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Improving Machine Vision with Fluid Lens Technology

Improving Machine Vision with Fluid Lens Technology

Corning® Varioptic® Lenses Improve Machine Vision with Fluid Lens Technology

The rapid growth of industrial and non-industrial automation has increased the need for vision systems that are swift, durable, fast, and reliable. Also, Industry 4.0 technology and smart manufacturing have placed growing importance on imaging applications as companies expand cyber-physical production systems. Corning® Varioptic® Lenses are a vital component to advancing the speed, efficiency, and integration for products using computer imaging.

According to AIA Vision, the Global Association for Vision Information, the factors driving growth in the machine vision market today include the need for quality inspection and automation inside factories; increasing adoption of Industrial 4.0 technologies that rely on machine vision to improve the productivity of robotic automation; and even government initiatives that support smart factories across the globe.

In addition to supporting the above applications, Corning Varioptic products enable improvements to the logistics of e-commerce. Tracking parcels from pickup (handheld barcode scanners) to logistics centers (fixed barcode scanners) and finally to delivery (using handheld scanners again), Varioptic lenses facilitate the fast, accurate, and reliable tracking of packages.

Inspired by the functionality of a human eye, Corning Varioptic Lenses offer manufacturers and OEMs the speed and reliability they need for machine vision. Just as our eyes adjust to the surrounding environment at incredibly fast speeds, Corning’s adjustable lenses emulate the human eyes’ fluid and adaptable characteristics to create a rapid response to variable circumstances. This process is made possible by a technology called electrowetting, which uses an electrical signal to manipulate a liquid solution into a workable lens; thus eliminating the need for moving parts, ensuring long life time required by stringent 24/7 operations.

High-volume assembly lines in manufacturing and shipping environments require machinery that works quickly enough to keep up with consumer demands. In these systems, machine vision conducts quality control inspections, scans barcodes, or sorts items by size and other characteristics. Traditional lenses are composed of mechanical parts that need to move and adjust, delaying production time as they refocus on each passing item. Reorienting to objects of different heights requires the lens to frequently alternate between long and short distances, consuming power and causing wear and tear on the lens.

Corning’s technology traps two immiscible liquids together and applies a voltage to activate the film between the fluids as a workable lens. There are no mechanical parts in the lens taking time to adjust, or suffering the wear of rapid refocusing. Varioptic lenses are specifically designed to be fast, durable, and long-lasting, even in the most demanding industrial environments. Our adjustable lens solutions consume very little power and require less maintenance than traditional imaging solutions.

Varioptic lenses are also capable of functioning effectively at any orientation. The liquids inside the lenses are density-matched, allowing them to be used at any orientation without impacting the shape of the workable lens at the interface of the two liquids. Corning’s adjustable lenses operate in harsh environments and are not impeded by gravity or vibrations and shocks. Because Varioptic lenses contain no moving parts, they are compact in size and operate without producing disruptive noise.

The rise of machine vision means that manufacturers need reliable industrial imaging solutions that decrease production time and enhance quality control capabilities. Corning® Varioptic® Lenses support our customers with industrial imaging technology that is fast, durable, and maneuverable to meet and exceed expectations in increasingly digital industries.