Cognex Develops 380 Modular Vision Tunnel for Enhanced Barcode Reading

April 14, 2024 by Shawn Dietrich

Cognex has designed a modular vision tunnel that utilizes the DataMan 380 barcode reader. The new solution aims to deliver high throughput and traceability in scanning applications.

Now more than ever, packages are being shipped and received worldwide, creating a need for highly efficient logistic operations. Barcodes are used extensively in logistics to store destination, package weight, or other shipping information. As packages travel down conveyor belts, the location of the barcode may sometimes be in different locations or even the same side of the box. 

Cognex, an industry leader in machine vision systems and barcode reading devices, has announced the release of a vision tunnel that utilizes the features of the DataMan 380 barcode reader to optimize logistic operations.


Cognex has added the new 380 Modular Vision Tunnel to its offerings

Cognex has added the new 380 Modular Vision Tunnel to its offerings. Image used courtesy of Cognex


DataMan 380 Barcode Reader

Conveyor speed, sensor hysteresis, barcode placement, and the PLC's scan time can result in the barcode being in different locations within a barcode reader’s field of view (FOV). For these reasons, it is best to give readers as much of a FOV as possible. 

The Cognex 380 Modular Vision Tunnel utilizes Cognex’s DataMan 380 fixed-mount barcode reader, which offers the widest FOV of all Cognex barcode readers. This large FOV gives companies a greater chance of catching the barcode in front of the reader, meaning fewer readers are required to cover the same area.


Cognex’s modular vision tunnel utilizes the DataMan 380 Barcode Reader for efficient scanning

Cognex’s 380 Modular Vision Tunnel utilizes the DataMan 380 fixed-mount barcode reader for efficient scanning. Image used courtesy of Cognex


Data-driven Barcode Reading

Similar to most equipment built today, data collection and reporting play a large part in an equipment's overall function. The Cognex 380 Modular Vision Tunnel is no exception. The tunnel is supported by Cognex's Edge Intelligence Tunnel Manager, a software package that offers insights into performance and vendor compliance.

The tunnel manager software uses cloud-based technology to display real-time data from each reader in the system. Users can then analyze the data or use the built-in dashboards to view OEE, failed images, and configuration changes right on the front page. All the data is securely stored on the Edge Intelligence hardware, with the option to send the data to other industrial systems or cloud systems.


Flexible Tunnel Design

Being flexible in logistics isn't an option—it's a requirement. The vision tunnel offers four configurations: a single reader mounted above, three readers mounted above with one on each side, five readers, and a six-sided system. With these four configuration options, the tunnel can accommodate barcodes at different angles. The tunnel frame is adjustable to fit around virtually any conveyor system. An additional option is to add vision tools capable of dimensioning the object within the FOV.


The 380 modular vision tunnel brings greater throughput and traceability to logistics, retail, baggage handling, and other applications

The 380 Modular Vision Tunnel brings greater throughput and traceability to logistics, retail, baggage handling, and other scanning applications. Image used courtesy of Cognex


Throughput and Traceability

Cognex’s 380 Modular Vision Tunnel is designed for greater throughput and traceability in a number of applications in logistics, as well as retail, e-commerce, and baggage handling. Very few people might think of how luggage gets from the check-in gate to their plane without getting lost. This process comes down to tracking and barcodes. 

When baggage is checked in at the airport, it is fixed with a barcode. That barcode contains a destination, and systems like Cognex’s vision tunnels scan the barcode and direct conveyors or pushers to ensure the luggage reaches the correct destination. Without these tunnel systems, it would be difficult for automation equipment to read handwritten destinations.