selecting a flexible vision system and image processing system that are compatible with all these devices. KEYENCE's vision systems and image processing systems are compatible with the programming languages of 16 manufacturers inside and outside of Japan, which enables compatibility with combinations of any kind of device.

Compatibility with robot manufacturers

Considering the method for connecting to the image processing system

The vision system must be connected to the image processing system. Also, the PLC must be connected to various devices in order to control them. As such, let us consider not only how to connect the image processing system and control devices but other items such as the transmission method and control method as well. KEYENCE image processing systems can easily be connected to the PLCs of various companies. Then, select the connected devices and their manufacturers to exchange results and commands via data memory.

Furthermore, KEYENCE's lineup of devices includes PLCs such as the KV Series, various types of sensors, AC servo motors, and touch panel displays that support multi-touch. This wide range of products can be used to construct production systems that make use of image processing systems and enables KEYENCE to provide our customers with total solutions.

Have you ever experienced any of the following problems?

If even one of these issues applies to you, you may be able to improve your profitability by revising the way that you introduce image processing systems.

  • You do not know what the best combination is of devices such as image processing systems, control devices, and sensors.
  • Because your FA devices are made by different manufacturers, connections and settings take a long time.
  • Defects occur due to the poor matching between your FA devices, but you cannot identify the source of the problem.
  • You are bothered by the complicated control and communication methods of your image processing systems and devices.
  • You have to contact someone different for each manufacturer, and there is no one you can contact regarding the overall system.

The peace of mind provided by a comprehensive manufacturer of control devices

People tend to select FA devices separately, with the image processing system coming from company A, the PLC coming from the frequently patronized company B, and the industrial robots (which are already on hand) coming from company C. This is how variations between manufacturers arise in the introduced devices, and this may affect the amount of work that is required to recover from unexpected problems. As this work piles up, the start of the production line gets pushed back, which leads to opportunity loss.

As a manufacturer who provides comprehensive control device solutions, KEYENCE can provide total support for everything from image processing system selection to peripheral equipment such as PLCs, touch panels, and AC servo motors. Our device selection representatives provide support for every step from device introduction to operation. Entrusting the time-intensive selection of devices to a specialist allows production technology representatives to focus on other work.

Example of improved profitability through improved device introduction efficiency

It takes time and effort to select devices such as image processing systems, PLCs, and servo motors. This section introduces a formula for calculating this device introduction cost. This formula shows how much you can reduce this cost and how quickly you can reach operation by having devices selected by a manufacturer who provides comprehensive control device solutions.

Profitability improvement calculation

(Number of days spent selecting devices + number of days required to match devices) x labor cost = profitability improvement

(【①】days + 【②】days) × $【③ = profitability improvement of $【  】 + increased speed of work

Profitability improvement calculation sheet

① Number of days spent selecting devices days
② Number of days required to match devices days
③ Labor cost $

profitability improvement of $ 0+ increased speed of work

Please enter a numeric value

Calculation example

Assume that it takes 2 days to select an image processing system, 2 days to check the matching with all the devices, and $1,000 for the corresponding labor cost. What profitability improvement would be obtained by completing this work in 1 day?

(2 days + 2 days) x $1,000 = $4,000 + increased speed of work

The profitability improvement is $4,000 and 3 days worth of work are saved!

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