CoaXPress no longer just a cool concept - enabling throughput increases in machine vision

Posted by Gretchen Alper on Thu, Oct 8, 2015

Until recently CoaXPress was considered just a nice possibility by system designers and integrators.  It seemed to offer advantages in speed with long, flexible, inexpensive cables, but many systems were not ready for the change since a brand new standard is intimidating.  CoaXPress has matured rapidly with many new frame grabbers and cameras on the market.  This has helped to build the necessary trust and understanding for design consideration.  Also, metrology and inspection systems are looking to make a performance leap with higher resolution cameras

For the next generation systems, many engineers are moving from 2 or 4 Megapixels to 12 or even 25 Megapixels.  For applications where the measurement involves several scan positions, double the resolution at the same speed can have a huge benefit in throughput even compared to the same resolution at double the speed. 

To achieve this, there is a move from Camera Link to CoaXPress as these speeds go beyond Camera Link’s bandwidth12 megapixels 180fps CoaXPress CXP capabilities.  For example, 25 Megapixels is limited to about 30 fps over Camera Link and with the latest generation image sensors can reach 80 fps via CoaXPress.  These ultra high resolution cameras also offer many resolution options using Region of Interest, such as 16 Megapixels at over 100 fps.

Besides increased bandwidth capability, CoaXPress can have even lower power consumption than Camera Link at twice the frame rate.  First camera designs were power hungry.  With next generation designs and latest FPGAs, 25 Megapixel cameras at full frame rates can be only 8W of power consumption with no fan required.  This does depend on the implementation and some ultra high resolution CoaXPress cameras still have a large power consumption (up to 28W) so be sure to check the specifications.

This isn’t to say that Camera Link doesn’t still have a place in many systems.  Even at the ultra high resolutions, the highest frame rates aren’t always an advantage and can sometimes provide unnecessary large volumes of data.  We have just noticed a trend that the adoption of CoaXPress in machine vision is going along with increased resolutions.

CoaXPress has also become an enabling technology for advances in global security as well, click here for more information.

Topics: Interface Technology

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