Multi-point camera systems

Centralised image processing

Multi-point vision systems (also known as compact vision systems) provide the flexibility, integration, and ruggedness required for many machine vision applications. They consist of a compact unit that contains high speed processors and high speed memory resources in a rugged enclosure. Multiple cameras can be attached while the unit itself can be readily integrated into factory environments alongside other automation controllers.

The multiple camera inputs allow the inspection of different views of the same part, or even different parts, simultaneously. This integrated functionality provides a cost-effective and less complex solution than comparable smart camera implementations. Multi-point vision systems are available with Gigabit Ethernet, CameraLink and USB3 data interfaces. This allows a choice based on the required image data transfer rate from the camera to the central unit for processing, the maximum possible distance between the cameras and the control unit without repeaters as well as cost.

Compact vision system (Courtesy Stemmer Imaging)

Compact vision system (Courtesy Stemmer Imaging)

Gigabit Ethernet ports on the controller may be internally connected through independent data lanes to alleviate the bandwidth bottlenecks often associated with multi-camera acquisition. CameraLink systems include appropriate built-in frame grabbers. Different levels of embedded vision software can be supplied with these systems, providing the flexibility to tackle a host of machine vision applications. The number of cameras that can be used simultaneously will depend on the specification of the system, but for GigE Vision versions, larger camera network configurations can be accommodated using external switches.

Complete integration

Multi-point vision systems can be equipped with a number of interfaces for system integration. These can include dedicated display and USB ports for setup and runtime control, Gigabit Ethernet and serial ports for factory communication, dedicated trigger inputs for inspection timing, dedicated strobe outputs for lighting control and optoisolated I/O for associated equipment interfacing.

Choice of cameras

With a choice of data interfaces there is a huge range of cameras available for use in multi-point vision systems, including line scan cameras. Cameras with different resolutions and sensor sizes can be mixed and matched as required for the specific application, and of course other factors such as size, weight and cost will also be taken into consideration.


UKIVA members can offer further advice Embedded Vision Technology.