Frame grabbers: at the forefront of high-speed imagingMarch 16, 2023
Given the increase in embedded electronics and custom-designed computer vision products, we’re seeing buoyant demand for our embedded vision systems and block cameras. Many in the industry started this decade predicting a slow-down in the frame grabber market in favor of embedded solutions, but here’s why we think frame grabbers are also a vital tool for vision engineers.
What role does the frame grabber have?
Particularly with the emergence of CoaXPress v2.0, the interface is faster than standard PC digital interfaces; our latest CXP-12 boards can offer 50 Gbps which is way beyond USB 3.0 or even 10GigE. Interfaces dedicated to machine vision are designed for reliable 24/7 image acquisition without CPU intervention. In contrast, PC interfaces are generally optimized for lowest cost rather than dependability. Additionally, the frame grabber boards are built for real time operation supporting very fast triggers between the PC and the camera, and with uplink speed doubled in v2.0 to 42 Mbps, trigger rates over 500kHz are now possible.
We’ve documented how using a GPU with a frame grabber can speed up image processing by reducing the PC processing burden and leave additional processing space on the CPU for other functions. Having a frame grabber in your vision system can not only make a huge difference to the speed of image acquisition and processing, but also enable additional functionality and high levels of data-rate capability. Our CoaXPress and Camera Link frame grabbers are compatible with third party APIs including NVIDIA’s GPUDirect for Video and AMD’s DirectGMA. Additionally, the dedicated software supplied with frame grabbers can also often be tailored to specific applications such as the medical sector (which requires specific compliance) and defense (which needs heightened security).
Our state-of the-art technology
Recent years have seen us release new additions to our range of FireBird frame grabbers. Such products continue to keep frame grabbers relevant as they offer an affordable and robust solution to high-speed imaging. All our products are issued with a two-year warranty as we have confidence in our thoroughly-tested and highly-reliable acquisition cards.
In 2022-23, we enjoyed record sales boosted by increased interest in our frame grabbers from the Asia Pacific region. While competitive technology such as USB 3.0 and 10GigE have unquestionably evolved over the years, advancements in frame grabber design and operation are keeping them at the forefront of high-speed imaging – definitely a product for engineers to consider when requiring high-speed, highly-reliable image acquisition.