Machine vision systems specialist, Cognex, has introduced PatFlex, the latest member of the company’s PatMax family of geometric pattern finding technologies.

PatFlex is a software tool that enables a vision system to locate an object, feature, or pattern whose perspective has changed or whose surface is curved, warped, wrinkled or stretched. By finding and then correcting for these types of distortions, the company says it enables the range of Cognex vision tools to be applied.

“PatFlex takes geometric pattern matching to a new level with unsurpassed resilience to severe perspective changes and spatial distortions,” says Justin Testa, senior vice-president of marketing for Cognex.

“Greater perspective tolerance provides machine design flexibility, allowing cameras to be mounted at an angle to the work piece. PatFlex extends the family of PatMax technology to a whole new set of applications and eases the part fixturing and system set-up burden for our customers.”

The company says PatFlex addresses a variety of applications that were previously impossible or required complex multi-step vision operations.

“For example, PatFlex enables the optical verification of characters marked on curved surfaces, where perspective and bow distortions are said to be common.

“It tolerates skew and aspect compression of the mark, as well as distortions caused by vibrations in the marking operation. In addition, the software enables the location and inspection of decorative labels on cylindrical surfaces such as cans and bottles, and accounts for surface irregularities that can occur in packaging operations utilising flexible shrink-wrap films.”

PatFlex is also suitable for applications where the object changes shape during production, such as in packaging operations employing non-rigid containers like pouches and bags.