Specialist for Industrial Cameras

Application-specific Industrial Cameras for Little Money

In many cases the perfect application-specific camera is not found directly on the market. But this isn’t the end of a good product idea at all. Stettbacher Signal Processing AG shows how the ideal camera is developed and how it fuses with the electronics and mechanics of the device that, at best, are already existing.

In the past years, Stettbacher Signal Processing AG has made a name for itself as a supplier of compact industrial cameras that among other things are outstandingly suitable for embedded applications. This has to do with the fact that Stettbacher has disclosed all interface specifications of the product line O-3000 from the very beginning and also delivers open-source drivers. This way, the cameras can be used freely on any hardware and in any software. Accordingly, the products have a very broad and positive echo in the industry.

Picture 1: Camera (60 x 25 mm) with Line Sensor.

Stettbacher Signal Processing AG also develops application-specific cameras. In the following example a low-power line camera (Picture 1) for the one-dimensional recording of surface structures in a battery powered hand device is shown. A fitting CCD camera chip is from Sony. On a length of about 35 mm it has more than 7000 pixels. But the CCD signals still require a lot of signal processing until a digital line picture is formed. At first, the picture sensor delivers four parallel analog output data streams that, with the help of special timing and multiple sampling (Correlated Double Sampling, 70 MS/s, 16 Bit), must be quantized and made offset-free. This way, four parallel serial bit streams are created that in the current case are translated by a high-speed bridge into QSPI format. The bridge was realized in a FPGA, which does the preprocessing of the picture data at the same time. The size of the camera is around 60 x 25 x 12 mm and is optimized for the installation into the already existing casing. Mini connectors ensure a direct and wireless connection to the device’s electronics (Picture 2). In addition to this, a special macro lens was made, as well as a LED array for the lighting of the affected surfaces.

Picture 2: CAD Display of the Camera.

The resulting camera can be produced inexpensively. It exactly meets the demands regarding the quality of the pictures and the power consumption, as well as the dimension, installation and connections. With the camera off the shelf, the overall device would not have been feasible in the required compact form.

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