National Instruments is launching seven new models of NI 177x Smart Camera, including colour and high-resolution options. The new NI 177x Smart Cameras feature a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor for increased processing power and IP67 protection for industrial inspection applications. Additionally, the cameras have a real-time operating system (RTOS) to deliver the reliability and determinism needed on the production floor.
Using the Intel Atom processor, the new cameras deliver processing speeds four times greater than other NI Smart Cameras. They also add new sensor options, including VGA, 1.3MP and 2MP in colour and monochrome as well as 5MP in monochrome. The new sensor options make the cameras well suited to applications that require higher-resolution image acquisition, such as metrology and detection of small defects, as well as colour imaging such as LED validation for electronics. Additionally, the strong mechanical housing, M12 connectors and lens cover have earned the NI 177x Smart Cameras an IP67 rating, which makes the cameras dust- and water-resistant and suitable for environments with washdowns. The new cameras are the first National Instruments products to feature IP67 ingress protection.
The cameras include four digital input and four digital output lines and support several industrial communication protocols, including RS232 (serial and Modbus serial) and Ethernet (TCP/IP, Ethernet/IP and Modbus TCP). Using the signals generated from these networks, engineers can dynamically control lighting or cameras, synchronise with a conveyor belt, drive mechanisms for sorting parts or integrate the smart cameras with programmable logic controller (PLC) systems. The cameras also include a VGA video out connection for monitoring inspection images.
Eric Starkloff, Vice President of Product Marketing at National Instruments, states: "National Instruments is excited to expand the NI Smart Camera family of products with new, high-performance cameras in a rugged form factor. What sets NI Smart Cameras apart, in addition to our exceptional hardware performance, is our software. Our vision software works with all types of hardware on the production floor, and this single-platform approach helps our customers reduce maintenance and development costs."
NI 177x Smart Cameras are shipped with NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI) 2011, a menu-driven, interactive environment for configuring, benchmarking and deploying vision systems. Engineers can use this software to configure the camera, create custom user interfaces, acquire images, set up triggering and lighting, perform image processing steps and communicate results through I/O or industrial communication networks. The cameras can also be programmed using NI LabVIEW graphical programming and the NI Vision Development Module for advanced customisation and integration with other National Instruments hardware. Features introduced with the 2011 versions of Vision Builder AI and the NI Vision Development Module include: new calibration tools with improved accuracy and the ability to save single camera calibration parameters for easy reuse; stronger data matrix decoding; morphological reconstruction; structural similarity (SSIM) index for video quality analysis; and a new calipher algorithm feature for metrology.