MVTec Software GmbH (, a provider of modern machine vision software, and Hilscher Gesellschaft für Systemautomation mbH (, that create PC cards for industrial communication, initiated a technical partnership to enable easier integration of machine vision and process automation. Combining MVTec software products with Hilscher PC cards enables powerful machine vision applications to be integrated easily and seamlessly into any process control system. For example, MVTec’s machine vision software MERLIC can communicate universally with all commercial programmable logic controllers (PLCs). The partnership benefits customers by perfectly bundling two leading and compatible technologies.

Optimised process integration into MVTec MERLIC

As for MVTec, the optimised process integration is largely based on the application programming interface (API) of the cifX PC card family from Hilscher. This API is a standardised interface for all PC cards which are provided by the manufacturer for all common form factors. Users of MVTec MERLIC and MVTec HALCON can choose from among all popular Fieldbus and Real-Time Ethernet industrial protocols, including PROFINET, EtherCAT, and many other standards.

Thanks to Hilscher’s consistent platform strategy, all cifX PC cards use the standardised API as well as the same drivers and tools, regardless of the protocol or card format. The integration of the multiprotocol netX processor enables all Real-Time Ethernet protocols to be realised with just one hardware. To switch from one protocol to another, only the firmware has to be reloaded.

“The combination of MVTec and Hilscher products proves how easy it is to connect the two worlds of machine vision and process automation,” says Christoph Zierl, technical director at MVTec Software GmbH, about the collaborative effort. “We look forward to offering our customers this huge added value and expect to see many more machine vision solutions based on the innovative products from Hilscher and MVTec in the near future.”

“With our cifX PC card technology, we are happy to offer HALCON and MERLIC users an interface between their automation network and machine vision software,” adds Tim Pauls, product manager at Hilscher Gesellschaft für Systemautomation mbH. “The combination of MVTec and Hilscher technology provides users with a unique range of drivers, form factors, and network protocols, along with powerful machine vision software.”