How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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Market analysts predict the overall LED market will reach $11.4 billion by 2012. Machine vision lighting is a major portion of this market. Life span, durability and cost must all be considered when choosing lighting for a machine vision system.
Each month new advances in LEDs are published stating higher brightness, multicolored chips, additional drivers, and better efficiencies. The main drivers of the LED advancements are from the commercial market for signs, video displays and general lighting. "As a manufacturer of LED lights for machine vision, this becomes a full-time job to evaluate and test performance of the LED technology for the machine vision market, which has very different requirements than the commercial market," said Jon Chouinard, Lighting Business Development Manager, Siemens Energy & Automation (Norcross, Ga.). "Many of the aspects of keeping a production line up and running need to come into play and design for life, heat, vibration and cost....One of the big challenges in these advancements is addressing the thermal dynamics of the LEDs as more brightness means more heat due to power consumption. This, along with the need to implement controls into light heads, creates a big challenge in the packaging of LED heads that allow the maximum intensity to be realized from a light head. The more heat in a package design equates to the inability to drive the LED harder to produce more light. It is very much a give-and-take in this regard of optimizing intensity and heat dissipation within a package for an optimum design."
Chouinard says that smaller, brighter and more economical packages will become available over time, but again the user must understand the challenges in LED lighting to make the right decisions. Cost should not always be the only consideration. Take into account the overall value built into a light head, which allows for uptime of a production line, increased longevity and designs tolerant to heat and vibration. The cost of a downed machine is much more than the added cost savings of the low-cost LED solution.
In addition to its complete line of products for microscope automation, ASI (Eugene, Ore.) introduces its newest illumination-control device. The SC-2000 is a two-channel shutter controller. The shutter can be activated from a front panel switch, from TTL signals, from foot switches, or via RS-232 serial computer control. In addition to a simple on/off control, the controller also can be configured to provide a programmable fixed shutter exposure time. When used with shutters equipped with sync sensors, front panel indicators illuminate when the shutters are open and rear panel outputs are available for synchronizing with shutter positions. www.ASIimaging.com
CoolLED (England,UK), manufacturer of precisExcite, now offers the same high-intensity LED technology in sub-assemblies for incorporation within OEM systems. Using active-cooling, CoolLED achieves greater intensity and stability of the LED illumination. A wide range of LED wavelengths are available from 350nm to IR. CoolLED builds the LED system from bare semiconductor die to meet a specific operational performance. This overcomes the limitations of using commercially available packaged LED parts.With experience in LED technology and opto-mechanical assemblies, CoolLED can provide an interface package with optical performance and interfaces for control and power to meet the needs of products requiring extended automated operation with low operator input and low running costs. http://www.coolled.com/precisExcite