CoaXPress is gaining momentum in machine vision (and healthcare and global security systems) because of its advantages that go beyond just data-bandwidth. If you are looking to upgrade your imaging system and currently use Camera Link cameras (and even if you use something else or building a new system), here are some considerations.
Why move from Camera Link to CoaXPress?
The majority of system designers are making the move for one of three reasons:
- They are at the edge of Camera Link and need an interface that will bring them beyond the 850 MB/s, Camera Link maximum speed. This would give them a boost over their competition in accuracy, throughput or both.
- They have a complex system and the cabling used for Camera Link is simply too short, or difficult to manipulate.
- They are new to the industry and this is the most logical option for a product that's “future proofed”.
When to move?
Now. The standard was released in 2011 and since then close to 50 companies are offering a CoaXPress product options. There are plenty of compliant options to choose from and the standard is stable and well planned.
What is the upside?
- Future proofing, massive data rates (6.25 Gb/S) and the fact that so many options are available, proving that it's globally accepted by the industry. CoaXPress is now the lowest risk machine vision interface standard.
- Gen<i>Cam integration, which utilizes a standard that everyone adheres to. Gen<i>Cam is a common API (application programming interface) for application software to speak to the camera independent of the standard of the interface.
- Evolution of the product. CoaXPress is in its early stages now, but stable enough for large scale projects - the only way is up in terms of capabilities and available products.
What is the downside?
People hear all the time that the CoaXPress (coax) cabling is cheaper than Camera Link, but that doesn't mean it's free. Relatively speaking, the cables are not expensive, and the overall system will have much lower costs. When it comes down to the details of integrating the image acquisition system of camera and framegrabber into the system, the design engineer will have to switch from a CameraLink based way-of-working to the CoaXPress way-of-working. It’s like switching from a Windows-based computer to a Mac. The change is a little difficult, but you will only have to learn it once. Once you have made the transition you will find that it is much easier to use. This is the "Simplicity of CoaXPress” - it’s not only easy to integrate into an architecture, it will also simplify the system design.
This post was created in collaboration with Donal Waide, Director of Sales, of Bitflow.