Monday, April 16, 2012

Camera mounting problems solved?

Everyone talks about the importance of lighting and the need for high quality optics, but I find one of the biggest challenges in integration – okay, not the biggest, but it’s it a real PITA – is just getting the camera and lights lined up with the object to be inspected. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as just bolting the camera to a bracket.

First, the camera needs to be in a fixed orientation relative to the target – usually perpendicular, but not always – and then the actual sensor inside the camera is never perfectly aligned with the mounting holes in the camera body. In fact if the various standards bodies want to make themselves useful they could do worse than defining some rules governing the relationship of sensor position to mounting holes. But that’s not what I wanted to share with you today.

I was browsing through a case study from Basler – “Label Inspection with Basler sprint Camera Link Cameras” (it’s a pdf document,) when I spotted the interesting mounts used for the linescan cameras. These appear to be simple kinematic mounts that not only hold the camera in place, but allow for precise adjustment of angle just by turning a screw. Better still, there’s plenty of room for air to flow through the cooling fins, although – note to Basler – it would make more sense if the fins were aligned vertically rather than horizontally.

But that detail aside, I’m rather taken with these mounts. Does anyone know if they are available off-the-shelf, or were they custom-made for this particular project?

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