Some of the more critical aspects for the diffusion of vision systems in assembly plants are the skill required for the system set-up, the definition of algorithms and the programming phase. In this paper a new methodology is proposed to reduce the implementation time and cost by means of a computer-aided system working off-line. The designed system named CAVIS (Computer Aided Visual Inspection System) integrates several modules as product and algorithm databases, expert system for decision support, CAD modeller to generate synthetic images and software design. Some of the modules are still at a development stage. The output are the vision devices configuration and the inspection software. CAVIS has been tested on an industrial application for error detection in assembly: a new general-purpose algorithm for visual inspection is presented and results are discussed. The main features of the algorithm are suitable with the described approach: easy programming, unnecessary vision operator's experience, and off-line preliminary estimation of parameters.
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