Thursday, July 14, 2011

An alternative source for 3D cameras

3D inspection is getting a lot of attention at the moment. Pundits are saying that we’ve just about reached the limits of what can be done with 2D and height/depth seems the most promising avenue for improving vision capabilities. Whether or not that’s true deserves a separate post but I thought it might be useful to mention a lesser known maker of 3D cameras.

When the subject of 3D comes up SICK seems to be the first name that springs to mind. They clearly made a very smart decision a few years back when they bought a little Danish company called IVC. IVC had developed a 3D camera that used an FPGA to analyze the laser profile at the sensor, thus reducing the quantity of data that had to be fed back to the PC and so increasing speeds to the point where laser triangulation became a practical technique.

Around the same time, and I don’t know who was first, Automation Technology (AT) launched a similar product. Over the years this has grown into a family of 3D cameras, and the most recent addition was the C4 variant. AT advertise this as a high speed 3D camera, but I have to be honest, I can’t really tell how much faster than the C3 it is. The problem is that the information on the web site makes it difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison. However, it’s definitely pretty fast. I suggest you take a look for yourself and figure out how much speed and resolution you need.

And while I still have your attention, a couple of other points: applications and pricing. If you’re wondering how and when to use 3D, AT have some good basic information on their web site. As for prices, these cameras are not inexpensive – think high four digits and up – but the benefit is that they provide a whole new level of data.


Vladimír Držík said...

Just a short note on the AT C3 vs C4 comparison. I think the difference between the families is basically in the interface (CameraLink vs GigE), not in speed.

Anonymous said...

IVP was in Linkoping Sweden, not Denmark.

Anonymous said...

IVC was/is swedish company.