Premieres and highlights at VISION 2007
AUGUST 20, 2007--VISION 2007, the international trade fair for machine vision and identification technologies, will be held at the new Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre from 6 to 8 November 2007.
AUGUST 20, 2007--VISION 2007, the international trade fair for machine vision and identification technologies, will be held at the new Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre from 6 to 8 November 2007 with a record number of about 230 exhibitors. In its 20th year, it will occupy a gross exhibition area of approximately 15,000 sq m in Halls 4 and 2 of the Stuttgart International Congress Centre. One-third of the exhibitors will come from European countries and overseas. To date, more than 20 countries will be represented at the trade fair.
"The future of machine vision will be largely determined by digital camera interfaces," predicts Meinrad Simnacher, managing director of Leutron Vision. The modular PicSight camera concept, which Leutron Vision will present with an extended range of image sensors, will enable users to choose between a large number of digital communication interfaces, for example, USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet (GigE), or Camera Link (CL). PicSight cameras featuring Power over Camera Link (PoCL) will also make their debut at VISION 2007.
The CL Committee within the American Automated Imaging Association (AIA) only recently extended the Camera Link standard to include PoCL. In this case the power supply for the camera is no longer provided by a separate cable or power pack, but directly by the MiniCL data cable. Applications in the high-end range are therefore less expensive, since the installation of CL camera solutions becomes much easier, an additional power pack or cable is no longer required, and the cameras can be accommodated with less space.
Leutron Vision is not the only company to have launched the next Camera Link generation. JAI will also exhibit on the stand of the Stemmer Imaging Group with four new digital cameras that integrate PoCL and are equipped with a MiniCL socket. These cameras offer resolution of 1.45 Mpixels (1/2 inch) and a maximum of 31 frames/s, as well as 2 Mpixels (1/1.8 inch) at a maximum of 25 frames/s. "Compared with many other products on the market, the cameras have a frame rate that is almost twice as high without losing any picture quality," says Gunnar Jonson, product marketing director of JAI.
DALSA will show the Falcon 1.4M100, a PoCL-compatible 1.4-Mpixel camera with 100 frames/s on the stand of the Stemmer Imaging Group. This camera combines MiniCL with PoCL. It is therefore compact and can be easily installed. DALSA will also exhibit the first PoCL-compatible frame grabbers in the X64 Xcelera CL Series.
In addition to Camera Link, other digital interfaces such as FireWire and USB have become more widespread. The fast FireWire b version, which is becoming increasingly attractive, permits data speeds up to 800 Mbits/s. MaxxVision will, for example, present cameras in the Sony XCD Series with a FireWire b interface.
However, VISION 2007 will focus even more on the highly promising Gigabit Ethernet Vision Standard (GigE) with the first products. MaxxVision will show a series of GigE cameras: G-Cam with 16 models. In the middle- to high-data-speed range, GigE holds the promise of economic solutions because Ethernet already exists in many industrial systems, and it also makes cable lengths up to 100 m possible.
There are signs that GigE is fast gaining market acceptance. This is borne out by the large number of VISION 2007 exhibitors who have jumped on the GigE bandwagon. "Our GigE Vision-based scout cameras are now used on a wide scale in industrial applications and have proved their worth, especially in complex systems with more than 10 simultaneously deployed cameras," said Anke Wübbelmann, market communications manager of Basler Vision Components. Series production of the GigE pioneer models has already started. pioneer uses the GenIcam Standard and the parameters defined according to the EMVA 1288 Standard for picture quality.
Basler will present two innovations: the 5-Mpixel two-dimensional camera in the pioneer series and a 90° housing version from the scout series. SVS-VISTEK is also GigE-oriented and will exhibit the svs625, a 5-Mpixel CCD camera. "Frame grabbers are no longer required with the svs625, and transmission distances of up to 100 m are no problem," said Ulf Weisser, managing director of SVS-VISTEK.
According to IDS Imaging, the new flagship of the uEye Camera Series is its model series with a GigE interface, which will make its international debut at VISION 2007. Two processor cores inside the camera guarantee high performance. However, IDS uses its own transport protocol during data transmission "since many features, for example, multicamera applications or update options, according to our 'It's so easy philosophy,' cannot be properly implemented with the GigE Vision Standard", asserted Thomas Schmidgall, marketing manager of IDS Imaging.
GigE is also not stopping at high speed. For example, Optronis will present the CamRecord 5000, a mobile high-speed camera with 512 x 512 pixels and a refresh rate of 5000 images/s. If required, the picture data can be read out via a GigE interface from the built-in image memory. JAI will exhibit the CV-M9 GE, its 3CCD progressive scan color camera with a GigE interface.
Cameras that not only see light visible to the human eye but are also sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) radiation or the infrared spectrum are very much in vogue. For example, VDS Vosskühler will present the CCD-4000UV camera for UV wavelengths up to 200 nm. This camera is interesting for research institutes or the semiconductor industry. The camera has a resolution of 2048 x 2048 pixels, which are output at 7.5 frames/s with 12 bits or, as an alternative, with 15 frames/s at 8 bits. In addition to RS644 and Camera Link, GigE is available as a digital interface.
According to Olaf Munkel, a member of the executive committee of the Machine Vision Group in the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), "sales of machine-vision components are growing rapidly." The latest survey by the VDMA in the German machine-vision industry revealed that sales of vision sensors in 2006 rose by 157% compared with the previous year. Although, according to the survey, sales of smart cameras (+19%) featured for the first time in the increases in traditional machine-vision cameras (29%), experts believe that the versatile smart camera is one of the machine-vision solutions with the most promising future as an intelligent stand-alone system in which the sensor and analysis electronics are directly integrated in the machine in a compact housing.
"We will present the first newly developed intelligent stereo camera. Two separate sensors will simultaneously take two pictures," said Michael Engel, managing director of Vision Components (VC). VC has newly developed robust data-matrix reading software for 2-D codes, as well.
When it comes to image sensors, two technologies primarily compete against one another: CCD (charge-coupled device) versus CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor). Although it is occasionally mentioned that CMOS may sometime replace CCD, the proven CCD technology continually comes up with some advances. For example, Hamamatsu will present a camera series for time-delay-integration (TDI) applications with back-thinned CCD sensors. These cameras offer 100 times more sensitivity than conventional CCD technology. The TDI method is especially suitable for recording fast moving objects, for example, for semiconductor inspection or flow cytometry. TDI-CCD technology from Hamamatsu boasts the advantages of extremely high sensitivity, a fast reading speed, and high quantum efficiency in a broad spectral range from less than 200 nm to more than 1100 nm.
At the stand of kappa opto-electronics, the company will present technologies that deal with desired and unwanted image manipulation. These technologies include DRE technology, color management and, in particular, the signature process for image authentification.
According to the latest VDMA survey of the machine-vision industry in 2006, software sales also increased by 30% compared with 2005. Software suppliers such as MVTec are constantly expanding their tool libraries and are improving user-friendliness. MVTec will, for example, present HALCON 8.0 at VISION 2007. "HALCON users can really look forward to the new Version 8.0." said Lutz Kreutzer, pr & marketing manager of MVTec, "since complex machine vision is now even faster and also easier to program. In addition to the more than 100 new operators, the speed of the entire existing software library for typical applications has been increased by an average of 25% and even by up to 500% with some individual operators."
Stemmer Imaging has also upgraded its Common Vision Blox 9.0.2 software package, for example, through a separately developed GigE Vision driver. In addition to a socket connection, this driver contains a highly efficient filter driver that transmits camera data directly to the application.
Users of CVB 9.0.2 also benefit from the GenICam Standard, which permits software-based adjustment of certain camera features. Special grid control facilitates easy access to all individual camera options in the user's own application without the need for complex development tasks in one of the supported programming languages. "GenICam integration of Common Vision Blox is not connected to GigE Vision technology. CVB will also support other GenICam-compatible recording technologies as soon as they are available on the market," said Peter Stiefenhöfer, head of marketing at Stemmer Imaging.
For more information on VISION 2007, go to www.messe-stuttgart.de.