Scanning for Ideas: Trouble on the Line? Get Out the High-Speed Video

Feb. 7, 2008
When something goes wrong with a piece of moving equipment, the first step in the troubleshooting process does not usually involve a high-speed camera that records equipment in action, then lets a technician play it back at superslow speed to spot what’s going wrong.

Edited by Stephen J. Mraz

That’s because high-speed photography traditionally called for expensive equipment, top-notch lighting, and an expert to walk you through the process. That could all change with the StreamView-LR, a portable high-speed video recorder from Southern Vision Systems Inc., Madison, Ala. ( They want to make high-speed video the first resort, not the last resort in troubleshooting.

The battery-powered device is reportedly simple to use with few controls. Users just point and shoot. It sends video at up to 976 frames/sec to a laptop or PC, which can be viewed later at slower rates. Storing 10 sec of video takes 1 Gbyte of RAM. A 2.4-Tbyte memory holds 10 hr of video. For long recordings, users can mark frames or events for later playback or analysis. The camera records in 8-bit mono or 24-bit color, and resolution ranges from 640 480 pixels at 200 fps to 640 64 at 969 fps. The 0.6-lb camera mounts on a tripod or is handheld.

Troubleshooting with the camera often leads to process improvements as well as solutions to problems. For example, a company that used the camera to analyze a robotic cell that was going haywire as its working speed was increased found several im- Trouble on the line? Get out the high-speed video provements it could make. They adjusted the loader and reduced jams. Then, reducing the wait time between product drop-off and pick-up increased throughput, as did removing 0.5 unneeded sec during a bending cycle. They also slightly tweaked a cabler so that it ejected parts more consistently.

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