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Types of vision systems

There are many kinds of vision systems on the market, including smart cameras, compact vision systems and PC based systems.

Considering all the requirements including performance, accuracy, scalability, communication interfaces and user interfaces, and taking financial and technical efforts into consideration, the perfect solution can be chosen from our comprehensive and carefully selected product range.

Smart cameras and sensors

Smart cameras are an elegant solution that combines the sensor, processor and I/O in a compact housing, often no bigger than a standard industrial camera. These products offer an intuitive user interface that can be understood easily with training. For configuration of the inspection task a separate computer (i.e. a laptop) is required that will be connected to the smart camera via a network interface, however, during runtime no connection to this computer is necessary.

Accessories such as expanded I/O, display units or extended interface modules are also available. Of course it is possible to use multiple smart cameras in one application to solve more complex tasks, but as the major advantage of smart cameras is the compact, highly integrated design and the easy communication of results, the main focus of using these products should be on applications where all results can be extracted from the camera image with minimum computing effort and communicated to the system directly. You may also hear the term smart sensor. These are very similar to smart cameras, but include the optics and illumination in a pre-calibrated unit and often have less features.

Compact vision systems

Compact vision systems are based on embedded processing technology and combine the processor, industrial communication interfaces and support for multiple cameras in a robust, compact industrial housing. These systems offer optimised heat dissipation and enable the use of fast processors at maximum performance, allowing the simultaneous operation of multiple cameras. Compact vision systems generally include an inbuilt graphical user interface that can be operated directly with a touch screen monitor or mouse and keyboard. Live images and results can be displayed on a monitor connected directly to the system.

A solution based on PC systems offers the highest degree of flexibility, however, care has to be taken to choose the appropriate operating system and selected components. Modern cameras produce high data rates and demanding software solutions require immense computing power. Due to the extreme loads it is essential that absolute compatibility is achieved to ensure a successful solution. Sourcing all the components separately increases risk and can take significant time.

STEMMER IMAGING is uniquely positioned with our advanced integration service, where we ensure that all the components are configured together, tested and validated, giving the customer the low risk advantage of a compact vision system combined with the flexibility and processing power of a PC based system.

Bespoke PC based vision systems can be configured from our vast range of vision components. Our range of PC systems platforms can be found in the vision computers chapter. For standard applications compact systems or intelligent cameras are often the better choice, due to reduced complexity, lower cost and proven compatibility.

PC based vision systems

Where the application requirements go beyond a compact vision system in terms of processing power, number and types of cameras, or where dedicated FPGA processors are required, vision systems are often based on an industrial PC either in a 19" rack or a compact panel mounted unit. The open bus architecture enables assembly of bespoke systems and fitting of additional interface cards. As far as user software is concerned a wide choice of easy to use graphical user interfaces are available along with programming libraries for development of bespoke applications.