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Turning Camera Link cameras into USB3 vision cameras

28 March 2014

Pleora Technologies has introduced a product that is said to transform Camera Link cameras into USB3 Vision cameras.

The iPORT CL-U3 External Frame Grabber allows designers to cut costs, improve usability, and reduce the complexity of vision systems by treating Camera Link cameras like plug-and-play USB 3.0 products, says the company.

"Pleora's iPORT CL-U3 meets growing demand from equipment manufacturers for vision system solutions that leverage low-cost, easy-to-use video interfaces such as USB3 Vision," said John Phillips, senior manager, product management, Pleora Technologies. "The iPORT CL-U3 allows manufacturers deploying Camera Link cameras in new vision systems or upgrade projects to benefit from USB3's economical cabling, straightforward installation, and compatibility with a wider range of computing platforms."

The frame grabbers convert images from Camera Link Medium or Base cameras into a USB3 Vision-compliant video stream. The uncompressed video is transmitted with low, consistent latency over a USB 3.0 cable directly to existing ports on a computer or display. By eliminating the need for a Camera Link frame grabber in a PCIe slot, designers are free to choose from a selection of small form factor and low-power computing platforms, including laptops, embedded systems, and tablets.

At the computing platform, the iPORT CL-U3 is supported by Pleora’s feature-rich eBUS SDK application tool kit and drivers. This software suite allows designers to rapidly prototype and deploy production-ready software supporting video transmission over 10 GigE, GigE, USB 3.0, and wireless using the same application programming interface (API).  

The company offers a range models to meet individual requirements for applications where processing platform options, simplified cabling, and plug-and-play usability can deliver cost, performance, and reliability advantages.

The iPORT CL-U3 product family includes models that deliver enhanced PLC and GPIO capabilities to minimize the effects of electrical noise, power over Camera Link (PoCL) to simplify cabling, and an extended -20°C to +65°C temperature operating range. With these products, designers can upgrade legacy industrial vision systems into solutions that are easier to use and manage.   

For example, in bin-picking or sorting robots for assembly and manufacturing lines, the image feed from a Camera Link Base or Medium line scan camera is converted at the source into USB3 Vision-compliant video by the iPORT CL-U3. Video, power, and control is transmitted between the camera and image-processing computer over a single USB 3.0 cable. The USB 3.0 cable is easier to route than Camera Link cables, allowing faster setup and teardown of work cells for different products and short production runs. 

Via the onboard PLC, the iPORT CL-U3 uses input signals to deterministically control and trigger the camera and other vision systems elements, such as area sensors and lighting sources. The sophisticated real-time GPIO interfaces with all types of sensors, and employs differential signaling and high-threshold logic (HTL) techniques to minimise the effects of electrical noise. 


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