Normally an industrial camera transmits the image to a PC for evaluation. A large number of different alternative interfaces and protocols serve as image transmission interfaces. They are explained in particular in the chapter "Interfaces"Interfaces".
Image transmission interfaces
- Gigabit Ethernet
- USB 2.0 (partially obsolete, please use USB 3.x in future)
- FireWire (partially obsolete)
- LVDS (obsolete)
Intelligent camera systems already evaluate the image in the camera unit. For set-up, as a feedback for the user and for error correction recording, these intelligent camera sensors can transmit the image by means of a USB or Ethernet interface. The image transmission, however, is only of minor priority, the evaluation has often already been completed before the image is transmitted.
Further communication interfaces
- Digital inputs: they are mainly used for camera triggering, in case of a line scan camera line trigger signals are used in addition to an image trigger.
- Digital outputs: Digital outputs: they serve to directly activate the illumination which is synchronous to the image acquisition or to put out a good / bad signal for a fast part rejection in the system, etc.
- Serial interface: in industrial cameras it is primarily used for the parameterisation (setting the exposure time, gain, etc.), intelligent cameras primarily use it for data communication with a PLC, etc.
- FastEthernet interface: : in many cases, intelligent cameras are programmed and parameterised via the Ethernet interface. In subsequent system operation, measured data and test results are sent to a PC, robot controller or PLC by means of the TCP/IP protocol, test programmes are selected and possibly even triggered. This interface also serves to send images to a PC system as "pseudo live image" in order to be visualised or recorded there. Additional protocols like EthernetIP, ProfiNet and Modbus TCP or special proprietary robot protocols can be put on this interface which can even be operated with the TCP/IP protocol at the same time. Compared to the serial interface a much higher data rate is possible, but also multiple communication.
- LED indicators: signal LEDs on the camera housing indicate the operating status to the user (boot process, ready, busy, etc.), provide information on triggering or data transmission. In some cases, these signal indicators can be freely programmed like a physical output of the camera in order to communicate certain information.