Schmersal Group Launches High Precision 3D TOF Camera

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Schmersal- Group
The Team Members at Schmersal Group (Image Courtesy: schmersal.com)

The indispensable role of high-performance optoelectronic sensors in industrial automation cannot be overlooked. They play a crucial part in various processes, from detecting components on conveyor belts to ensuring machine safety. Optoelectronic sensors, including non-contact safety light barriers, light grids, and light curtains, offer advantages that surpass traditional methods involving guard doors in hazardous areas. This modern approach allows operators to maintain a clear view of the process, while manufacturers gain flexibility in workflows with features like muting or blanking, enabling spatial or temporal masking of specific areas in the safeguard system. This shift towards optoelectronics marks a significant departure from electromechanics. Keeping that in mind, Schmersal Group, one of the largest producers and suppliers of switchgears, has come up with AM-T100, a 3D TOF camera, to capture existing status in an extremely precise and speedy process.

The Schmersal Group stands as one of the leading global suppliers, with a comprehensive portfolio of approximately 18,000 diverse switchgears. Renowned for its industry expertise and specialized services, the company extends its offerings to encompass system solutions dedicated to automating and ensuring the safety of machines and industrial plants. With a workforce exceeding 1,800 individuals spread across over 20 countries, the Schmersal Group collaborates daily with customers to bring forth innovative safety solutions. Schmersal Group, in collaboration with its sister company Safety Controls, specializing in optoelectronic protective devices, is positioned as one of the key players in this segment. The company’s range also encompasses sensors for non-safety-related tasks in automated assembly, production, and intralogistics. Notably, the current expansion of the range includes a high-end automation module designed to replace conventional industrial sensors (such as inductive, magnetic, and laser-based sensors) and enable additional functions.

AM-T100-Camera
The AM-T100 3D TOF Camera by the Schmersal Group

A noteworthy addition to this expansion involves the integration of 3D camera technology, which is set to replace traditional industrial sensor systems. The industrial-grade cameras developed by Schmersal provide 3D depth images with millimeter accuracy, facilitating a more detailed understanding of the environment. The AM-T100 camera, born out of a cooperative project with a long-term development partner, is equipped with a Sony DepthSense sensor and utilizes Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology. ToF involves the runtime measurement of emitted light pulses within the infrared range (850 Nm), reflecting off detected objects. This process enables the rapid creation of a 3D image with millimeter accuracy, presented as a point cloud.

Operating at an impressive image frame rate of up to 60 fps, the 3D ToF camera can determine the positions and dimensions of objects in real-time. This capability proves valuable in scenarios such as palletizing boxes, where the camera can accurately ascertain the position and stacking height with a single recording. Additionally, the camera can inspect the fill level within containers or large load carriers, aid in volume determination of general cargo, and offer a bird’s-eye view of staging areas in production, assembly, storage, and order-picking. Enhancing the camera’s performance is its software, allowing users to define and monitor 3D zones within a space in real-time and as a moving image. If an object is detected within the zone, the camera triggers digital outputs, offering a dynamic and responsive system. Digital inputs enable the switching between different 3D zones. The integrated Software Development Kit (SDK) supports software developers and system integrators in configuring and creating applications.

The high-performance algorithms incorporated in the camera pre-filter the data, allowing the AM-T100 to adapt to diverse ambient conditions. Image data captured by the camera are transmitted via GeniCam, making them compatible with common image processing software. The camera’s Ethernet interface enables rapid and extensive data transmission, complemented by a 24 V power supply if required, utilizing Power over Ethernet.

The 3D ToF camera from Schmersal India Pvt Ltd plays a crucial role in integrating a broader spectrum of automation solutions in logistics and line manufacturing. By providing an accurate and prompt recording of the current process status, it lays the groundwork for precise decision-making in subsequent steps of processing, assembly, and handling of products, containers, and packaging units. The camera’s capabilities offer a glimpse into the future of industrial automation, emphasizing precision, speed, and adaptability in diverse operational scenarios.

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