Vision accelerators are an emerging solution to the increased processing demands in complex quality control applications based on 3D scanning and inspection. With a vision accelerator, the engineer now has a new approach to achieving higher performance, with little or no effort, when the built-in processing from smart sensors are unable to keep up.
This blog outlines five main reasons why accelerators are the right choice compared to relying on industrial PCs for dedicated 3D processing.
1. Smaller form factor, more energy-efficient
A smart vision accelerator, such as GoMax®, comes in a compact industrial package with DIN rail mounting, consumes only 15W of power, and delivers over 1 TOPS (1 Trillion Tera Operations Per Second) of computing performance. One or more GoMax® units can easily be used to build a solution to demanding inspection applications—without the need for multiple keyboard/monitor hookups, or the complexity of developing an application that works across several industrial PCs.
2. Dedicated processing engine for deterministic inline performance
The GoMax® smart vision accelerator is designed around a distributed, peer-to-peer networking concept that shares the data processing load between a Gocator® sensor and a dedicated multi-GPU processor (see NVIDIA Jetson TX2). When the vision accelerator connects with a smart sensor, the sensor is put into an accelerated mode where pre-processed, semi-compressed 3D scan data is sent over Gigabit Ethernet for final processing. This minimizes network bandwidth and drives faster cycles times by leveraging multi-GPU cores to do the heavy 3D point cloud assembly and measurement.
Problems arise when engineers place the demands of 3D processing on an industrial PC that is running the main inspection application (i.e., user interface, visualization, reporting, and communication to other network devices). In this case, the performance of the application can be compromised. Trying to accelerate inspection in this way may use up too much of an industrial PCs resources and can bring the entire system down as a result.
3. Handles continuous 3D data feeds over Ethernet
With dedicated, multi-core data processing, a smart vision accelerator can handle continuous 3D data feeds over Ethernet. In contrast, the demands on managing a continuous Gigabit data stream from a single or multi-sensor connection may jeopardize the performance of the main inspection application running on an industrial PC, by consuming too much CPU or memory resources.
4. Automatically recovers from inspection errors
A smart vision accelerator is able to automatically recover from inspection errors and system failures using a built-in watchdog. IPCs run generic OSs like Microsoft Windows, where there is no watchdog to detect a hung application and subsequently recover.
5. Can be easily reflashed to upgrade both OS and application
Finally, a smart accelerator is designed for easy upgrade or customization through a single firmware download that reflashes both the operating system and the inspection application. IPCs are not designed to upgrade OS or application components with over-the-wire methods like GoMax®.
Check out GoMax® and learn more about our vision accelerator for 3D inspection optimization here. You can also download our smart vision acceleration factsheet for more details on the technology behind this innovative device.