MERLIC is an all-in-one software product for quickly building machine vision applications without programming. It is based on MVTec’s extensive machine vision expertise and combines reliable, fast performance with ease of use.
With the release of MERLIC 4, MVTec addresses one of the market’s strongest demands: parallelisation, PLC integration, and 3D vision.
Highlights of MERLIC 4:
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.
Process integration with real-time Ethernet and fieldbus systems and recipes
Moreover, MERLIC 4 provides optimised 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 optimised 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 optimised. 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 customised translations of standard texts in the front end for all languages.
Tools & Features:
Image-centered user interface
The very clear and reduced interface presents a large view on the processed image in the centre of the program. The tool library on the left side provides many standard vision tools such as acquisition, calibration, alignment, measuring, counting, checking, reading, position determination, and defect detection. It can also be extended with customised tools. Each tool has its own graphical representation in the workspace, which allows you to see and review every step of your vision application when scrolling the workspace. The image-centered design allows you to configure the application directly via the image without the need to write source code or to adjust lots of parameters.
An outstanding, innovative, and unique feature in MERLIC is the easyTouch concept. It helps to guide the user interactively towards the solution. For example, simply hover the mouse pointer over an image and easyTouch recognises and marks objects to be identified.
You can choose relevant objects with just a single click. Thus, you don’t have to configure complex parameters. In addition, some tools support easyTouch+ where you can select multiple objects (by holding the ctrl-key) to configure parameters even better for your purpose. easyTouch saves you a lot of time during development.
Check out this video showing the use of easyTouch with MERLIC
Machine vision application without programming
While most common machine vision programs require extensive programming knowledge, MERLIC was created to build a machine vision application without programming a single line of code. So instead of coding line by line, you can simply step through your application and rely on the many standard machine vision tools. The vision tools in the MERLIC “MVApp” are connected automatically. Alternatively, you can simply reconnect them by drag & drop.
Watch this video to find out just how easy it is to create an application with MERLIC.
Integrated tool library
MERLIC’s integrated tool library not only contains a wide range of tools for the most common vision processing tasks, but can also be expanded by adding customised tools. To facilitate the ease of use, all included tools are named after the task they are meant to execute. Several ‘Evaluation’ tools support you with a variety of evaluation processes. For example, they perform calculations or evaluate a feature of a specific region. Having set up the application, MERLIC offers a wide range of ‘Communication’ tools, which enable you to send and receive data or alternatively read and write to files. Last but not least, the existing tool library can be extended flexibly with customised, user-defined tools to suit any additional needs. These tools can be developed in MVTec HALCON’s integrated development environment HDevelop.
MERLIC’s Designer lets you create a customised operator interface in just a few steps. Interactively design a frontend for your application: choose between various widgets and simply place them by drag-and-drop. MERLIC’s Designer automatically links the widgets to parameters of MERLIC tools. The parameter values can then be used either for visualisation or to enable the operator to interactively configure parameters in the frontend. Properties of widgets can be adjusted easily with just a few clicks. You may even customise the frontend, for example, by integrating any background image or company logo.
Take a look at this video of MERLIC’s Designer. It shows how to build a customised frontend to check fuses based on a simple MERLIC application.
MERLIC realises a highly user-friendly and efficient workflow. Consequently, the support for multiple languages is a key feature. Therefore, MERLIC is available in the following languages: simplified and traditional Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, and Thai.
Imagine this: Not only the graphical user interface (GUI) is translated, but even the entire standard documentation is available in these languages.
MERLIC goes beyond mere imaging and facilitates access to all elements of the machine vision peripherals as well as a seamless PLC connection. The software supports the entire process of developing an application, from acquiring and processing images to the programmable control (PLC) of the machine. As a stand-alone software package, MERLIC therefore offers full integration, including digital I/O and the OPC UA standard.
Application training in the frontend
With a special widget, MERLIC allows you to train your machine vision application directly in the frontend. You can now teach the system new sample parts or regions of interest (ROIs) with just a few clicks. Additionally, the display of the ROIs can be adapted (e.g., its colour) to increase the user-friendliness.
MERLIC secures your know-how: you can protect the content of MERLIC applications (MVApps) with a password. The password protection can be enabled for each MVApp in the MERLIC Backend (note: it is not enabled by default). Thus, when loading the MVApp in the MERLIC Backend the password must be entered in order to change the MVApp.
Using the password protection can be useful if you want to pass on a MERLIC MVApp to customers who should not be able to change the application. Furthermore, this is important to protect your MVApps against non-authorised access from third parties to secure your intellectual property of the application.
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 prioritised 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 optimised 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.