SONY IMX548 now in Alvium CSI-2, USB3, 5GigE cameras

AVT Alvium housed, board-level, and open options

Allied Vision has integrated the IMX548 into the Alvium family with the Alvium C/U/G5-511 camera models, where the prefix designator:

  • C is CSI-2, the Camera Serial Interface, popular for embedded systems
  • U is USB3, the widely available interface between computers and electronic devices
  • G5 is 5GigE, with up to 100 meter cable runs and 5x the throughput of GigE
AVT Alvium housed, board-level, and open options
AVT Alvium cameras are available in housed, board-level, and open versions

SONY’s IMX548 is a member of the 4th generation Pregius sensors, providing global shutter for active pixel CMOS sensors, with low-noise structure yielding high-quality images. See our illustrated blog for an overview of Pregius-S‘ back-illuminated sensor structure and its benefits.

So why the IMX548 in particular? Readers who follow the sensor market closely may note that the IMX547 looks the same in terms of pixel structure and resolution. Correct! SONY found they could adapt the sensor to a smaller and more affordable package, passing those savings along to the camera manufacturer, and in turn to the customer. As 5.1MP resolution is the sweet spot for many applications, Allied Vision picked up on SONY’s cues and integrated the IMX548 into the Alvium family.

There are nuanced timing differences between the IMX547 and IMX548. For new design-ins, this is of no consequence. If you previously used the IMX547, please check with our sales engineers to see if switching to the IMX548 requires any adjustments – or if it’s simply plug-and-play.

As shown in the photo above, Alvium cameras are very compact, and the same sensor and features are offered in housed, board-level, and open configurations. AVT Alvium is one of the most flexible, compact, and capable camera families in the current market.

Concurrent with the release of this new sensor in the Alvium camera family, Allied Vision has also released Alvium Camera Firmware V 11.00, notably adding the following features:

1st Vision’s sales engineers have over 100 years of combined experience to assist in your camera and components selection.  With a large portfolio of lensescablesNIC card and industrial computers, we can provide a full vision solution!

Which Z-Trak 3D camera is best for my application?

So you want to do an in-line measurement, inspection, identification and/or guidance application in automotive, electronics, semiconductor or factory automation. Whether a new application or time for an upgrade, you know that Teledyne DALSA’s Z-Trak 3D Laser Profiler balances high performance while also offering a low total cost of ownership.

Z-Trak 3D Laser Profiler

The first generation Z-Trak product, the LP1, is the cornerstone of the expanded Z-Trak family, now augmented with the Z-Trak2 group, containing both the V-series and the S-series. Each product brings specific value propositions – here we aim to help you navigate among the options.

Respecting the reader’s time, a key distinction between the first gen product vs. Z-Trak2 is:

  • LP1 is the most economical 3D profiler on the market – contact us for pricing.
  • Z-Trak2 is one of the fastest 3D profilers on the market – with speeds to 45kHz.

To guide you effectively to the product best-suited for your application, we’ve prepared the following table, and encourage you to fill in the blanks, either on a printout of the page or via copy-past into a spreadsheet (for your own planning or to share with us as co-planners).

3D application key attributes

Compare your application’s key attributes from above with some of the feature capacities of the three Z-Trak product families below, as a first-pass at determining fit:

Table comparing feature availability by Teledyne DALSA Z-Trak 3D Laser profiler series
Comparing Z-Trak features by series

Unless the fit is obvious – and often it is not – we invite you to send us your application requirements. We we love mapping customer requirements, so please send us your application details in our form on this contact link; or you can send us an email to info@1stvision.com with the feedback from your 3D application’s “Key questions” above.

In addition to the parameter-based approach to choosing the ideal Z-Trak model, we also offer an empirical approach – send in your samples. We have a lab set up to inspect customer samples with two or more candidate configurations. System outputs can then be examined for efficacy relative to your performance requirements, to determine how much is enough – without over-engineering.

1st Vision’s sales engineers have over 100 years of combined experience to assist in your camera and components selection.  With a large portfolio of lensescablesNIC card and industrial computers, we can provide a full vision solution!

Ultraviolet (UV) imaging

While we’re all familiar with imaging in the human visible spectrum, there are also huge opportunities in non-visible portions of the spectrum. Infra-red and its sub-domains NIR, SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR have a range of compelling applications, at wavelengths just-longer than visible, starting at 800nm. Products that take us to the shorter-than-visible wavelengths, where we find UV, aren’t as well known to many. But there are sensors, cameras, lighting, filters, and best-practices for a wide range of applications generating value for many already.

Starting at the lower end of the visible spectrum, from 380nm until about 10nm, we find the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum.

UV spectrum has wavelengths just-shorter than the visible range

Applications areas include but are not limited to:

  • High-speed material sorting (including recyclables)
  • Biological domains:
    • Food inspection
    • Plant monitoring
    • Fluorescence analysis
  • Glass, gemstone, and liquid inspection
  • Semiconductor process monitoring
  • Power line inspection

Consider the following three-part illustration relative to recyclables sorting:

Differentiating between two types of plastic

In a typical recyclables operation, after magnets pick out ferrous materials and shakers bin the plastics together, one must efficiently separate plastics by identifying and picking according to materials composition. In the rightmost image above, we see that the visible spectrum is of little help in distinguishing polystyrene from acrylic resin. But per the middle image above, a pseudo-image computationally mapped into the visible spectrum, the acrylic resin appears black while the polystyrene is light gray. The takeway isn’t for humans to watch the mixed materials, of course, but to enable a machine vision application where a robot can pick out one class of materials from another.

For the particular example above, a camera, lighting, and lensing are tuned to a wavelength of 365nm, as shown in the leftmost illustration. Acrylic resin blocks that wavelength, appearing black in the calculated pseudo-image, while polycarbonate permits some UV light to pass – enough to make it clear it isn’t acrylic resin.

Different materials block or pass different wavelengths, but knowledge of those characteristics, and the imaging “toolkit” of sensors, lighting, filters, etc., are the basis for effective machine vision applications.

Here’s just one more application example:

Electrical infrastructure inspection

Scenario: we want to inspect components that may need replacing because they are showing electric discharge, as opposed to doing costly scheduled replacements on items that still have service life in them. From a ground-based imaging system, we establish the field of view on the component (marked by the purple rectangle). We take a visible image of the component; also a UV image revealing whether discharge is present; then we computationally create a pseudo-image to either log “all good” or trigger a service action for that component.

As mentioned above, biological applications, glass and fluid inspection, and semiconductor processes are also well-suited to UV imaging – it’s beyond the scope of this piece to show every known application area!

In the UV space, we are pleased to represent SVS Vistek cameras. While SVS Vistek specializes in “Beyond the Visible”, in the UV area they offer three distinct cameras. Each features Sony Pregius UV high resolution image sensors with high dynamic range and sensitivity in the 200 – 400 nm range. Maximum frame rates, depending on camera model, range from 87fps – 194fps. Interfaces include GigE and CoaXPress.

Tell us about your intended application – we love to guide customers to the optimal solution.

1st Vision’s sales engineers have over 100 years of combined experience to assist in your camera and components selection.  With a large portfolio of lensescablesNIC card and industrial computers, we can provide a full vision solution!

Illustrations in this blog courtesy of SVS Vistek.

What does XSWIR (eXtended SWIR sensitivity) do for me?

Visible imaging, infrared imaging (IR), short wave IR (SWIR), Extended SWIR (XSWIR) – it’s an alphabet soup of acronyms and their correlating concepts. Let’s briefly review each type of imaging to set the stage for the new kid in town – XSWIR – to better understand what each has to offer.

Visible imaging is the shorthand name for machine vision applications that are in the same portion of the spectral range as human vision, from about 380 – 700 nm. The field of machine vision initially developed largely in the visible space, partly because it’s easiest to conceptualize innovation in a familar space, but also due to the happy coincidence that CCD and CMOS sensors are photosensitive in the same portion of the spectrum as human sight!

Infrared imaging (IR), including near-infrared (NIR), focus on wavelengths in the range above 700 nm. NIR is roughly from 750 nm – 1400 nm. Applications include spectroscopy, hardwood and wood pulp analysis, biomedicine, and more.

Short-wave IR (SWIR) applications have tended to fall in the range 950 nm – 1700 nm. Applications include quality-control of electronics boards, plastic bottle-contents inspection, fruit inspection, and more. The camera sensor is typically based not on Silicon (Si) but rather Indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) , and one typically requires special lensing.

Then there is MWIR (3 – 5 um) and LWIR (9 – 15 um). You can guess what M and L stand for by now. MWIR and LWIR are interesting in their own right, but beyond the scope of this short piece.

We draw your attention to a newish development in SWIR, namely Extended SWIR, or simply XSWIR. Some use the term eSWIR instead – it’s all so new there isn’t a dominant acronym yet as we write this – we’ll persist with XSWIR for purposes of this piece. XSWIR pushes the upper limits of SWIR beyond what earlier SWIR technologies could realize.

As mentioned above, SWIR cameras, lenses, and the systems built on such components tended to concentrate on applications with wavelengths in the range 950 – 1700 nm. XSWIR technologies can now push the right end of the response curve to 1900 nm and even 2200 nm.

Big deal, a few hundred more nanometers of responsivity, who cares? Those doing any of the following may care a lot:

  • Spectral imaging
  • Laser beam profiling
  • Life science research
  • Surveillance
  • Art inspection

A camera taking XSWIR to 1900 nm responsivity is Allied Vision Technologies’ Goldeye G-034 XSWIR 1.9. AVT’s sister camera the Goldeye G-034 XSWIR 2.2 achieves even more responsivity up to 2200 nm.

Allied Vision Goldeye XSWIR camera with lens

The Goldeye family was already known for robust design and ease of use, making SWIR accessible. Of particular note in the new Goldeye XSWIR 1.9 and 2.2 models are:

  • Extended SWIR wavelength detection beyond 1,700 nm
  • Multi-ROI selection to speed up processes, especially useful in spectrometer-based sorting and recycling applications
  • Industrial grade solution for an attractive price

Tell us about your intended application – we love to guide customers to the optimal solution.

1st Vision’s sales engineers have over 100 years of combined experience to assist in your camera and components selection.  With a large portfolio of lensescablesNIC card and industrial computers, we can provide a full vision solution!