Area Scan Cameras: Choosing the Right One for Your Application

choosing area scan cameraFor machine vision and vision applications, there are a ton of area scan models to choose from and it can be difficult to know which one will best fit your application. For the most part, area scan cameras are used for general purpose applications with easy setup and alignment. This means that many different area scan cameras can be used for the same application.

So how do you know what kind of area scan camera will be the best fit for your application? What should you consider during the buying process?

Area Scan Camera Typical Applications

As mentioned, area scan cameras are typically used in more general-purpose applications as opposed to line scan cameras. Area scan cameras are best for applications where the part is not moving and a specific imaging area is defined.

Area scan cameras are usually stationary but offer greater flexibility, as a single image can be segmented into multiple regions-of-interest to look for specific objects, instead of processing the entire image.

Performance Considerations for Area Scan Cameras

When choosing an area scan camera for your application, there are a few different performance considerations you should take into account.

Sensor Type

If your area scan application requires the camera to take images of parts in motion, this will require specific types of sensors. Progressive CCD and global shutter CMOS sensors will provide the best image quality in this scenario, while interlaced CCD and rolling shutter CMOS sensors may be a cost-effective alternative if your application doesn’t involve motion.

Spectral Response

What wavelength of light do you need to capture? In some applications, such as food inspection on an assembly line, thermal imaging is needed for things like detecting bruises on apples that have yet to present themselves on the skin of the apple. Some applications require multi-spectral imaging capabilities or even dual streaming of thermal and visible light. This is an important consideration and will quickly narrow the cameras available for your application.

Image Quality

Your desired image quality depends on the resolution you need and the smallest features you need to detect, which will determine pixel size. Your application may call for a higher sensitivity area scan camera or sensor if you’re taking images in the dark, with high magnification or with fast moving objects.

When selecting the right area scan camera for your application, there are plenty of things you need to consider to help narrow down your choices. However, sensor type, spectral response and desired image quality will be some of the most important considerations.

With so many different types of area scans available, it can be difficult to choose the correct combination of machine vision components to get the best vision system for your application. The above considerations are a basic framework for starting the task of choosing an area scan camera.

To view a wide range of area scan cameras and see technical specifications, browse Phase 1 Technology’s extensive offering of area scan cameras from leading manufacturers.