New 2D and 3D Machine Vision Integration Systems Support Industry 4.0 Goals

July 12, 2020 by Sara McCaslin

Machine vision can be challenging and costly to implement in a manufacturing environment, but SICK AppSpace is aiming to change that.

The updated SICK AppSpace, coming out at the end of the year, promises to make machine vision far easier to implement for manufacturers. Industry 4.0 goals are supported by the SICK AppSpace.  


SICK AppSpace being used in application. Image courtesy of SICK Sensors.


From sorting small items in a contained workspace based on their color to autonomous robot guidance on a busy manufacturing floor, there are countless ways that machine vision is used in manufacturing. One of the key players in Industry 4.0 and automation is SICK, and they recently announced a major update to their existing SICK AppSpace that will make the fast, flexible, and functional integration of machine vision far more feasible.


SICK Sensors 

SICK is a leader in developing the sensor technology needed to support logistics, factory, and process automation technology. Included in their vast array of sensor product offerings are solutions for industrial machine vision.


SICK AppSpace being used in application. Image courtesy of SICK Sensors.


Many machine vision solutions are ready-to-use and already configured for common applications such as color inspection and sorting, 3D belt picks up, pallet pocket detection, and label checkers. However, their product line also includes sensors related to LiDAR, RFID, dust measuring devices, and fiber optics.


SICK AppSpace

According to SICK, SICK AppSpace is “an eco-system in which you develop individualized SensorApps for your sensors either alone or together with SICK experts.” There are five key systems within the SICK AppSpace:


  • SensorApps, which combine intelligent software tools and proprietary algorithms so users can get the most out of their SICK Sensors.
  • SICK AppStudio, which is a development environment for creating SensorApps.
  • SICK AppManager, which is used to manage and install SensorApps.
  • SICK AppPool, the platform for the centralized and safe exchange of existing SensorApps.
  • Sensor Integration Machines, which serve as the data interface between the sensors and the SensorApp.


One of the most interesting features of the SICK AppSpace lies in its ease of use. Custom solutions can be developed by SICK’s experts or ready-to-use solutions can be easily configured by the customer without needing a programming or sensor expert. 

Note that the App Space allows existing solutions from SICK to be adapted and optimized for a customer’s needs, but also supports the development of new solutions using SICK technology.  The sensory Apps are flexible and provide users with more freedom. 

In addition, it allows users to implement and integrate many different types of technology, including robot guidance systems, LiDAR, and now 2D and 3D machine vision. Sensor Apps can also be reused on multiple devices, which makes deployment of new systems much more efficient.


SICK AppSpace being used in an application with a cobot from Universal Robots. Image courtesy of SICK Sensors.


The SICK AppSpace helps manufacturers move into Industry 4.0 through its easy to use interface that enables solutions to be implemented via simple edge computing without requiring extensive programming skills.


SICK AppSpace + Machine Vision

One area where SICK excels is machine vision to support manufacturing processes, such as color inspection and sorting, 2D belt pick, and dolly positioning. Far too often, complications and issues arise during the implementation of machine vision systems that cause serious delays that can quickly increase costs. And traditionally machine vision integration requires the help of a machine vision specialist in order to have a reliable, effective result.

When SICK 2D or 3D machine vision solutions are combined with the upcoming capabilities of the SICK AppSpace, it can be easier to leverage machine vision for applications such as automation applications including positioning, robot guidance, and quality control. The need for extensive programming skills is also eliminated through predefined function blocks and intuitive data flow. The upgraded version of AppSpace that will support machine vision will be released at the end of the year.

The increased capabilities of SICK AppSpace allow the addition of both 2D and 3D machine vision systems to become more easily integrated and less costly.