Machine vision cameras and their market are rapidly evolving because of developments in sensor technology and interface standards, according to a new machine vision camera study from AIA. Although manufacturing accounts for the lion's share of the market, it's the desire to capture new markets beyond the factory that are driving key technical developments, notes the report's author, Paul Kellett, director of market analysis at AIA.
The global machine vision camera market was worth about $612 million in 2011, with close to half a million cameras selling for an average of more than $1,200 each. The majority (about 88%) of the machine vision cameras sold are for manufacturing, and OEMs make up the largest customer group.
From a technology standpoint, it's 2D area-scan cameras that make up the bulk of the market. Other important technologies include line-scan, 3D and thermal imaging cameras.
Technology is rapidly evolving, with faster, higher-resolution cameras entering the picture. This trend brings with it several technological developments, including the need for higher bandwidths, increasing digitalization of interfaces, and increasing use of CCD over CMOS technologies. Although the use of color cameras is on the rise, they still remain the exception rather than the rule, Kellett notes. Monochrome cameras accounted for more than 78% of the units sold in 2011, and more than 84% of the sales revenue.
The digitalization of machine vision cameras continues to the point where only about 20% of the units sold in 2011 were analog. This is a considerable change from 2005, when analog cameras accounted for 65% of the units sold. GigE Vision and FireWire dominate the interface scene these days, with about one-third of the market each. GigE Vision has particularly seen its share of market increase during the study period, rising from just 0.3% in 2005 to more than 30% in 2011.
"In response to the need for new market opportunities involving new applications, the market will continue to evolve technologically with a more complex array of products with widely varying capabilities and features available at a multitude of different price points," Kellett says.
Radient eV-CXP CoaXPress frame grabber provides four independent CXP links via BNC connectors for simultaneous capture from four cameras running at different CXP speeds. For high data rates, it has a PCIe 2.0 x8 host interface—with a peak transfer rate of up to 4 GBps—with up to 4 GB SDRAM for onboard buffering. The device is supported by the Matrox Imaging Library (MIL) toolkit on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 and Linux.
In-Sight 7000 smart camera in a compact, industrial IP67 package uses Cognex vision tool library and In-Sight measurement, location and inspection vision tools, for speeds to 100 image captures per second. The system powers three input and three output connections, and has built-in Ethernet, RS-232 serial and multiple discrete I/Os.
IV vision sensor combines some functionality of machine vision and traditional sensors. Standard equipment includes high-intensity illumination, high-performance lenses, and eight sensors. The camera selection includes close-, medium- and long-range models. Navigator setup software can be used with any PC.
EOS-1200 Gigabit PoE embedded vision system has Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, providing four independent Power over Ethernet (PoE) ports with data transfer rates to 4.0 Gbps. It supports IEEE 1588 precise time protocol, enabling synchronization with multi-camera acquisition.
Karbon-CXP frame grabber supports the CoaXPress (CXP) standard for speeds to 6 Gbps, and commands and triggers at 20 Mbps over a 75 Ω coaxial cable up to 135 m. Up to 13 W of power can be transmitted to the camera along the cable.
BOA Pro smart camera includes company’s Sherlock inspection software, and applications are configured through a web browser via a standard Ethernet interface. During development, images from the camera are fed directly to the Sherlock GUI, and commands from the program are executed directly on the camera. A secondary interface is available through a standard web browser for device setup, runtime monitoring, and firmware updating.
Entry-level MX20 vision processor supports simple machine vision applications with up to two unique camera inspections. It is equipped with an Intel dual-core processor and two independent PoE camera ports capable at up to 100 m from the processor to the camera. It supports up to two 2.0 megapixel area-scan cameras. Impact Version 10.5 software supports the processor.
Compact FQ2 vision sensor with built-in EtherNet/IP has Shape Search II function for 360° part rotation, focusing on outline information for high-speed production operations. Built-in high dynamic range (HDR) function controls optical effects and improves image accuracy. It combines the camera and a true-color CMOS image processing engine in a single unit with built-in smart lens and lighting or C-mount lens versions.
Omron Automation and Safety
BIS510 Vision Sensor provides simple monitoring of the correct sheet sequence in collating, folding and binding machines. The sensor includes a camera, illumination LEDs, and an evaluation unit with digital input and output signals, as well as a network interface. It has integrated error image memory, and provides image and barcode recognition at up to 10 pages/s, with a maximum sheet speed of 4 m/s.
Datasensor SVS vision sensors have a frame rate of 60 fps (60 images/sec), Ethernet communication, a teach button, 640x480 pixel resolution and nine inspection tools, including pattern match, positioning verification, edge count, contrast comparison, 360° pattern match, contour match, width comparison, brightness check and character verification. The smart vision sensors are available in two product lines. SVS1 models provide setup via handheld configurator, and SVS2 models can be connected to a PC and offer multiple controls.
AM-201GE (monochrome) and AB-201GE (color) GigE vision cameras are built around Kodak KAI-02150 quad-tap sensor, providing 1920x1080 resolution at 38.3 fps for 8-bit monochrome or raw Bayer color output. AB-201GE can perform in-camera color interpolation to provide YUV 4:2:2 packed color output at 26.6 fps, or 24-bit RGB output (8 bits per color) at 17.7 fps; 10- and 12-bit output is also selectable.
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iVu series TG image sensor has the simplicity of a photoelectric sensor and the intelligence of a vision sensor. With three sensor types in one package and integrated or external lighting, users can select either the traditional iVu image sensor with the integrated touchscreen or a remote iVu image sensor, which uses the remote touchscreen display. One display can be hot-swapped between multiple remote sensors.
SBOC-Q/SBOI-Q vision system has an embedded PLC via CoDeSys. The camera, with integrated CANopen master, drives motion and I/O devices as a self-contained system. Communication is via Ethernet. Integrated into the system are the imaging sensor system, a complete electronic evaluation unit and interfaces.
Sharpshooter ID vision sensor reads a range of linear barcodes and 2D Data Matrix codes, along with optical character verification (OCV). With higher-resolution algorithms for code reading at 640x480-pixel resolution, the reader is ECC200-compliant and also includes an Ethernet and serial communication port as well as pass/fail I/O.
NI 1483 Camera Link adapter module combined with an NI FlexRIO FPGA board puts vision and control algorithms directly on FPGAs to process and analyze an image in real time with little to no CPU intervention. The module supports base-configuration, medium-configuration and full-configuration Camera Link devices, as well as 80-bit 10-tap configurations, all to 85 MHz. I/O options include four TTL I/O lines, two opto-isolated inputs, and one quadrature encoder input.
VC nano camera series is based on a board populated on both sides to reduce dimensions to 40x65 or 80x45x20 mm. Models are available with remote camera head and IP68 enclosure, including lenses and lighting.
Protection PSENvip camera-based mobile protection system monitors press brakes. Installed on the upper die, the system detects any foreign body in the protected field between the transmitter and receiver. The visible light beams are transmitted to the receiver via a telecentric lens (vision parallel). It is insensitive to reflections and external/diffused light, as well as vibration and temperature stratification.
Pilz Automation Safety
Opal Series 1–8 Mpixel CCD cameras are compliant with the CoaXPress digital interface specification that allows transmission of high-speed data from a camera to a frame grabber at up to 6.25 Gbps over a single coax cable. For communication from host to device, a 20 Mbps uplink allows for control and configuration data. Power is provided over the cable at 24 V, up to 13 W per cable.
SemiCheck sensor with ChipControl command set for the semiconductor industry includes complete evaluation software, lens and lighting. The processor handles cycle times below 100 ms. Integrated interface provides a direct coupling to the machine via 24 V interface.
uEye UI-5490HE GigE camera has optional 90° angled housing for flexibility in tight spaces. It’s capable of 10 Mpixel images composed of 3840x2784 pixels with 1.67 µm square pixels at 8 fps. Image data from Aptina ½ in. CMOS sensor is output with up to 12-bit depth per channel. An internal FPGA has 64 MB image memory. Features include binning and area of interest, which allow 37 fps at 1920x1080 resolution.
PCIe x4 frame grabber supports Basler’s A406k/kc Camera Link camera at its full bandwidth. It reaches a transfer rate of 837 MBps in a 10-tap, full-configuration mode at the camera’s full 2320x1726-pixel resolution and repetition rate of 209 fps. Data is transmitted via a direct memory access (DMA) channel into the host RAM, so additional processing for image reconstruction is not necessary.
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Condor 1000 MS5 for image capture of visible and near-infrared bands combines five sensors on a spectral separation prism to cover the red, green and blue bands; two additional sensors cover the near-infrared range. It supports frame rates to 150 fps, maximum bandwidth of 210 MBps and hosts Camera Link, GigE and optical fiber interfaces. The sensors can be individually controlled. It supports five 32-bit processors, five multi-pixel coprocessors, and onboard processing for high volumes of data.
allPixa color line scan camera increases line frequency to 96 kHz, with maximum transfer rates of 450 MBps. Trilinear CCD color line scan sensors with a pixel size of 10 µm enable image capturing with 1024-, 2048-, 4096- and 7300-pixel resolutions. The resolution of the A/D conversion is 14 bit, and the camera has a flexible programmable, digital I/O interface for LVDS, LVTTL, RS-422 signals, alongside trigger input and output.