New MERLIC Features
MERLIC 4 was released on February 15, 2019. With this release, we are adressing the strongest demands of the machine vision market: parallelization, PLC integration, and 3D vision.
One highlight of the new version is the parallel processing and execution of different tools. This simplifies the implementation of multi-camera setups and allows for a more efficient use of the system's computing power. Different machine vision tasks can now be performed in one single instance.
3D vision tools
The software also offers 3D vision tools based on height images. This enables users, for example, to read embossed text, check heights, and perform other 3D machine vision tasks. For this, four new tools are included that make it possible to prepare images from 3D sensors or 3D cameras so that inspections can be subsequently carried out using MERLIC’s existing 2D tools.
Check out this article in our Developers' Corner to find out more about how to prepare 3D height images for further processing using some of these tools.
Process integration with real-time Ethernet and fieldbus systems and recipes
Moreover, MERLIC 4 provides optimized process integration via Hilscher cifX cards of all current form factors. The software can thus communicate with common fieldbus and real-time Ethernet industrial protocols, such as EtherCAT, PROFINET, and many others, via Hilscher PC cards. This makes it possible to seamlessly integrate machine vision systems running MERLIC with a programmable logic controller (PLC).
Besides, MERLIC now supports “recipes” which allow for the rapid reconfiguration of different machine vision tasks.
Improved usability with optimized tool flow
MERLIC 4 provides users with an even clearer and more intuitive user interface with a completely redesigned tool flow. Thanks to the tool flow it is possible to easily arrange and connect tools and logic elements using known principles like drag&drop, copy&paste, and multiselection. Automatisms to connect tools have been optimized. Branches between the strands (Branch on Condition) are now displayed more clearly. Using "Triggers", the user has an additional possibility to control the program flow logically.
A quick search for tools has been implemented, allowing for better usability. For camera parameters a quick search is available now, simplifying the setup of camera settings greatly.
Moreover, MERLIC 4 allows customized translations of standard texts in the front end for all languages.
Changes as compared to MERLIC 3
MERLIC is developed in a customer-centric and agile manner. MVTec has focused on the strengths of the software and prioritized value-adding features for the customer. Thus, some features were strongly improved or newly added. By this, the creation of machine vision applications becomes even simpler, more efficient, and more user-friendly. The range of functions has also been streamlined with regards to obsolete technologies and thereby optimized for users developing real world solutions. Some of the features thus not transfered to MERLIC 4 might be published again in improved form in a future version.
For example, the tools "Communicate via OPC UA" and "Communicate via Digital I/O" are no longer included.
Furthermore, the MERLIC engine is no longer included in the new release.
In addition, the interface for Custom Tools has been changed: Customers who want to create a new custom tool or make an existing tool available in MERLIC 4 should contact the usual support channels to have the respective HALCON procedure converted into a MERLIC tool. Training and easyTouch are not supported anymore with Custom Tools.
Moreover, MVApps created and password encrypted in MERLIC 3 cannot be loaded in MERLIC 4, as MERLIC 4 uses a different, more secure encryption. To still open the MVApps, the encryption must first be removed in the old version.
Additionally, with the new release, it is no longer necessary to unlock MERLIC trial versions with an activation ticket online. This allows easier and faster testing of MERLIC 4.
Like MERLIC 3, MERLIC 4 is available in three editions: Standard, Advanced and Professional edition. Remote/Multiple Frontends are now available as an additional module of the MERLIC Standard Edition.