Euresys demonstrate how machine vision camera suppliers reduce time to market with transport layer IP cores
The fundamental competency of engineers designing machine vision cameras and systems is usually configuring the core camera features to provide the best possible image while meeting size, weight, power budget and other requirements.
But they also have to devote considerable time and effort to successfully streaming the image from the camera to the host. Leading edge vision transport layer standards such as GigE Vision, USB3 Vision and CoaXPress (CXP) are complex and are evolving, so several months of work by experienced protocol engineers is typically required to design the interface.
A number of manufacturers of leading-edge machine vision cameras, such as Ozray (formerly NIP), Crevis and Sick are addressing this challenge by purchasing transport layer interfaces in the form of intellectual property (IP) which is provided ready to incorporate into field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) along with other camera features.
“Use of IP Cores enables us to develop more cameras at the same time while reducing time to market,” said Keith Ahn, executive director and chief technology officer for Korean camera provider Ozray.
“The biggest advantage of using IP cores is that we can create a reliable standard transmission interface in a fraction of the time previously required,” said June Hwang, CEO of Crevis, also based Korea.
A decade ago, Camera Link was the most widely used machine vision transport layer interface. The streaming part of Camera Link was well defined, but the control path was not specified, so every camera implemented its own configuration protocol, requiring individual tweaks on host side to fully support the camera.
Fast forward to today and machine vision communications between the camera and host computer has been largely standardised, primarily using CXP, GigE and USB interfaces. The new vision standards are more complex and require tighter timing margins than earlier generations. Further complications are provided by the fact that the standards themselves are evolving, requiring review of the standard and sometimes an upgrade of the transport layer implementation.
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