Machine vision, the technology that enables machines to see and understand their surroundings, relies on various components to capture, process, and analyze images. Among these components, lighting plays a critical role. The color of the light used in machine vision is a key factor in ensuring high-quality and accurate imaging. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of machine vision lighting colors and discuss the specific colors that are used in particular applications to optimize image acquisition.

Why are Different Colors used in Machine Vision Lighting?

In machine vision, lighting serves as the source of illumination for cameras and other imaging devices along with other techniques like polarization. The color of the light used can significantly impact the quality of the images captured and the effectiveness of the overall system. Here are some key reasons why machine vision lighting colors are of paramount importance:

Contrast Enhancement:

Different colors of light can enhance the contrast between objects and their backgrounds, making it easier for machine vision systems to detect and identify features, defects, or anomalies in the images.

Material Differentiation:

Materials reflect and absorb light differently based on their properties. By using specific lighting colors, machine vision systems can differentiate between materials, aiding in quality control and inspection processes.

Defect Detection:

Machine vision systems often need to identify defects or irregularities on surfaces. The choice of lighting color can influence how clearly these defects are revealed in images.

Reducing Glare and Reflections:

Certain colors of light are better at minimizing glare and reflections, which can be a significant challenge in various applications, such as surface inspection and automotive manufacturing.


Different applications require tailored lighting solutions and different types of cameras used in vision systems. Machine vision lighting colors can be customized to match specific application requirements, ensuring optimal performance.

Now, let’s delve into specific machine vision lighting colors and their applications:

White Light

White light is a versatile choice in machine vision applications. It contains a broad spectrum of colors and can be further customized by adjusting the color temperature. White light is often used in applications where a general and evenly distributed illumination is required. Some common applications include:

1. General Inspection:

White light is suitable for general inspection tasks where no specific color enhancement or material differentiation is needed. It provides a neutral background for capturing images.

2. Barcode Reading:

When reading barcodes, white light is used to illuminate the code for cameras to capture the pattern. It ensures the barcode is well-contrasted against the background.

3. Packaging Inspection:

In packaging lines, white light is employed to inspect labels, packaging materials, and product contents. It offers good overall illumination to detect defects and ensure product quality.

Red Light

Red light is often used in machine vision for its unique properties, particularly its ability to minimize reflections and glare. Red light is absorbed by many materials, making it suitable for applications where surface reflection needs to be controlled. Applications for red light in machine vision include:

1. Surface Inspection:

Red light is effective in reducing reflections when inspecting shiny or reflective surfaces, such as metal, glass, or plastic. This ensures that defects or imperfections are clearly visible.

2. Textile and Fabric Inspection:

In the textile industry, red light is used to enhance the visibility of fabric patterns and defects, ensuring the quality of textile products.

3. Food Inspection:

Red light is employed for inspecting food products to detect contaminants, such as foreign objects or discolorations, without altering the appearance of the food.

Green Light

Green light is another color frequently used in machine vision applications. It offers good contrast for certain materials and surfaces and is often chosen for applications like:

1. Electronic Component Inspection:

In electronics manufacturing, green light is utilized for solder joint inspection, PCB inspection, and component placement verification. It provides good contrast for soldering defects

2. Pharmaceutical Inspection:

Green light can be used in pharmaceutical applications to inspect pill coatings, print quality on tablets, and vial filling processes. It highlights subtle imperfections effectively.

3. Agricultural Inspection:

In the agricultural sector, green light is employed for the inspection of fruits and vegetables. It helps identify defects, bruises, and ripeness levels while preserving the natural appearance of the produce.

Blue Light

Blue light has unique characteristics that make it suitable for certain machine vision applications, especially those that involve fluorescence and specialized inspection needs. Applications for blue light include:

1. Fluorescence Inspection:

Blue light is used in conjunction with fluorescent dyes or markers to identify specific features or substances, such as DNA, biological samples, and chemicals.

2. Forensic Analysis:

In forensic science, blue light is used to reveal hidden details and substances at crime scenes, making it easier to capture evidence.

3. Dental and Medical Imaging:

Blue light is employed in dental and medical imaging to enhance contrast and reveal details in tissues, bones, and dental materials.

Infrared Light

Infrared (IR) light is beyond the visible spectrum, and its use in machine vision is particularly beneficial for applications that require imaging in low-light or no-light conditions. Infrared lighting is employed in various applications, including:

1. Night Vision:

In military and surveillance applications, infrared lighting is used for night vision, enabling cameras to capture images in complete darkness.

2. Agricultural Monitoring:

In precision agriculture, infrared light is utilized to analyze plant health, moisture content, and disease outbreaks. It can reveal information that is not visible in visible light.

3. Security and Surveillance:

IR lighting is essential for security cameras, allowing them to monitor and capture footage in low-light environments.

Ultraviolet Light

Ultraviolet (UV) light is used for machine vision applications that require the detection of fluorescent materials or the identification of features not visible in visible light. UV lighting applications include:

1. Fluorescent Inspection:

UV lighting is employed to detect and inspect fluorescent materials in various industries, such as quality control in the semiconductor and automotive sectors.

2. Document Verification:

In the banking and document verification industry, UV light is used to detect security features on banknotes and official documents.

3. Art and Historical Conservation:

UV light helps conservators identify aging, restoration, and hidden details in artworks, manuscripts, and historical artifacts.

RGB Lighting

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) lighting involves using multiple colors simultaneously to achieve specific lighting effects and enhance image contrast. Applications of RGB lighting include:

1. Color Inspection:

RGB lighting is essential in applications where color recognition and inspection are critical, such as in the food industry to ensure product consistency and quality.

2. Pattern Recognition:

RGB lighting is used to detect patterns, codes, and markings on products, packaging, and materials, facilitating their identification and sorting.

3. Object Segmentation:

In robotics and automation, RGB lighting is used to segment objects based on color, allowing robots to handle and sort items accurately.


Machine vision lighting colors are not chosen arbitrarily but are carefully selected to meet the specific requirements of diverse applications. The choice of lighting color can significantly influence the quality and accuracy of imaging, making it a critical factor in the success of machine vision systems.

As technology continues to advance, machine vision lighting solutions are becoming increasingly sophisticated and customizable, contact Sciotex to learn more about Vision Systems solutions to fit your application.