How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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By Gary Drossel
Many advanced imaging products, whether they are in commercial, industrial, medical, military, or even consumer electronics, must have the versatility to operate perfectly in a variety of demanding 24/7 applications. Advanced imaging products also must be highly reliable, meeting the needs of both mobile and enterprise users while offering a number of “rugged” characteristics ranging from U.S. Military Standards (MIL-STD-810F) for extreme environments to requiring protective cases and housings for all components. The incentive for integrating more rugged standards results in longer product lifecycles, reduced failure rates, lower support costs, increased productivity, and ultimately, a lower total cost of ownership.
So, it is understood that the variety of components, boards and systems that go into an advanced imaging piece of equipment also must provide the same level of ruggedness for harsh environments. Often overlooked, the storage option selected can make a huge impact on how reliably an imaging system performs. Offering a solution that is inherently rugged is solid state storage technology, which is finding a home in more and more of these applications.
REDEFINING RUGGED: A LOOK AT USAGE MODELS
Previously deployed in high-end mission-critical applications, advanced imaging products in medical applications, for example, now are proliferating due to an increasing and aging global population. Baby boomers have come to rely on the latest medical imaging technology, such as MRIs and CT scans that have propelled imaging products to represent a major portion of overall healthcare spending.
As manufacturing economies drive costs down in other markets, imaging products for remote instrument control and scientific visualization photography, food service, manufacturing and law enforcement are surging. From home surveillance systems to sophisticated retinal scan technology, advances in imaging products are important to our daily lives.
With wide adoption and market expansion, OEMs and manufacturers found they needed to redefine “harsh or rugged” environments. These environments no longer just refer to tough environmental conditions like extreme temperature, or high-risk areas with extreme levels of physical shock and vibration. Harsh and rugged now include “benign” climate-controlled data centers, factory assembly lines, medical centers and laboratories where the required 24/7 “always-on” write-intensive usage models subject system components to wear out and ultimately fail. It, therefore, becomes a fundamental design requirement to match the integrated systems to this kind of demanding working environment.