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Understanding Smart Cameras in Vision Systems

Until recently, PC-based vision systems had the preponderance of market share for many different applications. However, things are changing fast: The rapid evolution of imaging technology has given rise to a slew of new applications, many of which are bringing greater efficiency to industries that had little use for machine vision before.

With the market becoming so diverse, smart cameras are meeting fresh needs. Smart cameras are compact, affordable, and provide the same broad functionality delivered by PC-based systems. In many cases, they are far superior to conventional devices. That being the case, it’s a good idea for all machine vision professionals to know when a smart camera is preferable.

Smart Cameras Pack Machine Vision Power into a Smaller Space

A smart camera is a machine that integrates lenses, image sensors, processing capabilities, and physical interfaces into a handy purpose-built package. Smart cameras are more cost-effective than PC systems and incorporate all the necessary software and connectivity.

Smart cameras can be sophisticated, multi-purpose imaging devices or can serve a single purpose. These focused devices are sometimes called smart sensors to differentiate them from the more versatile systems. For example, some smart sensors are devoted fully to barcode scanning.

What are the key advantages of a smart camera?

Lower Cost

In many industries, cost is a major factor. Using smart cameras can help save money in limited budgets. By introducing smart cameras into the workplace, teams have the opportunity to prove ROI and decide whether other imaging devices would be appropriate.

Faster Time to Deployment

PC-based systems typically require expertise to implement and operate. With the right smart camera, the learning curve tends to be much lower. Combined with cost-effectiveness, it may be possible to deploy multiple smart cameras very quickly, which is helpful in time-sensitive projects.

Highly Interoperable

Although vision system technologies are moving toward international standardization, there’s still a long road ahead before this is a reality. Because all major components in a smart camera are highly integrated, users encounter fewer compatibility issues.

Greater Longevity

Even with lower cost, equipment durability is highly desirable. PC-based systems tend to be behind the times within a relatively short time and may require repair or replacement. Smart cameras tend to use durable parts and infrastructure designed specifically for a long functional life.

No Need for Coding

The operational environments of many vision systems create a culture where in-depth technical knowledge is required to get the most performance from a device – including heavy-duty coding to bring out its best features. Not so for smart cameras: The expected functionality is easily accessed.

Machine vision and imaging pros shouldn't overlook smart cameras for their needs: These devices can fill many niches efficiently and effectively.

 

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