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  2. Innovative system brings the power of 3D inspections to In-Sight The In-Sight 3D-L4000 is a breakthrough in three-dimensional (3D) vision technology. This unique vision system combines 3D laser displacement technology with a smart camera allowing factory engineers to quickly, accurately, and cost effectively solve a wide variety of inspections. The patented speckle-free blue laser optics, an industry first, acquires high quality 3D images and on-board high-performance processing powers a comprehensive set of true 3D vision tools, without the need for external processing. 3D vision tools are set up as easily as 2D vision tools thanks to the familiar and robust In-Sight spreadsheet environment. Better image formation in real-world settings The 3D-L4000 series’ patented, speckle-free blue laser optical system enables the vision system to capture higher quality images than traditional laser displacement sensors. A robust collection of true 3D vision tools The In-Sight 3D-L4000 allows users to place vision tools directly on a true 3D image of the part, unlike typical 3D systems which transform its 3D images into a representational 2D height map for basic tool processing. True 3D inspections increase the accuracy of results and expands the types of inspections that can be performed. Better yet, because inspections are in 3D, users can immediately experience how the vision tools operate on the actual part or component. The 3D-L4000 includes all the traditional 3D measurement tools users expect such as plane and height finding. However, it also comes with a full suite of 3D vision tools, designed from the ground up to leverage inspections in a true 3D space. Further, these vision tools were created with the simplicity of 2D in mind making them more accessible to the user. Learn More About Cognex
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  4. Bryon - Your post on SFC programming is very concise and clear. Nicely done! I will be recommending this post to anyone programming on a new FX5U or FX5UC.
  5. For questions regarding product selection and availability, please reach out to insidesales@gibsonengineering.com or call us at the number below. Address: 90 Broadway, Norwood, Massachusetts 02062 Phone: (781) 769-3600 Fax: (781) 769-8455
  6. Often with new In-Sight Vision Systems or Vision Sensors, or ones that have been on the shop floor for a while, you find that you can't connect to the system. You may forget what the IP Address is of the camera, or if it's new it comes set to DHCP and you can't get connected. The steps below will help you get connected. We recommend in order to simplify the setup, use hard-wired Ethernet from your PC to a simple Ethernet Switch and nothing else. The reason for this is to make sure that we don't have any address conflicts and that simple communications can work. Do not use a router, or a managed switch, just a simple unmanaged switch. Typically we could also go directly from the PC to the camera without the switch, but some older PCs do not have auto-crossover hardware whereas most switches these days do allow for this. Step 1: Connect your PC and camera to a stand alone network switch, use the wired network port of your PC. Step 2: Set a Static IP Address for the PC's Ethernet Port This depends greatly on your operating system how you get to the list of network adapters. But in the end we typically want to get to "Network Connections" In most Windows operating systems once you get to Control Panel, go to Network and Sharing Center, then "Change adapter Settings", you should see a screen something like this with your various network adapters. Right Click on Ethernet (or whatever your wired network adapter is) and select Properties. Next select the IPV4 line and click Properties again. Set the IP address to a static address. Most companies will use 192.168.0.X or 192.168.1.X for their company network, some will use the 172.16.X.X range and some will use the 10.X.X.X range. We just want to pick something that does not conflict with your company network. Often a 192.168.3.X address will work, so for our example we will use So your settings will look like this: After you click OK, you will now have a static IP Address on your PC. Step 3: Open In-Sight Explorer Step 4: Click on Get Connected Step 5: If you see the camera in the list, you can select it and click Connect, but most likely it will not be there, so you will need to click Add Step 6: Decide if you want to change the Camera's IP Address or your PC, and set the appropriate device's IP Address. The Camera will show up in the list, if you select it you will see it's IP Address. If the camera is part of a working machine, you want to change your PC's IP address to be in the same range as the camera, so go back to Step 2. If the camera is new or not part of a working machine, then it's okay to change it's address as shown below. Step 7: Go back to Get Connected and select the camera and connect!
  7. One thing to be aware of is that the FX5UJ series does not allow SFC. The FX5U and FX5UC PLCs do, but the FX5UJ does not.
  8. This is great new Bryon. We know so many customers that leverage SFC for more efficient programming. Having SFC available on the full range of FX5U PLCs is a powerful combination!
  9. As yet another example of the amazing flexibility and power that Mitsubishi’s iQ-F Controller, Mitsubishi has now added Sequential Function Chart programming to the FX5U and FX5UC compact, cost effective PLCs. If you have been a PLC programmer for a long time you have probably programmed in ladder logic, and most likely Function Block Diagram languages (FBD) which has also been called Structured Ladder programming. You might have even used Structured text (ST) programming. But have you ever tried SFC? If you have a project where the machine acts very sequentially, SFC can’t be beat for making troubleshooting the sequence easier and faster. Let’s explore all of the available languages in the FX5U and FX5UC PLCs. The first is Ladder programming and it is the classic language for PLC programming which comes from classic relay logic. Ladder Logic is very easy to read for standard input and output logic if all you need are inputs, outputs, timers and counters. Once you go beyond simple logic, Ladder programming can start to look and feel kind of clunky. As you can see below, once we start trying to add Function Blocks into ladder, the classic clean look and feel starts to get broken up. The simple Set/Reset block really feels out of place. That’s where Function Block Diagram (FBD) programming starts to show it’s power. It is much cleaner and easier to read when we start using larger function blocks. It also lends itself well to Object Oriented Programming techniques. We also have Structured Text programming available to us. For those who have done extensive PC programming, a text based language may feel much more comfortable, but for PLC programmers there are still significant advantages to this language. For performing complex math or string manipulation, Structured Text (ST) language makes for a very clean, compact, easy to read language. So with having 3 languages already, why would we need or want a fourth? First, let’s examine what SFC programming is. The name gives it away: Sequential Function Chart. SFC is represented as a flow chart format with Blocks, Actions, and Decisions (transitions). An SFC program starts at an initial step, executes the next step every time the relevant transition becomes TRUE, and ends a series of operations at an end step. 1. When starting a block, the initial step (1) is activated first and then the action (2) is executed. After execution of the action (2), the program checks whether the next transition (3) has become TRUE. 2. The program executes only the action (2) until the transition (3) becomes TRUE. When the transition (3) becomes TRUE, the program ends the action (2), deactivates the initial step (1), and activates the next normal step (4). 3. After execution of the action of the normal step (4), the program checks whether the next transition has become TRUE. If the next transition does not become TRUE, the program repeats the execution of the action of the normal step (4). 4. When the transition becomes TRUE, the program ends the action, deactivates the step (4), and activates the next step (5). 5. Every time the transition becomes TRUE, the program activates the next step and ends the block when it finally activates the end step (6). So where would I use SFC and why? If you’ve ever written ladder and used STL (Step Ladder) instructions or if you’ve ever written your own State Machine logic, then you’ve basically written SFC programs without knowing it. However, SFC has some advantages over STL and State Machine Logic in plain ladder. With SFC, only the ACTIVE block is scanned. This means that the CPU can scan much faster and is much more efficient. Not only is your scan time reduced (often by very significant amounts), when monitoring SFC, you can see which step or steps are active very quickly and easily and jump right to a very small section of code to see what is going on. In previous generations of PLCs, the logic inside SFC had to be written in Ladder programming. Now with the iQ-R and iQ-F PLCs, the code resides in an Action. Each Step can have up to 4 Actions tied to it, and each Action can be written in any of the standard three languages. With the latest release of GX Works3 Programming software (Version 1.070Y) we now have SFC available to us on the FX5U and FX5UC series PLCs. If you have a PLC with serial number 1.7X or later, you can update the firmware to version 1.220 and take advantage of this powerful language. I hope this brief introduction into SFC has piqued your interest. Now go write some code!
  10. I'm interested in obtaining an instrument that will report a quantitative reading of the amount of UV dye in a grease. Is this an instrument you have?
  11. Thanks Al. It's not exactly the most complicated project but it was fun to show my son some real world engineering. He loves coming to the Gibson office (before covid) to see what we do, but this was hands on so he was excited it see something he put together do something.
  12. Thanks Frank. I'm still going to the office so no ambient hens as background noise on my phone calls. They are definitely better than roosters but the hens can get noisy so we've been giving the neighbors plenty of eggs, so no complaints yet.
  13. Wow Joe! This is a very fascinating story. I am impressed by the conviction to build a very high end chicken coop and automating it as well. This is what engineers are all about. It shows ingenuity and impressive resolve. Thanks for sharing...
  14. Joe, Your story is amazing and precisely what I needed in the midst of all the doom and gloom of our current COVID infested world. Since we are on the subject of chickens, I thought I would share a story. Last night my wife was having some issues getting one of the movie channels on our TV to work. She called technical support (which I suspect routed her to a phone center in the Philippines). The workers there, like so many of us, are working from home. Throughout the short phone call, we could hear chickens in the background. Now to my question for you: Are the people phoning you for support privy to the ambient sound of happy hens playing in your yard?
  15. Thanks Sonya. We have some friends that want chickens in the spring. In that case the eggs will come first...we are going to buy some fertilized eggs and let our chickens raise them.
  16. This is what happens when your requirements are perfectly balanced between innovation, customer focus, and Dad vibes. 😂 Well done Joe, thanks for sharing!
  17. A great story with even greater pictures! You can finally answer the age-old question because at your house the Chickens came first, and the eggs after!
  18. Advanced warning, this may not be the most professional or business-centric blog post for Gibson Engineering's Support Community. I wanted to share an automation application and the associated story that may entertain some of our readers. Earlier in the year, as we went into coronavirus quarantine and our kids were sent home from school, my wife decided it was a great time to get chickens. I've shrugged off this idea for a couple of years now. However, I came home one night to three excited children making chicken noises before informing me about the "family decision" they had made that day. The family decided to get chickens. They just forgot to consult me first. At this point, I had no say in the matter. I thought I'd have a few weeks or even months to research and build a chicken coop, run, and whatever else I may need for the chickens. Meanwhile, the next day I was texted pictures of my three children holding a dozen baby chicks. After some online research and generating a BOM for my DIY chicken coop, I realizing that it was far less expensive to buy a coop than build one. I soon learned that backyard chickens were experiencing a surge in popularity because of COVID-19. Buying a chicken coop now meant a lead time of 6-9 months which was far beyond the date our chicks needed to move outdoors. Shortly after contacting a few places, I got a call back from a coop builder suggesting that if I wanted to pay in Bitcoin, he would expedite my coop! I'd never dealt with bitcoin before, but for the discount and expedited delivery he was offering, I rolled the dice. I create my Coinbase account, and after a short delay, my cash was converted to cryptocurrency, and the downpayment was funneled to a guy I'd never met in New Hampshire. He apparently has little faith in our federal reserve but he has a kind heart and a knack for building chicken coops. A portion of the sale from every coop he sells is donated to charities bringing food, water, and electricity to impoverished people worldwide and saving children from human trafficking. The coop made it to our home in MA after my son and I picked it up with a rented trailer and moved it into place on some PVC pipes. The chicken run (the outside area) still needed to be built. I then learned the recent popularity of chickens apparently created a shortage of hardware mesh which I'll describe as the Fort Knox version of chicken wire. There was no way my family would let me use standard chicken wire to protect our new family members from the fisher cats, fox, raccoon, coyotes, and hawks that may find them tasty. A combination of amazon and curbside pickup at multiple local Tractor Supply Stores got me enough hardware mesh to complete the job but it was a close call. Now for the automation part that makes this blog at least slightly relevant for Gibson's Support Community. Letting out and then safely closing in a dozen chickens every day and night proves to be painful, in particular, if you aren't home. We entrusted our teenage neighbor to open the door and let the hens out for food and water for a few mornings, that was all we needed to decide an automated door was neccesary. This is where my son Jackson and I put our heads together. After learning about the multiple hundreds of dollars, you could spend on fairly archaic automatic chicken coop doors; my 8-year old son Jackson and I decided we had a better solution. Our plan was to automate the existing door and, of course, integrate some safety to make sure we didn't decapitate a curious hen that may stick her head in or out as that door is closing with 22 pounds of force generated by an open-loop DC brush motor and lead screw. We looked for actuators first. As robust and high performance as Intelligent Actuator RoboCylinders are, these industrial actuators I am familiar with were overkill for our application. We found a compact 6-inch stroke actuator with integrated motor and limit switches for about $25 online. Then we researched wifi-enabled relays for home automation. We found a $15 multiple channel relay module with built-in interlocking capabilities to ensure we weren't trying to open and close at the same time. The wifi module was compatible with a free open source app for any smartphone and included scheduling capabilities. We really didn't want to crush our hens in the door so we added another $6 relay module and a Sick retroreflective H18 sensor to detect any chickens across the door opening that would cut power to the DC motors and stop any motion. It isn't exactly "safety-rated," but we are talking about chickens, not humans here. Once we had all our components, I spent some of a completely unscheduled COVID weekend drawing electrical circuits with my son. I explained the 12vdc power supply for the actuator versus the 5vdc supply on the wifi relay module. We talked about what interlocked meant and how wifi works. We covered series and parallel circuits, and my 8-year-old Jackson son was thrilled to cut and strip some wires, see some lights illuminate, and control electricity to the point he could make something open and close. Last, we added a couple of really cost effective WYZE cams to check in on the chickens anytime we wanted. I never thought I'd say we owned and raised chickens. It's particularly odd when I think about that statement, "We got chickens during a global pandemic, purchased the coop with cryptocurrency, and then my son and I added IIoT devices and automated it!" At Gibson Engineering, we've talked about the personal and professional silver linings through this pandemic. This COVID-driven chicken undertaking has been a silver lining for me and my family. My kid got to see baby chicks grow from fragile little peeping birds to full-grown clucking, egg-laying hens, each with their own personalities. They see where their food comes from, take responsibility for some shared chores (sort-of), and spend more time together taking care of the chickens.
  19. Color Inspection comes to the ViDi Platform Cognex has announced the release of Color cameras for use with its ViDi Deep Learning platform. If you haven't been keeping up with Deep Learning in Machine Vision, this is huge news. Not very long ago Deep Learning and neural networks were limited to lab use or very large complex systems. But now you can train complex applications and deploy them on Smart Cameras on your product line to perform inspections that were never possible with traditional rules based machine vision. Read the blog here at Cognex "5 Inspections Made Possible with Color Imaging and Deep Learning" By utilizing the D900 platform, Cognex is bringing Deep Learning out onto the production floor in unprecedented ways. Whether it's Kitting, Defect Detection, OCR or other difficult inspection tasks, Cognex has a system that can tackle your toughest applications. Benefits of the D900 ViDi System: 2.3MP and 5MP Grayscale or Color Cameras with HDR+ IP67 Rated Housing for Ruggedness in the Industrial Environment Performs inspections not possible with traditional Rule Based machine vision No PC on your production floor Familiar In-Sight Spreadsheet programming environment Ease of Deployment
  20. Wow, October got away from me. I don't know about you, but things are still moving fast and completing new projects is taking longer than usual right now. But that's where having options and other resources can be a great help. Did you know that Gibson Engineering has been running a Panelshop for decades? That's right, we have a group dedicated to custom panel work. We do everything from kitting, to small assembly work, to custom electrical enclosure, to large multi-bay control enclosures. We even do full Automation Cells. With an Engineering staff of 10 people, and a crew of highly skilled technicians, we can produce products from the simple and straight forward to much more complex systems to support our customers. So if you are trying to get your project completed and resources are problematic. We can probably help. Some of the things we do: Cable assemblies and connectorizing. Assembly services: Machine Framing, Guarding and Conveyors Then on the Panelshop side of things we can offer small panels like our Vision Power Panels and any custom small enclosure, all the way to multi-bay enclosures. We also do complete machine builds from small desktop inspection systems to complex robotic cells. Suffice to say with a an Engineering staff who on average have 15 years or more experience, we've seen and solved many of the problems that exist across many industries. Let us help you bring your projects to completion by leveraging our resources.
  21. This is a tutorial to setup the Google Drive storage and load a program and a workcell into the robot. Click on the 3 dots on the right top corner and Select Storage from the drop down. Click on the Add/Choose Account. This will prompt you to select a WiFi to connect. After you insert the correct credentials for the WiFi account, click on the Add/Choose Account again. This time the Google Drive plugin will show up. Select the Add Account button and fill in the email address and password of the account that you have the program and workspace in. After completing the account adding, you should see your account pop up, like shown below. Close out of this and click on the 3 dots on the right corner again. Select Open Program. Then click on where it says “Tablet” and choose MyDrive and navigate to the correct directory that your .kr2 file is. Select the program and click yes on the prompt. Do the same process for the Workcell. This time navigate to the .wc file and select that. If you see the Cbun tile highlighted red in your program, you will need to initialize the RG6 Cbun. For that, you might need to download the OnRobot CBun, similar to how we did with the program and workcell. Navigate to CBuns under the 3 dots on the right top. Click on the + sign on the left top to add a CBun. Make sure to select MyDrive instead of the Tablet or Robot from the pop up screen and navigate to where the CBun is located in your google drive. I recommend not using the built-in CBun that’s under Robot since the OnRobot version has more functionality. After that step, click on the + button next to RG6 or whichever gripper you are using. That will redirect you to the Workcell. Now what you need to do is to change the Robot’s ethernet address to something that will match the Compute Box’s address. Compute box ships with so setting the “ethnet” to would be good. Then, select the OR_RG6 under Custom Devices and configure it. Change the connection method to Compute Box and change the IP address to under the Configure tab. Under the Mounting tab, click on Mount to set LOAD1 as your gripper. Remember, LOAD2 is the variable that you will need to configure to set your tool's weight. Make sure to click activate under Configure tab and watch the OR_RG6 tiles turn green.
  22. With GOT1000 and GOT2000 series HMI's when you open GT Designer 3 software, (purchased as GT Works3 package) if you go to the Help menu and click Manual List it will open a PDF that lists all the various manuals for programming GOT terminals. In this PDF is a list of "GOT2000 Series Connection Manuals" that describe how to configure both your HMI and your PLC. The first one in the list is for connecting your Mitsubishi PLC to your MItsubishi GOT. In the bookmarks section of the GOT2000 Series Connection Manual (Mitsubishi Electric Products) there are sections for every type of possible connection. We'll look at Ethernet Connection as an example as this is the most common today. You will notice it lists all PLCs that can connect via Ethernet, then how to configure the system (built-in Ethernet vs Ethernet Module on the PLC, or with add-on cards on the HMI etc) Then we get to 4.3 and 4.4 where it will give actual functional examples of configuring your HMI and PLC. For example, connecting an R04PLC to a GT27 via Ethernet. Overall - this is the critical picture - ALL the settings needed to make this work are shown here. Notice for instance that the PLC No (Station) is different on PLC and HMI. They each need a unique number! On the HMI Side it shows the screens for configuring the above. On the PLC side it shows the screens and how to configure the PLC: If you follow through with each detail carefully you will be up and running in no time!
  23. Expiration dates, lot codes, and other important texts are on all our consumer products. Federal regulations require that food and medical related items have this important information and that it is easily read by the end customer. Consequently, manufacturers are responsible for making sure these texts are present and accurate. Traditional optical character recognition (OCR) tool sets use a combination of image filters and pattern matching to determine which character is being read. A large set of tool parameters can be adjusted to help decide if what the camera sees is a character or just a mess of like colored pixels. Below you can see how an application using a traditional OCR tool works great when the text is clearly printed and very consistent. What happens when the surface for the printing is uneven (color, texture, reflectivity) or perspective distortion causes the shape and/or proportions of the character to fall outside the nominal range set in the parameters? The toolset struggles to properly segment the characters and is confused as to what some of them are. The badly scratched/smudged ‘R’ is even being found by the OCR tool as two separate characters. Enter Deep Learning OCR tools. ViDiRead from Cognex leverages deep learning algorithms to decipher badly deformed, skewed, and poorly etched codes using OCR. The In-Sight ViDiRead tool works right out of the box thanks to pre-trained font libraries which dramatically reduce development time. Simply define the region of interest (ROI) and set the character size. In situations where new characters are introduced, you simply capture a handful of images, label the unknown character, and click train. Using the same first image from before, we can train the ViDiRead tool and it reads as expected. A closeup of the last two characters shows nicely formed characters that the tool has no issues decoding. Now when we use the image of the damaged label, the ViDiRead tool has absolutely no problem reading the characters. Even though the ‘R’ is poorly printed due to scratching/smudging, ViDiRead does not have any issues reading it. Traditional OCR tools are great in many applications but there are some extra difficult-to-read texts that just do not allow these tools to be used. When all others have failed, ViDiRead will succeed.
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    Did you know you need to be really careful about Cybersecurity in your manufacturing plant? Failing to do so can cause disastrous outcomes. Find out more about Cybersecurity in this video!
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