Apart from the classic cameras used for point and shoot photography, there is a wide range of specialized cameras used for varied purposes in business, science, industry, medicine and a wide variety of other purposes.
One such specialized type of camera is the industrial camera.
What is an industrial camera?
Industrial cameras are currently being used in thousands of different industrial fields, for a diverse number of applications. The industrial camera is an indispensable imaging tool for the pharmaceutical, automotive, mining and even for the food sorting business.
The manufacturers specializing in the production of industrial cameras are experts in the proper application and implementation of their professional imaging devices for every kind of industry and business.
An industrial camera is designed to be resilient to vibrations, shocks, and to ambient temperatures. A good camera should be durable, reliable and suitable for use in any industry.
Applications of these tools include non-destructive testing, 3D measurements, robotics, quality control and many others.
The cameras come in different housing and sizes depending on the purpose they will be serving. There are small cameras which can easily fit compact spaces which need to be inspected, as well as very large versions.
The number of options for different orientations, lens mounting, sensors and optical filters also vary.
Industrial cameras are sold with specialized software or with software development kits which can be used with all of the popular operating systems and are compatible with the most commonly used third-party image processing software programs and solutions.
In many cases, images of one object from several different vantage points are required and sometimes 3D models need to be generated from such images. This is when systems of perfectly synchronized systems of high-performance camera systems are used.
The most important features for efficient industrial inspections are productivity and efficiency.
High-quality industrial cameras feature frame rates of 400 frames per second at 4 megapixels which allows for seamless imaging and control and doesn’t hinder the production process by slowing it down or stopping it.
Thanks to the latest technologies being used in industrial cameras such as CMOS, SSD and InGaAs sensors and state-of-the-art interfaces, excellent image resolution is achieved without the speed of the production being slowed down.
The professional industrial cameras provide superb machine vision which is beyond the visible spectrum which means that manufacturers can perform in-depth, detailed and non-destructive testing easily and without wasting time and money.
There are infrared industrial cameras which allow for imaging through silicon items in the semiconductor industry as well as for detecting defects in photovoltaic cells in the solar industry as well as for identifying plastic materials in the recycling industry.
Thermal imaging industrial cameras can monitor the temperatures of the objects which is very useful for the glass or metal industry.
With the advancement of technology, the cameras are becoming even better and more powerful. Today you can find 10 and 25 Gigabit Ethernet cameras with incredible data rates and frame rates.
These modern industrial cameras are used in the military, for certain types of industries, data and telecom communications and others. They provide a superb and speedy performance with no jitter, latency or any CPU utilization problems which the ordinary cameras often have.
CCD VS CMOS
If you are wondering what type of sensor to choose for your industrial camera, here is a short breakdown of the main differences between CCD and CMOS which can help you pick the best option for your needs.
CCD (Charged coupled devices) imaging sensors are suitable for capturing still or moving objects. This type of sensor captures the light and transfers it into digital data which in turn is converted into an image. They were hugely popular for industrial cameras used for inspection and quality control prior to the introduction of CMOS sensors.
CMOS (Complementary metal oxide semiconductor) is the technology behind integrated circuits and a lot of the electrical devices we use today, including microprocessors, smartphone cameras, batteries and digital cameras.
The difference between the two types of sensors is that CCD sensors require special manufacturing which is the more expensive option.
At the same time, CCD sensors are of a much higher quality, more light sensitive and deliver crisp clear images with little or no noise.
CMOS sensors are cheaper to make and are more power efficient than CCD sensors.
CMOS sensors for industrial cameras are more popular due to their cost effectiveness and power efficiency. With the advancement of technology, CMOS image sensors can deliver better images with less noise. CMOS sensors are faster and more power efficient.
Industrial cameras with CCD sensors are slower, but the resulting images are brighter and crisper.
Overall, even though CMOS sensors are relatively new as compared to CCD sensors, CMOS has advanced pretty quickly and has become a preferred choice for industrial cameras.
Industrial cameras can serve a lot of purposes and save a lot of money and time for the manufacturers. It has become an essential tool for control, monitoring, testing and safety in various industries. Today, the wide variety of industrial cameras available can be fitted to suit the needs of any business.