The most important element to any vision system is the ability to produce a good image over time. Without a clear, unobstructed picture of the feature to be inspected, any system is doomed to fail. One of the easiest ways to ensure this condition stays constant is to perform regular preventive maintenance on your cameras and especially of the lenses.
lightly dust the lens glass once per week. For systems performing inspections in dirty or harsh environments (weld cells, cutting applications, etc.) that frequency should be increased accordingly. It's important when cleaning lenses to use the proper tools and techniques. Improper cleaning agents can damage surface quality and coatings, resulting in degraded performance. When dusting, a soft cloth or microfiber is recommended. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow particles and dust away. For dirtier lens, a glass cleaning solution can be sprayed into a cloth or directly on the hardware then wiped away. Cotton swabs are useful for the tough crevices. Be careful while cleaning as not to bump or disrupt any of the lens settings.
No matter what your system is inspecting, keeping the lens clean is an important step in maintaining a good, consistent image over time. Investing in a cleaning kit and sticking to a long-term plan will pay dividends saving both time and money. Implement this routine today and your future self (or boss) will surely thank you later!