Layout of a smart camera system
An image processing system consists of a large number of individual components. In order to solve the inspection task, each application stringently requires the harmonisation of the individual parts. By fusing camera technology and the evaluation unit into a smart camera, hardware expenditure is significantly reduced and much easier to handle for end users.
Typical design of an intelligent camera system
- Your test object is illuminated by a light source in order to create good image contrast and highlight the inspection features. The selection of the lighting strongly depends on the test object. Sometimes there is already an integrated lighting.
- Optics image the object on the camera sensor. The lens has to be selected depending on the image sensor size, working distance and size of the test object. Sometimes simple optics are already integrated in the device.
- Image sensor, memory, CPU and DSPs are combined in a common housing. In some devices, even the lighting is integrated. The evaluation is directly performed by image processing software integrated in the flash memory. The PC is only required temporarily for setting up the system.
Advantages are the small overall dimensions of all components as a whole. Because of the fusion of image capture, digitalisation and evaluation into one small module, designing the system is clearly easier for the integrator and user. Usually a quite user-friendly software package is supplied that simplifies the utilisation for many standard applications.
A possible disadvantage is the limited selection of available camera versions with different resolutions. The processing capacity is limited due to the compact form compared to a PC system. If optics and lighting are integral and cannot be replaced by standard components, further functional limitations must be expected. Typically the end user is bound to a particular software package provided by the manufacturer.