Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

Cameras for Advanced Imaging: Low on Cost — High on Performance


By Stacey Meacham

The response to the intense and increasingly diverse needs of the imaging market has been a wide array of cameras that excel in low-light, tight-spaces and high-traffic situations. They offer precision, power and flexibility, all at a low cost.

"Machine vision systems tell an operator yes or no, good or bad, perfect or flawed," said Wendy Telford, Marketing Manager for Fastec Imaging Corp. (San Diego, Calif). "Non-acceptable items are channeled to a reject area. This saves valuable time on the manufacturing floor. But at some point managers need to know what caused the jam or the flaw and what adjustments can be made. Many machine vision systems now work in conjunction with high-speed cameras to give manufacturers just such information. High-speed cameras are triggered to save images when signaled by the vision system when a flaw appears. Engineers can view the instant replay to pinpoint the cause of the error. Adding high-speed cameras to an existing vision system is like having an extra pair of eyes on the production floor.

As industry evolves, vision must change with it, says Eva Tischendorf, marketing specialist for Basler (Ahrensburg, Germany). "The challenge in machine vision systems is to continuously improve the cameras — we need to make them faster for higher throughput, more sensitive for better images, easier to handle, and more cost-effective," she said. "Big changes in the camera market always come when very innovative sensors are designed or when a new interface technology [such as Gigabit Ethernet] comes up."

The ONYX-1000The ONYX-1000 is the first CCD camera offering an unprecedented combination of Adimec's (Eindhoven, the Netherlands) superior image quality with the flexibility and cost effectiveness of GigE. The ONYX-1000 is one of the first in a series of cameras to utilize state-of-the-art sensors which offer greater spatial resolution at high speeds. This advanced sensor technology combined with optimized embedded video processing provides excellent linearity over the full dynamic range. The ONYX 1000 will allow high-end OEM systems to use the scalability and flexibility of GigE without losing performance in image quality. The ONYX-1000m optimizes a 1/2" CCD area array sensor with 1024x1024, 5.5um square pixels. This camera can deliver up to 60 full frame images per second with unparalleled image quality and high signal to noise ratio. The ONYX-1000 cameras have a built-in frame memory that decouples the asynchronous image acquisition and image readout. The GigE interface allows for easy integration and flexibility within your system. As with all of Adimec's products, the ONYX-1000 cameras are 100% factory tested on all specifications to guarantee fast, accurate, reliable, and reproducible image capturing for OEMs. The ONYX-1000m addition will allow manufacturers to lower their system costs while gaining performance advantages and without sacrificing image quality.


The StingrayThe Stingray from Allied Vision Technologies (Newburyport, Mass.) was designed modularly to adapt quickly, simply, and economically to almost any application. After the introduction of the standard versions, the Modular Concept variants are now also available, offering over 2,500 possible combinations. Machine vision system developers can put together the desired camera from six different modules "a la carte": IEEE 1394b daisy-chain interface (2x copper or 1x copper+1x GOF), six high-quality sensors (VGA to 2 Megapixel), five optical filters, five lens heads (straight and angled), C- and CS-Mount, as well as three different housings (AVT red, medical white and board level). With its first firmware upgrade, the Stingray gains a set of new smart features, which in practice make many applications more functional and user-friendly. For example, with the pulse width modulation, the Stingray can modulate the pulse width of the output signal on the I/O port. The OnePush AutoGain and AutoShutter help easily calibrate the camera while the 4x to 8x binning increases light sensitivity.

Andor Technology plc (Andor), (Belfast, Northern Ireland)announced the launch of their new iKon-M X-ray camera. This extension to the established 'iKon' family of low light imaging cameras is designed to deliver high-performance solutions to direct detection X-ray needs, and is available in two variants: DO and DY. The DO variant interfaces easily with vacuum chambers, whereas the DY variant is a 'stand-alone' camera with a beryllium input window.The new camera offers very low read noise floor, high QE across the X-ray, XUV and EUV energy ranges, and boasts negligible dark current with thermoelectric cooling to as low as -90°C, ideal for maximizing signal to noise for low photon flux applications. Readout speeds of up to 2.5 MHz enable faster frame rate imaging of dynamic processes.


ICX445 CCD sensorBasler Vision Technologies (Germany) is expanding its successful scout series with four new camera models based on Sony's brand-new ICX445 CCD sensor. These cameras feature a 32 frames per second image capture rate with the high image quality demanded by industrial applications, ranging from factory automation to semiconductor and electronics manufacturing. The Basler scout camera models feature a compact 29 mm x 44 mm x 73.7 mm housing (standard housing or 90° angled head option). They come with either a GigE Vision compliant Gigabit Ethernet interface or a FireWire-b interface. The cameras are available in monochrome or color. With a GigE Vision compliant Gigabit Ethernet interface, they can perform 12 bit image data transfer and color output at the full speed of 32 frames per second. With a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels the cameras deliver 1.2 megapixels resolution and perfectly complement the existing range of Basler scout cameras. They offer double speed compared to other cameras in this megapixel range which makes them a perfect fit for all factory floor applications.


Titanium OrionCedip Infrared Systems (France,Croissy-Beaubourg, 77) has announced the new Titanium Orion - an infrared multispectral imaging system capable of producing IR sub-band images at video rate within the SW-MWIR or LWIR regions.The Titanium Orion uses the latest state-of-the-art focal plane array (FPA) detector technology along with large dynamic range, real-time electronics to deliver leadingedge results from applications including IR signature analysis, gas detection, flame analysis, environmentalstudies and target / background characterisation.The FPA detector is capable of capturing up to 200 high quality images per second in snap-shot mode. The camera integration time is software variable and can be different for each filter. Using a continuously rotating filter wheel, synchronised with the FPA detector, the Titanium Orioncaptures a single snap-shot image for each filter position enabling true multispectral imaging. The Titanium Orion can also be used as a standard IR camera by stopping or removing the filter wheel.Further to acquisition, image data is processed in real time by the onboard ALTAIR software that operates under the Windows 2000/XP environment. In addition to providing live image display and comprehensive image processing, ALTAIR includes a suite of powerful, yet easy to use software modules for camera calibration, emissivity compensation and trigger configuration.


In-Sight Micro vision systemMake it small. Make it smart. Make it easy. That's what Cognex (Natick, Mass.) has achieved with the next-generation In-Sight Micro vision system. In-Sight Micro packs a complete vision system into a remarkably small package that measures just 30mm x 30mm x 60mm. Together with the new, intuitive EasyBuilderTM configuration software, and smart VisionViewTM operator interface display, In-Sight Micro will forever change the way people think about and use vision. The In-Sight Micro is a full vision system the size of a remote-head camera, ideal for mounting in very tight spaces on robots, production lines and machinery. In addition to small size, the In-Sight Micro provides flexible mounting capability with a unique non-linear calibration tool that enables mounting at angles of up to 45-degrees for hard-to-reach applications. Five new In-Sight Micro models cover a range of price, performance, and resolution levels, including a two-megapixel model. In-Sight Micro includes the proven Cognex vision tool library to handle the broadest range of vision applications for the widest array of industries.The new EasyBuilder configuration software makes In-Sight Micro remarkably easy to set up and deploy. With a simple point and click approach, EasyBuilder walks users through the process of setting up a vision application, step by step. EasyBuilder eliminates the need for programming, yet provides the flexibility to customize complex applications when needed. The unique VisionView 700 operator interface panel makes it easier than ever to monitor production processes without a PC. Once connected, VisionView automatically detects any Cognex vision system on the network and simultaneously displays information from up to nine vision systems in a tiled view.


The Genie C1410 and Genie M1410 camerasDALSA Corporation (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) recently announced two new models of its GenieTM GigE Vision-compliant camera family. The Genie C1410 and Genie M1410 cameras feature a new high quality, high sensitivity sensor and are specifically designed for industrial imaging applications in the semiconductor, robotics and traffic control industries. The Genie 1410 features a two-thirds inch CCD sensor from SONY (ICX285) and is available in colour (C1410) and monochrome (M1410) versions running at 22 frames per second (FPS). Additional features include: global electronic shutter with exposure control, on-board flat-field correction, and on-board color conversion to produce crisp and clear images. The GigE Vision camera acts as a single machine vision component - integrating both advanced camera and board image acquisition technologies in one small package. Like all Genie cameras, the C1410 and M1410 are certified GigE Vision compliant, and are based on the AIA (Automated Imaging Association) GigE Vision Standard to directly link the camera to a PC. The new Genie cameras are supported by DALSA's SaperaTM Essential software and its Genie Framework package for fast and simple camera set-up - from initial set-up to grabbing images in minutes.


InLine network-ready high-speed digital camera systemFastec Imaging Corporation (San Diego, Calif.) has announced that their new InLine network-ready high-speed digital camera system is now available for delivery. The InLine camera system is designed for high-speed event capture and analysis in production and packaging environments. Using advanced software and triggering techniques, the InLine system captures line stoppages and automatically downloads the images, via gigabit Ethernet, to a pre-selected computer on the network for analysis. InLine cameras continually monitor operator-selectable areas of the production line. When a failure is sensed, InLine instantly stops recording and automatically downloads the images to a computer, where they are saved in an .avi file format. When the download is complete, the InLine system automatically resets itself into record-ready mode, awaiting the next failure.The InLine system is designed for manufacturing, maintenance and service operations. It allows engineers and technicians to see, measure and understand high-speed processes that happen too fast to see with the unaided eye. InLine helps companies improve operational efficiency and save money by reducing downtime and waste, increasing production capacity and improving product quality. InLine cameras also operate in conjunction with machine vision inspection systems. Machine vision systems are very efficient at inspecting and rejecting non-standard items on a high-speed production or packaging line, but they don't reveal what caused the failure or poor quality in the first place.When the machine vision systems senses and rejects a bad item, the InLine camera is triggered to automatically download the images to a pre-selected computer on the network. Analysis of the high-speed images will show the line operator what caused the reject and appropriate adjustments can be made to the production line. The InLine camera features several mounting options and easily fits into tight spaces on production lines. Using the automatic download and reset feature operators can capture thousands of images and review them anywhere on the network to analyze and reduce jams. Multiple InLine cameras can be controlled via gigabit Ethernet and can be triggered with optional analysis software.


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