Sensors, cameras and systems integration

Industrial camera selection is made more challenging because of the diversity of cameras and their performance characteristics. Thus, proper selection is critical for anyone designing a machine vision system.

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Industrial camera selection is made more challenging because of the diversity of cameras and their performance characteristics. Thus, proper selection is critical for anyone designing a machine vision system. To help, Vision Systems Design this month includes our thirteenth annual Worldwide Industrial Camera Directory that presents a listing of more than 100 camera vendors, their products and specifications. Based on this information, we hope that you will be better be able to distinguish different performance specifications and the numerous interfaces available such as Gigabit Ethernet, Camera Link, CoaXPress, and USB that they employ.

While knowledge of the many camera types and specifications is important, so too is an understanding of the status quo of the industrial camera market and how will it develop. So, as part our multimedia Solutions in Vision series that started in September this year, Vision Systems Design has teamed with Framos to conduct a survey of camera manufacturers and systems integrators.

The study, which you will find on page 11 of this issue, provides insights into future technical developments, the different types of sensor technologies employed, the number of cameras being developed and the applications in which they are being deployed. In this way, we hope to show what systems developers worldwide are demanding from camera vendors in terms of price, performance, resolution, frame rates and user interfaces.

In recent years, developments in CCD and CMOS imagers have led to a burgeoning introduction of low-light low-level cameras that are now finding use many scientific, security, medical and military imaging applications. Capturing images at very low-light levels can be accomplished in a number of different ways using CCD and CMOS imaging detectors that must exhibit high quantum efficiency (QE), low readout noise and dark current as well as a wide dynamic range, allowing them to image scenes over a range of illumination conditions.

Today, a number of different detector technologies exist with which to build low-light level cameras as you will discover (see "Disparate detectors enable low-light level cameras," page 15). As well as examining the detector technologies used, the article also looks at some of the cameras into which they have been incorporated.

It is, of course, impossible to cover all the developments in sensor and camera technologies that have occurred over the past year. However, we hope that these articles will do much to illuminate some of the more important aspects of such developments.

Andy Wilson, Editor in Chief
andyw@pennwell.com
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