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Researchers at the Technical University of Munich are developing a system to optimise transport processing using Smartek cameras and lighting systems supplied by Framos.

The Forklift Eye project is hoped to improve the efficiency and safety of the material flow process by integrating video cameras in material-handling devices such as those used in forklift trucks.

The use of a GC2441M five-megapixel monochrome camera with a GigE Vision interface on the forklift truck combines many sensor functions in a single sensor technology. A software framework based on established image processing libraries is being developed for this purpose.

In future, this will enable additional sensor functions to be incorporated in the same sensor technology with little expense by means of a pipe-and-filter architecture. In this way, it will be possible to implement new and future sensor functions in the forklift truck through the combination of algorithms from the software libraries and image processing methods developed specifically for this purpose, with minimal hardware integration required.

Requirements for the image processing technology

  • It is important for the camera to be able to precisely distinguish the forks of the truck from the image background.
  • The lifting height should be roughly estimated in order to detect the shelf that a load has been picked up from; also, the forklift truck driver should be able to set a lifting height, which the truck will then autonomously adhere to by means of a camera-based control loop.
  • As well as determining the height, the system under development must be able to continually track the position of the forklift truck using cameras; here, the position is either ascertained from two-dimensional markers or sophisticated algorithms are used to detect the orientation and motion of the forklift truck.
  • To enable the automatic tracking of the material flow, the load must be identified using one- and two-dimensional codes; the challenge here is that the camera must be able to record the codes’ insufficient resolution and contrast over a very wide viewing angle.

Framos Electronics

Framos has been established as an innovative and active partner in the area of industrial image processing for the last 30 years. Together with our comprehensive portfolio of imaging components, such as sensors, companion chips, camera modules, cameras, lightings and accessories, we support our customers with a real variety of development services, ranging from short-term solutions for complex demands up to large-scale, marketable developments of complete systems.

On this basis, we find or develop solutions for the key challenges in image processing, so that our customers can focus on increasing their competitive advantage. Our services are divided into three key areas: Framos Imaging Components, providing image processing components from our partner companies, which include Sony, Aptina, Photonfocus, Smartek, Visiosens, SVS Vistek, Lumenera and Toshiba-Teli; Framos Engineering Services, providing camera manufacturers with services to make the development of cameras simpler, faster and more flexible; and Framos Solutions, providing high-quality, cost-effective solutions for specific applications.

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